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Landsknecht German Garb: Overview and Resources

In our Landsknecht/German Garb at Court. Photo by Lady Arielle

The Landsknecht were famed German mercenaries from the late 15th century to the middle of the 16th century. The daring soldiers were well compensated for their dangerous work, and when you combine that with the fact that they were exempt from most sumptuary laws, you get a group of people who enjoyed dressing flamboyantly. Their clothing tended to be bright (dye was pricey) and slashed (showy and hid tears and rips). Feathers were common because the merchants who followed the train sold them, and it was easy to buy one and just “stick a feather in your hat.” To learn more about the history of the Landsknecht, I highly recommend the 2002 book, Landsknecht Soldier by John Richards — it is well researched and illustrated.

A number of resources for Landsknecht garb is available online. Here are links to several I find very helpful:

Renaissance Costuming FAQ – Scroll down to the section on Landsknecht about midway down for a good overview of what men and women wore.

St. Maximilian – The web site of a company of the St. Maximilian Landsknecht Re-enactment Guild (check out the Costuming Guidelines).

Landsknecht Guild of St. Maurice – Check out their Resources page!

Landknechts & German Ren – Many images, woodcuts, and modern illustrations

Trossfrau and Landknechts – Period woodcuts depicting the women of the Landsknechts

Landsknect Dress Diary – Good detail!

Landsknechtsportal – Translated from German, and not updated recently, but full of patterns, information, and cultural information

The Real Landsknecht Page – A bit hard to follow, but some useful images and information

FiberGeek’s Landsknecht Diary – Dress diaries, image sources, and details on constructing a Woffenrock

German Captain’s Woffenrock – Dress diary, resources, images

The Frazzled Frau – An entire web site documenting German women’s garb. There isn’t much Landsknecht specifically, but several of the styles in the first half of the 16th century translate to female Landknecht wear

SCA German Renaissance Garb – Excellent resource with lots of images, research, and projects!

Woffenrock Dress Diary – Not entirely period, but interesting — and contains a number of links to source images which are helpful.

Hats and Underwear of the German/Swiss Woman from the 15th century – Not in English, but full of great information.

Gregor in his Woffenrock and Tellerbarret

Early German Renaissance Costumes – Excellent dress diaries

Landsknecht Woodcut Gallery – 24 images!

German Ren Costume – list on Yahoo Groups (will have to join to see messages)

Patterns:

Woffenrock by Reconstructing History – I used this to make Gregor’s Woffenrock and I think it turned out well.

Kampfrau or Common Woman’s Dress by Reconstructing History – Haven’t used it, but have it

German Accessories by Reconstructing History – I’ve tried several of these accessories and they worked well

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