Mid-15th Century Butterfly Hennin

This past Saturday at Twelfth Night, I wore some fun new headwear. Enough people asked me about the construction, that I put together a page detailing out every step. Please let me know if there is something I don’t cover, or something that’s confusing! I’ll try to cover it all, but I’d prefer to not take it apart for pictures. :D

Have fun hat engineering!

http://wp.bymymeasure.com/15th-century-butterfly-hennin

TwelfthNight2014PhotoCreditDeniseClark

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On Cleavage and Breast Mounds

Got your attention, didn’t I?

One of these days I’m going to learn to write a whole article when I start it. I had a fantastic article all started, I just hadn’t put together the images, all about breast support. It had literary quotes, analysis, disapproving monks, the works! Then the Lengberg Bra news broke, and more organized people got those quotes together, including much more than I’d ever dug up. So far, the most comprehensive piece I’ve seen on the subject was at the Medieval Silkwork blog, Supportive Underwear in Written Sources. Good stuff. Go read it.

In recreating the clothing of the 14th and 15th centuries, I’ve always stuck with the idea that there was more than one way to go about doing things. I doubt that all women always used a bust support method. I doubt that the only bust support method was similar to the Lengberg bras, with separated “breast sacks.” I doubt that the only way to create a integrally-fitted dress or chemise was with a straight front seam or a curved front seam. Many people like absolutes. Not me.

Personally, my favorite of all of the quotes that support, well, support, is this:

Some women, unable or unwilling to resort to a surgeon, or not wanting to reveal their indecency, make in their chemises two sacks proportioned to their breasts, but shallow, and they put them on every morning, and compress them as much as they can with a suitable bandage. Others, like the women of Montpellier, compress them with tight tunics and laces…

Translation and original found at Will’s Commonplace Book.

It seems to me that this quote, even without the others at the Silkwork link, does a good job of explaining that different women had different methods.

Not to mention that the idea of breast sacks just tickles me to pieces.

When Jeff and I were in Belgium a few years ago, I took photos of an elaborately-carved retable (altarpiece) in the Musees Royaux d’art et d’Histoire which had some very interesting costume details. One was this woman:

Retable - Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire in Brussels, Belgium

Retable – Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire in Brussels, Belgium

She’s not pushed up too far, but she looks gently supported. Looks like breast sack-type support to me. What do you think?

There are many arguments against breast support. The most common that I’ve seen is that the extant garments we have don’t appear to be supportive. A second is that many illustrations, especially mid-century and earlier, don’t feature the breasts. The third is a suggestion that breast support is a medieval-ish solution to a modern problem.

With respect to extant garments, we have so few. And even though there are many different cuts from the Herjolfsnes garments, they are from the same culture and location. Even taken all together, we don’t have necessarily a good representative sample covering time, location, and class.

Illustrations are easy. We can also find illustrations which do feature the breasts, cleavage, and lower necklines. I’ve found them from the 1370s – 80s on, but keep your eye out and you might see them earlier. (Be careful on dates of brasses and monuments – some are dated from the death date, not the carving date.)

More on the illustrations in a bit.

As for it being a modern problem, well, I doubt it. But don’t take my word for it, read the text at the Silkwork link above. There are multiple references throughout the middle ages, even before the fitted dress era, describing women who attempted to somehow support their breasts. Boobs aren’t new.

Back to the point about the illustrations.

And on to Cleavage and Breast Mounds.

Over the years since I’ve been looking at this, and since I first read some of the arguments saying that supportive garments are a reenactor-ism, I’ve noticed plenty of representations of the lifted and compressed breast in artwork. Even that, though, critics will point out might be idealization of the female form. This isn’t a bad argument. For example, I’m not sure that Jean Fouquet ever saw a nude female who wasn’t lying down.

But breasts don’t creep up into cleavage on their own. Even the most blessed and perky of us don’t have that little dip or breast mounds without help. Even when we’re lying down, they creep off to the side leaving a more generous space between. Sure, artists will make up a lot of stuff. But what’s more likely, that they just invented the concept of cleavage and breast mounds, or saw them in life?

