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A Swiss Dress from the 16th Century (2015) (whiljascorner.wordpress.com)
141 points by pepys on Dec 12, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 28 comments

Wow, 1515-16 was a wild period for swiss fashion.

So help me out here... where women really wearing nearly nothing in 1515 and topless in 1516 when they went out all dressed up?

It's not that crazy for models to walk the runway practically naked today in some of the more avant garde shows. I have no reason to believe the fashion industry was any more sane back in the 16th century.

That said, there may be extenuating circumstances for those two outfits. There isn't a lot of context on that page.

It would make sense if these are more like your example, straight up models for crazy fashion ideas.... that aren't used.

I was thinking these were more along the lines of styles that people actually wore at the upper levels of society, but at least were still styles that most of those folks wore at that time.

Apparently the woodcuts are from a tailor’s pattern book, and the nudes are intended to show a sampling of women’s body shapes, allowing the tailor to match a set of dress styles to a customer’s own shape.

If anyone is interested in serious recreation of clothing from the Middle Ages, a good start would be with the series begun by Janet Arnold, “Patterns of Fashion” vols. 1-5; Jenny Tiramani’s “17th Century Women’s Dress Patterns”, and “The Tudor Tailor” series, by Ninya Mikhaila and Jane Malcolm-Davies. None of those are specific to 16th century Switzerland, but all of them are thoroughly well-researched.

Thank you.

That makes a lot of sense.

Yes. Breasts really weren't considered in the same way for different times in history. A lot of what we perceive about modesty in those times was really a Victorian view of the past, imprinting their morals on the past. Some of the constructs we still might consider rude, at least before the churches started blaming women for so much ill.

I don't doubt you are right, but at the same time outside those two dates ... they're pretty well covered.

This thing on the neck, even when naked - goiter band - iodine deficiency.

An quintessential Alpine disease if there ever was one.

This makes me want to get into dress-making.

Site is ad hell on an iPhone.

Ideally, all websites should be respectful of the limits and speed of bandwidth and processing power available for mobiles and limit ads. Unfortunately that's not true. And that's not in our control.

The next very best solution is to install Firefox. Then add UBlock Origin. Now all the websites are fat trimmed and lean. I often endup having 200 pr more open tabs on mobile and it has never been a problem (Open tabs double as ToBeRead list) . May be it has crashed twice in the past 2 years. I have never lost a tab during the crash, a power failure or a restart. Always quite fast.

Actually it makes a lot more sense to have Firefox on Mobile than the desktop as it is the only browser (as far as I know) that allows you to block ads.

I should have been more explicit. The ads redirect to a new page and continue to redirect when you hit the back button, making reading the site impossible unless you manage to tap “reader mode” in the ~1s before the ads kick in.

Yes and that does not happen with Ublock Origin :)

Cool, just installed Ublock Origin on my iPhone. Seems to work perfect. Thanks for the advice!

Happy to be of help. People behind works like Firefox and Ublock Origin have done so much. Using their work is just another form of recognition that they so richly deserve.

On the desktop, the site instaloaded in Safari + Ublock Origin and I haven't noticed any ads :) The keyword seems to be "UBlock Origin".

Those enthusiasts do go all the way for the medieval dresses. As in buying wool and dying themselves, following medieval recipes. They even have books on the garments and stitches found with ancient bodies in those swamp ponds. Or they recover them from wood carvings - as seen here.

We had a dinner following the ancient roman cuisine with one of these history buffs once. These guys definitely overdid it with fish-paste and spices- to show off there riches.

Why is this interesting to hacker news? I can understand why this is interesting to someone, but why here?

Someone who painstakingly recreates, by hand, an object based on 500 year old woodcuts while learning several new manufacturing techniques in the process matches one of the definitions of hacker.

"6. An expert or enthusiast of any kind. One might be an astronomy hacker, for example."


And the result of this hacker matches the second canonical definition of "hack":

"2. n. An incredibly good, and perhaps very time-consuming, piece of work that produces exactly what is needed."


The production of this dress was an appropriate application of ingenuity that resulted in a carefully crafted work of art, which is literally hacking:

"Hacking might be characterized as ‘an appropriate application of ingenuity’. Whether the result is a quick-and-dirty patchwork job or a carefully crafted work of art, you have to admire the cleverness that went into it."


It is interesting (to me at least) because it is something I have not seen before, done skillfully, and is not Yet Another Article About Rust or Containers (YAAARC).

I love Hacker News. You get such geeky responses to a simple question :)

I know nothing about dress making, but I find any kind of serious research into the past combined with recreating techniques to be very interesting, especially when our knowledge of the original process is incomplete. It's entertaining, but it's also a kind of doubly informative - it gives information about the past, and it gives information about the present.

HN isn't just about programming. It's about absorbing deep knowledge from a variety of sources, whether that's the field of pharmacology, industrial manufacturing, or what have you.

Someone has spent not only the time to recreate a period correct dress, but also do a well written write up of it for the rest of us.

I'm not particularly interested in sewing, and don't wear dresses (well only on weekends ;) ). But its great that other people are interested in that.

Surely the best thing about the internet is stumbling across some blog about some niche interest you had never even considered before, and being enlightened by it. I much rather this than some web 2.0 social media platform with no vowels in the name.

I suppose you could make the argument that HN is for developers, and so should only contain developer things, I don't think the field would advance very rapidly if no one even brought in anything from outside the field. Just wait, next month some web 3.0 doohicky will be announced, informed by this very article.

You do realize that there is a voting-based algorithm & that's how things make it to the front page of hacker news right? Do you find every article on the front page personally interesting? Do you ask on those other articles why others found it helpful?

This is more or less the equivalent of code archaeology in a different field--how did things get to be the way they are? Why is this or that technique used?

Totally fascinating and worth reading. Or skipping over if it isn't your cup of tea.

I don't think this comment should have been so heavily downvoted. You didn't say "this shouldn't interest people here," which would be obnoxious. Rather you displayed curiosity about why people were interested, which seems neutral at worst.

Maker culture is pretty common on HN.

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