Female, Full Entry

1550 Female German Cranach Gown 4

Title: 1550 Female German Cranach Gown 4
Entry #: GGB2021.077
Alternate Names: Kampfrau, Trossfrau, Cranach, Saxony Court gown 
Year: 1550
Time range: 1470-1550
Era: Late medieval
Gender: Female
region: Central europe
Countries/cultures: Germany/Switzerland 
Maker: Katherine de Heilige
Difficulty: 5
Confidence: Image Example


The very stylized and flamboyant dress style seen in the SCA related to the Saxony (German) and Swiss court gowns worn by the women who followed the Landsknecht mercenary forces.  (May imply someone with a dubious occupation.) 


Highly ornamented and fanciful takes on the German and Saxony court dresses worn by flamboyant camp followers living off the spoils of war. Landsknechts and their women were not constrained by (or ignored) some of the sumptuary laws governing what people can wear.

Many of the outer garments were made from wool.  Contrasting color collars and cuffs, bight colors, rich fabrics.  No two looking the same.  Bodice laced shut exposing layers underneath.  Some necklines are very wide creating garments nearly falling off the shoulders.  Long and short sleeves are seen.  Many garments ‘slashed’ to expose layers underneath sleeves

Roll pleated skirt which could be hiked up into the belt for ease of movement but also exposing their legs. Many illustrations also show stripes of fabric parallel to the hem line on the skirts.   Patterned stockings are seen in some illustrations.  “Cow mouth” shoes with a wide toe area.

Note on Names:

Cranach – last name or two painters associated with this style

Tross – the camp followers of the mercenaries

Trossfrau/kampfrau – (maybe) a modern name given to the ‘wives’ of the mercenaries

It’s cool but read up on the culture before deciding to make one.

Inspiration Images

Common Materials

  • Fabrics:
    • Wool main garments in bright colors, vivid patterns, rich fabrics added as trim. 
    • Silks, velvets,
    • A lot of fabric to make the dresses. 
  • Ornamentation:
    • Knitted stockings
    • linen undergarments

Effective Substitutions

  • Fabrics:
    • Some poly/cotton brocades to simulate the rich fabrics. 
    • Wool blends are easier to find. 
    • Linen blends and cottons for undergarments. 
    • Very hard to make these dresses look right without investing in the right materials.
  • Ornamentation:

Ensemble Components

  • Gown – bodice and attached skirt
  • Placket over breasts
  • underdress

  • stockings
  • hats, including large, feathered hats


  • Retailers catering to reenactors sell the cow mouth shoes and striped stockings in vibrant colors
  • Belts
  • pouch/purse.



Version: 2
date: 3/2/21
Source of Period Pic: Women and Knaves, 1530CE Max Geisberg, Army Train, 1532CE Edhard Schoen
Model: Katherine de Heilige
Photographer: Vincent De Vere

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