Shoemaker/Leather Craftsman and Tailor

Medieval Craft



This craftman is a leather professional and more especially of the medieval shoes. He has orders throughout Europe and many in France. To make his shoes, he copies the models from Pliska (the first capital of Bulgaria before his transfer to Preslav) and Prelsav. He also draws inspiration from old drawings.

To realize his shoes, he uses one or two leathers and a yarn material. In terms of example, to make autocratic boots, it takes him a whole week (without help the help of a machine).

The entire boot, with the exception of the sole, is made of cow or horse leather because they are soft and flexible materials. For the sole, he uses bull leather because it is thicker and harder for contact with the ground.

In order to soften the material, the leather is spread on a piece of marble and then struck with a hammer.

To assemble the parts, he uses linen or synthetic yarn which he coats with clay to make the yarn less rigid.

An aristocratic shoe can be composed of one or more ornaments, which differentiates it from the shoes of a humble population.

Medieval Shoesmaker, Illustration

Tailor, Medieval Fest, 2019 Edition, Preslav / ©Alice de Villeblanche

Tailor, Medieval Fest, 2019 Edition, Preslav / ©Hunt On Photos Studio




  1. What is your name and where are you from ?

My name is Nadezhda Nikolova I am from Shumen, Bulgaria.

  1. What is your craft ?

I create medieval clothing and costumes, medieval accessories and jewelry.

  1. Do you do this professionally or is it just a hobby ?

I don’t do this professionally because I am already retired. I use to do a job that was a bit on the extreme side and I could retire early so now this is just a hobby for me. Also since I have retired I’ve been taking part in medieval reconstructions which is a big part of my life.

  1. For how long have you been practicing this craft ?

For about 15 years. In the beginning, I took very small, timid steps but with time and by reading many books and doing a lot of research I got better at it. The more you read and the more you practice the more experienced you become. This is the way to learn how to actually do it. To really see how actual medieval clothing looked like, one can reference chronicles and memoirs, I personally reference the Gospels of Tsar Ivan Alexander, which is regarded as one of the most important manuscripts in medieval Bulgarian culture. It was made by his orders and because of that, there is a colored drawing of him and his whole family and in it, you can see how their clothes were designed. In the manuscript, there are also drawings of other Bulgarian rulers. Another source where you see how the clothes looked back then are medieval churches and monasteries. In those religious buildings, there are drawings of the ones who paid for them to be built. There you can see how in actuality medieval clothes looked.

  1. What inspires you to do this? From where do you draw inspiration ?

Well, I live in Shumen, which is very close to Pliska, Madara and Veliki Preslav, a region very rich in its history, so I am basically surrounded by this history and I live with it. It’s this exact region and its rich and beautiful past that inspires me the most.

  1. Are people interested in your craft ?

Yes, of course. People are interested why did medieval clothing look like this, how were the different clothes made, from what fabric were they made etc. Overall, yes, people do show interest in this craft.

  1. Do you like the festival ?

Yes, of course. Interestingly most of us here know each other and we enjoy being together again and being able to see each other again, because we come from all over Bulgaria and we don’t have this opportunity every day.