Wait. They were mostly guys. Don’t answer that.

Moving on. Here is a sample of these representations.

(Note: I’m a bad blogger, and I don’t have great citations for everything. I have them somewhere, and I think that the raw photos where I took pictures of the citation are on a hard drive on the other side of the country. I’ll do my best. My apologies.)

Effigies and brasses are where I first started noticing cleavage. They’re simply rendered, without much extraneous information.

St Andrews Esmoun and Isabel de Malyns, 1385

St Andrews Esmoun and Isabel de Malyns, 1385

Ms. Isabel de Malyns does seem to be showing us her cleavage. Well, many brasses were made from an artist’s template, but I’m sure you get what I mean. There’s potentially the explanation that the cleavage-like lines are just other artifacts on the brass. Perhaps? But the brasses don’t exist in a vacuum. We do have other examples.

Margaret de Cobham, 1375, Cobham Church

Margaret de Cobham, 1375, Cobham Church

You’ll probably have to click through to the full size to see it, but there it is, on another roughly contemporary brass.

y_felb_1416

Another one you can click through to see.

Maud de Grey, 1394, Stanton Harcourt

Maud de Grey, 1394, Stanton Harcourt

Here’s one on a stone effigy.

She’s lying down, so perhaps her breast mounds are a little more enhanced than they otherwise would be. However, considering that the veil and cloak are not rendered as if she were lying on her back, we might not be able to make the assumption that the artist was attempting that level of perspective.

St. Mary the Virgin, 1390, Swine in Holderness

St. Mary the Virgin, 1390, Swine in Holderness

This one is my very favorite. She’s got breast mounds. And she has a stunningly low neckline. The bodice of the gown is flat, so how lifelike was it meant to be? That’s unclear. But what’s clear (to me) is that the artist has seen breasts pushed up like that.

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Here’s a woman with some definite cleavage, drawn in. She’s upright. She’s rendered in detail. Her dress shows curves. My citation for this is not with me, but it looks to me like the early 15th century illustrations of Boccaccio’s Decameron.

St Ursula and her Virgin Companions. Medieval miniature by Giovanni di benedetto, 1385-1390. Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France.

St Ursula and her Virgin Companions. Medieval miniature by Giovanni di benedetto, 1385-1390. Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France.

This was the one that really threw me for a loop. I’ve looked at this image SO many times. And yet, until recently, I never noticed the breast mounds on the companion on the far left. How many other examples of cleavage or mounds have I been missing?

Keep your eye out, and I’m sure you’ll start seeing them too.

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Research and Thoughts about Frilled Veils

I put together this research several years ago to justify the shape and construction of a frilled veil for use in my 14th century reenacting group. The topic has come up elseweb, so instead of sitting on it forever, and never getting around to the long tutorial and webpage I meant to write, I’ll post my initial research findings. I hope the long tutorial and webpage I meant to write will be forthcoming soon. Or eventually. Or something.

August 1, 2010:

I’ve been poking about at the frilled veil problem, reading what’s out
there, sorting through pictures, and I’ve found a few interesting
tidbits. I’m planning on starting a first version of this soon – if
all goes spectacularly well with other packing, I may make it a sit in
camp and stitch project at Pennsic. We’ll see. :-D In any case, I
wanted to get some ideas out there so I could get started when I was
ready.

The first problem is whether or not the frills were woven as part of
the fabric or attached. I found some interesting archeological
information in this article:

http://www.middelaldercentret.dk/Projekter/Tekstilprojekter/kruselerprojekte.html

on page 13:
“The pieces may overall be grouped as four different
types according to shape and style of the frilled
edges:
Type 1: [woven pleats on the edge]…
Type 2: [pleated the entire width]…
Type 3: Sharp pleats on additional bands
This type has additional pleated bands sewn to the
edge of the fabric. These bands are thicker and
more coarse than the fabrics they aresewn to. The
aditional bands are c. 2 cm in width.
The bands are folded in sharp, crisp pleats forming
a zigzag-shaped appearance.”

