Rowena of Rotherwood



Maren Sofie Løfsgård


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Photographer: Martin Gustafson

Outline the story …

Sir Walter Scott's "Ivanhoe" has been a favourite of mine since childhood, and who wouldn't want to be a Saxon lady if given the chance? Lady Rowena of Rotherwood is kind and brave (and I totally wrote fanfictions of her as a knight when I was younger!). When we first meet her in the novel, she is described as wearing a kirtle of sea-green silk and a "long, loose robe, which reached to the ground", with wide sleeves, from fine crimson wool, in addition to a silk veil interwoven with gold, gems in her braids and a gold reliquary around her neck. The novel being set in late 12th Century England, I decided to recreate this outfit, merging Scott's descriptions with illustrations from the St. Albans Psalter and The Winchester Bible of 12th century Englishwomen wearing long, loose bliauds and loose veils, but without loosing the fantastical, princess-y element completely.

Outline the construction…

The outfit consists of a sea-green silk kirtle, red wool bliaud, white silk veil stitched all over with gold thread, and leather turnshoes, all made for this project, as well as hosen, woven garters and a linen shift (not shown), which I had made before, and a brass circlet, gilded ring brooch and gilded reliquary, which I already owned. The kirtle is the most fantasy-like garment of the outfit, sewn from a very slippery silk satin, with very narrow sleeves that must be sewn shut at the wrist every time they are worn. To avoid straining the frail silk, I made little thread loops for this. I have made tablet-woven trim (silk and linen) for the kirtle's keyhole neckline and sleeves, with patterns based on the Chartres Cathedral statues, as well as wool tablet-woven trim for the bliaud gown. The gown is constructed the same way as the kirtle, but for the V-neck and the long sleeves. The kirtle is sewn with silk, and has linen tape sewn into the seams to keep it from unravelling. The kirtle is constructed with waxed linen, both sewn with backstitches and running backstitches, and with all seams laid to the side and hemstitched down. The veil, hemmed with silk, is oval, worn double, and stitched through with golden metallic thread. The shoes are reproductions of a late 11th/early 12th century find from Oslo. This is the first time I have made shoes or tablet woven trim unsupervised. The project took me 150 hours to complete.




  1. Avatar Rowena on March 11, 2021 at 7:24 pm

    I love this! Lady Rowena has been a favorite character of mine since I was young, too (and we share the same unique name, of course). This is a wonderful interpretation of what she would have worn 🙂

  2. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 8:39 am

    I love this- Beautiful.

  3. Avatar Kait on March 12, 2021 at 6:52 pm

    Shoes and all–you went all out! Amazing work!!

  4. Avatar JAYE SUDAR on March 14, 2021 at 4:51 am


  5. Avatar Mandy Pursley on March 14, 2021 at 4:51 pm

    Beautiful! I love how perfectly you put all the layers together to give it a very authentic period feel. Very well done!

  6. Avatar Marion Brégier on March 16, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    Absolutely stunning ! And the colors make my heart sing.

  7. Avatar Elizabeth Hatfield on March 16, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    I follow you on YouTube, and I loved watching this come together. This is amazing!

  8. Avatar Carly Van Groeningen on March 19, 2021 at 11:13 am

    Beautiful work, well done!

  9. Avatar Pentti Lahti on March 20, 2021 at 10:36 pm

    Beautiful work! Loving the details in this.

  10. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 25, 2021 at 4:30 am

    I love the red bliaud! The amount of effort that went into making each piece is amazing, you even made the shoes! That’s a completely different skill to tackle, so well done for taking on that challenge!

  11. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 26, 2021 at 1:22 pm

    Fabulous work– you definitely look like an illumination come to life!

  12. Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 27, 2021 at 10:50 pm

    Fantastic work, from the top to the bottom <3 Well done!

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