Landsknecht Guild

February 2, 2010


Filed under: — Magda @ 12:15 am

Clothing – Shoes

The most frequent question we get from other German reenactors is where to get shoes? While one of the most distinctive things about the Landsknecht is their Kuhmaul (“cow mouth”) and “bear paw” shoes, as it turns out, when you really start to look at the original sources, the Landsknecht soldiers and their women wore a wide variety of shoe styles.  See also the Curious Frau’s article Shoes in 16th Century Germany. Most reenactors seem to want to wear Kuhmaul, the following vendors are ones that the Guild has used in the past:

  • Westland Crafts in Pakistan does bulk orders for as few as six pairs of shoes, and you can mix and match styles. You can’t order via the web page (even though it looks like it). But they’re very inexpensive and we’ve done multiple orders through them. Click “Tudor / Landsknechte Shoes” to view their Kuhmauls.
  • Bohemond Bootmaker makes excellent, affordable shoes. Several of our members wear these.
  • Native Earth - Scroll down to Landsknecht (custom shoes only). Expensive, but if you have hard-to-fit feet, it’s worth it. We know at least one reenactor who has been wearing their Native Earth Landsknecht shoes for over a decade.

NOTE: After hearing from multiple sources that Revival.US does not pay their suppliers, we can no longer recommend them as a source for Landsknecht shoes. (NOT to be confused with Revival Clothing, an entirely different, and reputable, vendor.)

The following vendors also sell Kuhmaul or custom reenactment shoes, and are listed here for reference, but no Guild members have purchased from them, so we can’t tell you anything about their service or quality.

  • Haar Shoes – German theatrical shoe company that offers custom shoes. Their Kuhmaul shoe’s vamp looks too high to be period correct. (Click the British flag to view the site in English.)
  • Historical Garments – Danish site that offers reproduction shoes.
  • Medieval Design has several lovely period shoe styles including a 16th century slipper that is suitable for Landsknect. (This is an Italian site, click the British flag to view the site in English.)
  • Pilgrim Shoes: English vendor of Reproduction Tudor and Modern Shoes. Their square toed and slashed bar shoes look very Germanic.
  • Sattlerei – Czech reenactment vendor that sells a wide variety of shoes. (This is a Czech site, click the British flag to view the site in English.) Note that their “landsknecht boots” are probably not anything you’d ever see a Landsknecht wearing, but their “oxmaw” shoes look reasonable, although we haven’t seen hobnail soles in any of the woodcuts or portraiture.
  • Simurlan Shoes – Facebook page for a Ukranian shoe vendor who makes custom shoes for reenactment.
  • Your Larp Store – These look like Westland Craft’s shoes.

Clothing – Research and Inspiration

Our own Magda on Pinterest. Whenever possible Magda tries to pin from Museum sites, or at the very least, link back to Wikipedia so you can do further research on a particular image.

Landsknect Patterns

There are a limited number of Landsknecht patterns available.  Because your garments need to be tailored to your body, especially hosen, most people end up making their own patterns.  But if you need a commercial pattern to get you started, here are the ones that are more historically accurate.  We cannot recommend the costume patterns from Burda.

Reconstructing History

  • RH 501 – Saxon (Cranach) Gown
  • RH 502 – Landsknecht Wams and Hosen
  • RH 503 – Waffenrock
  • RH 504 – Kampfrau or Common Woman’s Gown
  • RH 505 – German Accessories

Period Patterns

  • PP 46 – Women’s German Puff-and-Slash

Smock pattern generator for a custom fit Elizabethan smock.

Fabric and Notions

Article by Drea Leeds – What fabric should I use? Gives a good overview of the various fabrics available and how modern fabrics compare to historical fabrics.

The Elizabethan Costuming group on Facebook maintains a list of fabric vendors.

Wool Sources

You want to make the majority of your garments in wool, because it’s more authentic and for safety reasons as you’ll be working around campfires and firearms. Many modern wools are now blends. Try to find the highest percentage of wool that you possibly can, because synthetics will melt while wool self-extinguishes when exposed to flame. If you’re worried about overheating, look for tropical weight wool, which is quite lightweight.