They’re Spanish (of course!) and 13th century, but are at least real
examples of what might have been going on. There were examples of both
the sewn on pleats and of woven in pleats, which looks like what we
might be seeing in imagery.

The second problem is bulk at the frill attachment point. These seem
to have one ribbon attached to the edge, which is folded and wrapped
in many layers. I’ll look for some sort of ribbon or tape like that at
Pennsic, but barring that, I thought I’d make a narrow
double-thickness strip of my linen to act as the thicker tape. I’d do
the attachment like in the article, at each pleat. The veil itself
would have many layers, three or four or more, folded over and over.

The third problem is shape. I think this could go a couple of ways. We
usually see an arch over the face, with the frills going from jaw to
jaw (or longer) or as short as temple to temple. There’s a second set
of frills usually draped across the shoulder.

Solution 1 is to have a semicircle, with frills along the center part
of the straight edge, the rest of the straight edge plain, and then
frills all along the round edge. That would allow it to easily rest on
the shoulder. This German one seems to look like this:
http://www.themcs.org/costume/Female/Germany%20Frankfurt%20am%20Main%20St%20Paul%20and%20Alte%20Nikolaikirche%20Katharina%20zum%20Wedel%201378%207.jpg

Solution 2 is a very long and narrowish band, maybe about 16″ deep,
and 13″ long times as many folds as you need. It would be frilled on
both long sides. I think that would work well for an example like
this:
http://www.themcs.org/costume/Female/2005%20Cobham%20Church%20Margaret%20de%20Cobham%201395%2062.jpg

Also, there’s an image on page 20 of this pdf
http://www.middelaldercentret.dk/pdf/nyhedsbrevjan07tilweb.pdf that
shows some of this. It looks like an integrally woven one (Type 1),
but you see the long veil folded over and over again.

I think since solution 2 looks more English to me (or at least the
examples are English), I’d start with that. The downside is that it
might need pinning to have the bottom edge of frills sit on the
shoulders right.

The fourth problem, or element, is the shape of the frills once
they’re layered. Some of the effigies have a very honeycombed look,
like this:
http://www.themcs.org/costume/Female/2006%20MCS%20Deerhurst%20St%20Mary%20John%20and%20Alice%20Cassey%201400%2094.jpg
You could get this with four or more layers, all pleated with creases,
and the layers stitched together to keep the honeycomb exactly even.
It wouldn’t be difficult, but it could also just be a stylized image.

The other option is to gather each ruffle in tighter, so that you
would get a series of loops, like these:
http://www.themcs.org/costume/Female/2005%20Cobham%20Church%20Margaret%20de%20Cobham%201375%2056.jpg
http://www.themcs.org/costume/Female/2005%20Cobham%20Church%20Margaret%20de%20Cobham%201395%2062.jpg
http://www.themcs.org/costume/Female/2007%20Bray%20St%20Michael%20Joan%20Foxley%201378%2045.jpg
http://www.themcs.org/costume/Female/2007%20MCS%20Chinnor%20St%20Andrews%20Esmoun%20and%20Isabel%20de%20Malyns%201385%20155.jpg

And a reconstruction here:
http://m-silkwork.blogspot.com/2009/04/frilled-veils-experiment-2.html

With this possibility, the layers would not need to be sewn together.

To sum up, I think I’m going to go for this look:
http://www.themcs.org/costume/Female/2007%20MCS%20Chinnor%20St%20Andrews%20Esmoun%20and%20Isabel%20de%20Malyns%201385%20155.jpg
I will use a sewn on frill, with a sewn linen tape as the frill
(unless I find something good at P to use). The frill will be pleated
on closely, to form a loop. I’ll start the experiment with a long
band, layered three times. I want to make the folded version work, but
it might need pinning. If nothing else, her frills are shorter, it’s
less work, and if it’s wrong, it’s not as much time wasted.

