Copy the Breughel painting from 1550 to be an authentic Living History Beekeeoer.


Make your own 16th century beekeeper's clothes

The finished article (with me in it) is seen on the HOME PAGE, also on the SKEPS page

You will need:

A slath. The willow circle the same as the bottom of a round basket, about 22cm wide. You might find one offered as a table mat in a shop or you may have to get a basketmaker to make you one if you don't have the skill. In the last resort you can ask me to make and post you one for a small charge plus  p+p, .say £5.

Calico. I am a six foot man and used 4 metres of wide cloth. It's cheap stuff so be generous.


Body 70cm wide, over 125cm long, two pieces
Sleeves 60cm long, 50cm wide, two.
Hood one piece 120cm long and 40cm wide (or make two pieces 60 x 40 and sew together along top of head). Have the selvage edge as the front so you don't need to hem round the slath.

Sewing it together (work inside out as normal)

The hood
If you make it from two pieces, start by joining them together along the top of the head, front to back. 
It's best if the selvage edge is at the front around the slath.
Fold in half and sew together down the rear line
Sew in the slath, starting at the top centre line and going down both sides equally until the two seams meet under the chin. This bit will have to be by hand and can be quite big stitches with strong thread.
Make it tight over the slath and no bee will get in at the edges.
Machine together below the chin to finish the shape.
Hem round the neck so it won't fray when used. I made the neck too short first time and had to add a bit to stop bees getting in, so err on the long side.
The neck is long so that it tucks loosely inide the main smock and keeps out bees.

The body
Join the two shoulders first, missing a big bit in the centre for the neck (about 20cm seam each side, leaving a head hole over 25cm wide, no less or you won't be able to get your head through..
Snip out a D about 7cm deep from the front of the head hole to improve the neck shape and hem a seam all the way round the edge of the head hole.
Sew the sleeves to the body, making the mid line of the sleeve hit the shoulder seam of the body.
Now sew all the way from the cuff to the bottom of the body on both sides to join it up into a big T shirt shape.
Finally hem all round the edges of the sleeves and skirt.

The big wide sleeves make it possible to draw your hand inside and hold things without bee contact.
You could wear gloves bit I see none on the painting we are copying.

Sorry if this seems a bit simple to you experienced tailors out there but I am not a skilled sewer and have written the instructions for others like myself. It's the result that matters!
And how many skilled tailors are happy opening a beehive?