  • Osgood’s textiles- If you’re anywhere near New England, it is worth taking a drive to Osgood’s. They have more wool than any other store in the country. And 3 million yards of fabric in stock.
  • B Black and Sons – wool and tailoring supplies.
  • Bird Brain Designs – Rug hooking site that carries 13 oz. per yard, 100% virgin wool for rug hooking, but has a wide variety of colors and sells by the yard. Woolrich reseller.
  • Burnley and Trowbridge – 17th thru 19th century reenactment sutler.
  • Denver Fabrics - Commercial site, lets you refine your search by color, fiber content, price, and width. Caution, if you sign up for their mailing list, they send daily e-mails.
  • Dorr Mill Store – Dorr has their colored woolens manufactured in the Pendelton mills to their specifications.  Their store in NH has a wide variety of wool, but because they serve the rug hooking community, much of it is pre-cut.  They do carry a wide variety of colors in a medium weight, but not all colors are available in yardage.  Most of their fabrics are 100% wool, although some are 80 – 85% wool.
  • Fabric Mart – Commercial site, lets you filter your search by type, color, fiber content, and weight.
  • Military wool – Melton fabric in many colors (Note that Melton is a heavyweight wool, think pea coats and heavy cloaks, but may be useful for reenactors in Northern climates).
  • Period Fabric – Reenactment supplier with a limited range, but often they have bright colors. Also a Woolrich reseller.
  • Renaissance Fabrics - Reenactment supplier.
  • William Booth, Draper – 18th century sutler.
  • Woolrich has a wide variety of colors, but the minimum order for the fiber arts woolens is 5 yard and 15 yard bolts. But if you can get together with a couple of friends, you could order in bulk. According to the FAQs page, you can also order Reenactment and Fiber Art Fabrics by phone via their Outlet Store.
  • And for the discerning reenactor, Karl Robinson Dyer in the UK, does small lots of hand dyed woolens. Beautiful!

Linen Sources

You want to use linen for your underclothes (Hemd, coifs, veils). Through experience we’ve learned that it does not wear well for outerwear (especially hosen) as it does not stretch like wool cut on the bias does.

Silk Sources

  • Pure Silks – A source for silk brocade. Just be sure to check the fabric content before you order, because despite the company name, they carry cottons and synthetics.
  • Thai Silks – Source for silks and silk/rayon velvets.
  • Sator- Purveyors of fabulous historic reproduction textiles. They can be pricey, but worth noting as they are one of the few sources currently reproducing period silk brocades.


  • Historic Enterprises (Medieval/Renaissance)– Hooks and eyes, garters, points, etc. Their stock varies, so try back.
  • Burnley and Trowbridge (18th century) – awls, bodkins, thread winders, boning, hooks and eyes, lacing rings, pins, etc.
  • William Booth, Draper (18th century) – linen and wool twill tape, linen and silk threads, horn buttons, lacing rings, etc.

Clothing – Assembly

There are lots of blogs and tutorials out there to help you get started making your own reenactment clothing. Magda has been collecting them on her Pinterest “tutorials” board. Check it out for help with everything from seams to pleating to smocking to making your own shoes and furniture.

Our own Hauptman’s tips on Slashing 101

Merchants – Weapons

Food / Cooking / Recipes

Material Goods/ Reenactment goods

These are the vendors we keep coming back to again and again for reenactment goods. Because some things, like cooking pots, just don’t change that much over the centuries, we’ve also listed some 18th century vendors where we’ve found gear.

  • Alpha Officium – Reproduction coins, source for Landsknecht Guilders and other 15th and 16th century coins.
  • Billy and Charlie – Pewter goods and pilgrim’s badges.
  • Goosebay Workshops – Colonial era copper goods.
  • Eadric the Potter (aka That Pottery Guy) – Etsy shop for our favorite historical potter.  He covers a wide range of eras and happily does custom work.
  • Historic Enterprises – Carries a wide variety of medieval reenactment goods, and their stock changes frequently.
  • James Townsend – 18th century reenactment suttler. Useful for cooking gear, camp equipment, etc.
  • Medieval Design – Carries a wide variety of medieval and renaissance reenactment goods, including the recent addition of Landsknecht clothing.
  • Revival Clothing – Medieval clothing vendor. Useful for more generic clothing like braes, coifs, and hosen.
  • Smoke and Fire – 18th century reenactment suttler. Useful for cooking gear, camp equipment, etc.
  • Steinhagen Pottery – one of our local 18th century potters.  Many Guild members own his wares.
  • Tentsmiths – Almost all the Guild tentage is from Tentsmiths, because they’re local to us.
  • Westminster Forge- Colonial era copper goods at fantastic prices.

German Language Resources

Miscellaneous Useful Links

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