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Jeff is selling some maille

Jeff is selling some maille! I don’t know anything about this. But comment if you have questions. Better yet, contact him on the Armour Archive or on FB if you know his contact info.

1239003_10200428907627044_1623659450_n

 

1237807_10200439043520435_2083972694_n

 

 

1175440_10200439043920445_903030983_n

1235062_10200439041360381_1563953926_n

 

Beverly Shear, $75, plus shipping:

Beverly Shear

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Machine Sewing an Inset Gore

I promised more on hose, but I’m feeling a bit under the weather and I’ve lost my voice, so I’ve been kicking around on the computer all day and not sewing. I did run into a set of pictures I took some time back (let’s just say the garment I made here is already handed down to a friend’s kid) for a tutorial on setting in gores with a sewing machine, so a blog post it will be!

There’s not much that’s more intimidating than having a flat piece of fabric, and having to set a gore into it. But it’s also an annoyingly common technique in medieval clothing, from hoods to tunics to baby clothes. The Norse at Herjolfsnes may have been starving, but by God, they could set a gore.

Of course, they didn’t have sewing machines, but as you know, if they’d ‘a had it, they’d ‘a used it. Hand sewing is great and all, but with four of us to clothe to museum-quality standards, I prefer to spend my hand sewing time on the visible stitches. I’m not proud.

For people who prefer hand sewing, or want another look at this, I’d like to give a quick shout-out to my friend Tasha, who did a tutorial on hand setting a triangular gore into a slit. Go check that out, too!

Setting a triangular gore into a flat piece of fabric is pretty easy to do on the machine once you’ve practiced it a bit. After the first few tries, you’ll get it to lie flat with no puckers. Some fabric is more or less forgiving, but I’m at the point where I can do it with linen, wool, or silk.

Once again, I’m going to give the wordy version at the start. It’s not as bad as those cooking blogs that have a picture of every. single. egg. being cracked lovingly and then more pictures of how beautiful each egg looks in their bowl, each more perfect than the first, with a little egg goo dripping artfully off the side of the bowl. But still. The summary version is at the end.

The Long Version

Mark where the opening will be on the flat piece of fabric.

 

DO NOT CUT

Don’t cut it! Not yet! I know you really really want to cut it now, but hold off. Ok, maybe you’re more patient than I am. Good for you.

Pin the gore to one side of the opening, starting at the top. Right sides together!

Can you see what I did at the top? I centered the gore at the top, but then put the edge right at the edge of the future opening. Here’s another picture of that. The line that I drew on the gore is exactly the same line as is underneath on the base fabric. This is because the seam allowance is going to shrink significantly at the top, on the base fabric side, but stay the same all the way up the gore. If you don’t move the top of the gore over a little, you’ll get a somewhat crooked inset. Which isn’t the end of the world. Not like a pucker. That IS the end of the world.

Yes, I’m going to overkill you with pictures. This can be WEIRD for some people, so I’d rather you have too many pictures than not enough.

Here I’ve drawn a dotted line where you’re going to sew.

Now sew it! Start sewing at the tip. When you start, stitch back and forth a few times for extra security. There’s not going to be much fabric here – it will be a weak point and you need all the help you can get.

Cutting time! Finally! Cut the opening as close to the top stitches as possible. Don’t cut it further up than the stitches, or you’ll get a hole. Don’t cut it lower than the stitches, or you’ll get a pucker. This is the stage that will take practice.

See how the seam allowance on the base fabric follows the edge of the gore until the last couple of inches?

 

Now flip the gore so you can pin it to the second side, right sides together again.

Here are a couple of strange flipping pictures for your viewing enjoyment. Your goal is to get the tip of the gore over to the wrong side of the base fabric.

Now pin it. Remember, there’s not much of a seam allowance on the base fabric here. There should be a consistent seam allowance all the way down on the gore side.

