1520s German Teal Rock

An early 16th century middle class German woman’s gown with slashed sleeves, inspired by a Barthel Beham woodcut.

I needed another middle class Rock to replace those on my wardrobe which were all too small. I missed my previous blue gown, and was pleased to find a lovely darker version of the colour.

Linen, canvas, cotton velveteen, velvet ribbon

Research & Design

This Rock was inspired by several woodcuts, but particularly the Junger Mann und Mädchen by Barthel Beham. I liked the double guards on the neckline and overall style. The double row of slashes on the upper sleeves and ribbons between upper and lower sleeves can be seen in the Allegory of the Wise Woman, by Anton Woensam.

I chose a single wide black guard at the hem, to hide staining and decided to make the sleeves flexible for camp chores by using removable lacing.

The fabric is not linen, but a heavy soft cotton drill – almost a gaberdine. Not the ideal fibre, but a lovely colour, weight and drape. The rich teal blue can be seen in several portraits, including the one above by Ulrich Apt.


The bodice is a similar cut to the grey linen, but (having learned from my mistake) I made the top section of the sleeve much longer, to minimise the gap at the elbow. Since I was still changing shape, I made it a little larger than the Grey Linen.

I followed the same basic construction as the Green Linen, with an inset sleeve, but made in two parts. I lengthened the upper sleeve even more than the Grey Linen, to bring it right to the crease of the elbow, and allow more room for the slashes – which also shorten the sleeve a little.

The sleeves were time consuming – each one has 32 long bound slits, which was a lot of handwork. I went to a folk concert and spent the 4 days hand-sewing, while listening to music with friends – a good portable project.

Once complete, I sewed brass rings onto both sections, offset so that the lower sleeve cuff was rotated properly, then laced them with (removable) ribbon.

The skirt was my usual three shaped drops and a deep black guard, sewed to the lined bodice with smallish cartridge pleats. The front of the bodice was secured with a lacing strip and hooks and eyes.


This Rock served me well for many years, but the skirt suffered during the Great Plague at Canterbury Faire in 2019, when I helped scrub the toilet blocks with bleach.

I took it out of action during my big wardrobe cull, but it was too badly damaged to pass on to anyone else to wear. Ah well – I might make another version of it some day.