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Stitching History!

Stitching History!
Making and Wearing Early Modern Knitted Stockings
9 November – 25 November 2021
Aalto University, Väre, FK Lobby, Otaniementie 14


Knitting was one of the important technological innovations in the Renaissance period. Especially knitted stockings made of silk were a popular luxury product and one of the key fashion novelties among European elites.

The technique of knitting made stockings available for a broad spectrum of consumers because, unlike expensive tailored stockings that had to be perfectly fitted to the leg by the tailor, knitted stockings could be bought ready-made in different shapes, colours, and sizes from the market.

Documentary evidence shows that even men and women from ordinary artisanal families from the late sixteenth century onwards owned bright and colourful stockings which were dyed in red, pink, green, sky blue and black. But what did these look and feel like, and how were knitted stockings made in the Renaissance period?

This exhibition presents the results of the ERC-funded Refashioning the Renaissance project’s “Renaissance knitting experiment”. The researchers and over 20 voluntary skilled Finnish knitters worked together in order to replicate historical stockings. These reconstructions, based on written and material evidence from archives, museums and printed recipe books, allow us to gain access to the shapes, colours and textures of historical stockings, the techniques of early modern knitting and dyeing, and the bodily sensation of wearing historical stockings.


Research: Refashioning team and the voluntary craft experts
Exhibition concept and curating: Paula Hohti
Coordination: Lena Kingelin and Piia Lempiäinen
Exhibition labels and texts: Paula Hohti

The Refashioning the Renaissance Project extends special thanks to all voluntary knitters in Finland for their skilled work in preparing this exhibition.