Sew the second side, right sides together, again reinforcing at the tip. *Start sewing at the tip* Here’s what the wrong side will look like when you’re done. There’s a bit of a gap between the two sides, but not much. It could be more perfect, but this will do.

Here’s what it looks like from the right side. If there is a small pucker, don’t panic!

Now press it to within an inch of its life. Small puckers will go away, if you just apply enough steam.

Ta-da!

Summary

1. Mark your opening

2. Do not cut!

3. Pin and sew the gore to the first side, right sides together.

4. Cut

5. Flip, pin, and sew the gore to the second side, right sides together.

6. Press

 

All done!

 

 

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Split and Joined Hose in the Late 14th Century

(If this post is tl;dr, skip to the end where I eventually get to my point and sum it all up.)

Hi! Long time no post! We’ve just moved to Colorado, so life is a little crazy right now. I’m hoping once we’re settled to get a bunch of stuff written that’s been kicking around in my head for a while.

In the meantime, I needed a project. I have to have something for my hands to do. I decided to make my husband a pair of joined hose.

To tell you the honest truth, I hate making hose. They always look droopy off the butt. It doesn’t matter if they’re the one pair I have made, or the ones that he’s bought off the rack, they droop when he’s standing and pull too much on the back points when he’s trying to bend over. If we buy them, then it’s not my fault. Right? (Otherwise I’m very happy with all of the hose we’ve bought over the counter, and I do suggest it to others.)

But enough is enough! There must be a way. I used to hate making sleeves, too, so I decided to get really good at it and now I can do it in my sleep. Remember Laura Ingalls Wilder and her buttonholes?

I digress.

I have ideas about hose, and how to make them work better. But I’m not very far along in my project yet, so I’ll save them for a future post. In the meantime, it seems as if I’ve been involved in many discussions as of late regarding dating on different hose styles.

The best answer? It’s hard to tell. But I’ve been finding more clues lately.

First, some definitions.

1. Chausses: Chausses are earlier incarnations of hose, worn throughout the 14th century, and into the 15th, especially by lower classes and laborers. If you know French, you know that chaussettes means socks. They’re long socks, cut out of woven fabric on the bias, coming to a point at the hip, where they’re tied to braies (undies) or a braie-girdle (belt). Other arrangements are possible, too. Essentially, they’re wool thigh highs for your man. Oh, yeah.

Chausses look like this:

2. Split hose: A lot of people confuse split hose with chausses (which people often just call hose, just to make things so much more confusing), so reenactors have developed other terms to refer to them. I’ve been taught the term “tailed hosen”. I’ve also referred to them as “butt-covering split hosen,” or BCSH. I happen to love this term. Anyway, split hose do just that, they cover the butt. They come up to a low waist (like where a teenage girl wears her jeans) covering all around, except for the *ahem* center front, and they’re not connected to each other. The two legs are still separated, hence the name. If a man weren’t wearing braies with these, he’d be swingin’ in the breeze. They’re held up to a torso garment with points, or laces, at the front hips, side, back, and center back.

Split hose look like this (later than 14th c., but gives you the idea):

3. Joined hose: These take the split hose one step further. They’re joined from the waist in the back until somewhere under the body. At this point, a codpiece, or flap of fabric, is sewn in, which when pointed (laced) into place, covers everything personal. A man could get away with wearing joined hose without braies, and you wouldn’t have to call the police.

Joined hose look like this:

And from the back, you can see that they were even a little droopy back then. In other words, they don’t have to perform like Levis.

That all out of the way, when did people start wearing split and joined hose?

Chausses

Chausses are very common in reenactment and recreation circles, because they’re fairly easy to make, cheap to buy, and easy to wear. There are no problems bending down. However, unless they’re very well tailored, under a short doublet your braies are going to show, resulting in the dreaded “diaper look.” Nobody wants this. If you’re wearing chausses, keep your doublet or gown long. Please.

Split Hose

Split hose seem to be safe to wear by about the last two decades of the 14th century, but based on what? There are images of men with short doublets, and they’re certainly not sporting the diaper look. This seems like good justification. But how early?

I just received my copy of the excellent book the Encyclopedia of Medieval Dress and Textiles of the British Isles c. 450 – 1450. In the hose entry, there’s a description of the butt-covering split hose:

“As the 14th century progressed men’s hose were often tied to their gipon (jupon). This is confirmed by comments made by John of Reading in his Chronica which he was writing at some point between 1366 and 1369. Here he describes the hose as being very long and tied very tightly to the doublet so making it very difficult for the wearer to kneel down.”

Additionally, we have the Charles de Blois pourpoint, which is dated to pre-1364 if it did actually belong to the Duke. The pourpoint has laces sewn in around the circumference of the garment. That is, these laces are almost certainly intended to support a pair of split hose, or even joined hose. We don’t have additional evidence for joined hose at this time, so it’s safe to assume that they’re at least split hose.

Between the visual evidence of short doublets with no diaper look (all cultures), the textual evidence (English), and the likely archaeological evidence (French), it seems safe to assume that if you’re aiming at post-1360s and wearing a short doublet, you can probably be wearing butt covering split hose.

Joined Hose

But what about joined hose? This is a little trickier. When looking at some images, if the man is facing away, it’s virtually impossible to tell whether they’re a pair of split hose that are close together, or a pair of joined hose.

Another consideration is the textual description in the Parson’s Tale, in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, describing how men wearing their short doublets show off their genitalia and buttocks in a lewd manner. This is often read as evidence that the short doublets are showing off uncovered, or little covered, parts of the male anatomy. It is supposed that the hose don’t cover what needs to be covered, but only the braies do. Read it for yourself.

Middle English version:

The Parson’s Tale, Lines 422 – 430.
Upon That oother side, to speken of the horrible disordiant scantnesse of
clothyng, as been thise Kutted sloppes, or haynselyns, that thurgh hire
Shortnesse ne covere nat the shameful membres of man, to wikked entente. Allas!
somme Of hem shewen the boce or hir shap, and the Horrible swollen membres, that
semeth lik the Maladie of hirnia, in the wrappynge of hir Hoses; and eek the
buttokes of hem faren as It were the hyndre part of a she-ape in the fulle Of
the moone. And mooreover, the wrecched Swollen membres that they shewe thurgh
disgisynge, in departynge of hire hoses in whit and Reed, semeth that half hir
shameful privee Membres weren flayne. And if so be that They departen hire hoses
in othere colours, As is whit and blak, or whit and blew, or blak And reed, and
so forth, thanne semeth it, as By variaunce of colour, that half the partie of
Hire privee membres were corrupt by the fir Of seint antony, or by cancre, or by
oother Swich meschaunce. Of the hyndre part of hir Buttokes, it is ful horrible
for to see. For certes, In that partie of hir body ther as they purgen Hir
stynkynge ordure, that foule partie shewe They to the peple prowdly in despit of
honestitee, which honestitee that jhesu crist and His freendes observede to
shewen in hir lyve.

Modern English version:

And on the other hand, one may speak of the horrible, inordinate scantiness of some clothes, like the short jackets that are so short that they leave a man’s cock exposed to view beneath his hose, with wicked intention. Alas! Some of them clearly reveal a man’s horrible swollen balls and his cock like some malignant hernia visible through his hose! His buttocks are displayed like those of a she-ape at the time of the full moon! Even worse, these wretched swollen members can look, if the hose is divided into red and white, as though half the sexual organs have been flayed! If it happens that the hose is patterned in other colours, like white and black or white and blue, or black and red and so forth, then it seems, through this variation in colour, that half of the privy members are engulfed in Saint Antony’s fire, or racked with cancer or some other such misfortune. By exposing their horrible buttocks they proudly display, to all who care to look, that part of their body from which they expel their stinking shit, in defiance of all modesty – the kind of modesty that Jesus Christ and his friends were careful to preserve all their lives.

Translation from http://www.eleusinianm.co.uk/redShalfleet/rs44priests.html

To be honest, I don’t read this as chausses, or even split hose. Take this part, something is covering (I’ll use the translator’s word) the cock:

the Horrible swollen membres, that semeth lik the Maladie of hirnia, in the wrappynge of hir Hoses.

Or as the modern English describes, you can see his balls and cock through the “wrappings of his hose.” Through the hose fabric. The hose fabric is covering the cock and balls!

*ahem*

Reading further, if the hose is parti-colored, that is a different color on each side, it makes a man’s manly parts look like *they* have a different color on each side.

This is all written pre-1400, and English.

Visual evidence of joined hose is what prompted me to write this right now. I wanted to SHARE WITH THE WORLD!

Look at that! (Yes, I’m asking you to look at the man’s crotch.)

Information on this image:

Artwork: Illumination, Illustration Cycle Seal V 7150ff; miniature; Wenzel Workshop, Prague
Documentation: 1387, 1387, Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Austrian National Library, cod. s n 2643, fol. 204r
Notes: Wolfram von Eschenbach. Willehalm actually Ulrich door of home.

More information on the manuscript at http://tethys.imareal.oeaw.ac.at/realonline/

There’s always a chance the date is wrong, of course, but a quick perusal of the manuscript leads me to believe that it’s close, at least.

This is the part where I get to my point and sum up

Wear chausses for early 14th century, or later, if your gown, tunic, or doublet are long.

Wear butt-covering split hose for 1360s and beyond, if your doublet is higher than about mid-thigh. Avoid the diaper look!

Wear joined hose from the late 14th century and beyond, especially if your doublet is short. If Chaucer was offended by seeing the shape of your manly bits below your hose, imagine if there was only a thin layer of linen! Save our eyes!

These are, of course, gross generalizations that are my opinion only, and there’s much more research to be done.

 

Acknowledgements

I wish to thank Sherrie Andra Keller for posting the Bohemian image on the Facebook Age of the Cotehardie page today, asking about something completely different in the image. I also thank the other fine folks on that group who discovered the provenance of the manuscript. I’d like to give mad props to the guys at the Armour Archive for asking about joined and split hose vs. chausses just as I happened to embark upon Jeff’s hose project, which spurred me into putting together more of what I’ve gathered on the topic over the years.

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Big Damn Sleeves

The sleeves on the latest gown I’ve been making have been a bit tricky. It’s a fitted gown, but with wide sleeves like a houppelande, a fashion seen in the early 15th century. Since I took pictures as I went along and it didn’t end up at all like I would have expected, I put together a page explaining how I made my big damn sleeves.

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Website updates

I’ve been doing a little housekeeping this morning, in preparation for handing out my URL at Costume College in a couple of weeks.

First, I updated my How to Pattern a Gothic Fitted Dress page with dated annotations describing how I’ve changed things over the years, how to fit using a straight front seam, and using two panels of fabric instead of one. The changes make the process a little less futzy than it was, and helps fix some problems the old process introduced in the side seams.

Second, I moved the detailed Sleeve Fitting page out of a PDF and directly to a wordpress page. I’ve added some clarification about the measurements, ease, and the mysteries of the shrinking armscye.

Not a lot of new information, but hopefully these small changes will make fitting easier!

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Houppelande Belts of the Early 15th Century

I’m currently bouncing back and forth in my brain between different parts of the 15th century. I have a fantastic wide belt that was woven for me for late 15th c., which will have a silver buckle attached. But I’m also working on a clothing document with examples mostly pulled from the first 20 years of the century. While the very wide belts of later on in the century weren’t popular yet, you see some pretty hefty examples.

These images are all attributed to the 1400-1420. Some I believe might be later than this, but not by much. This is mostly just a dump to show the variety of belt widths worn with houppelandes in this period.

 

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Test

Is this thing on?

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