Monday, August 12, 2013

14th Century Dressing Basics: simple garb for the everyday person

14th Century English Basics

I started making this style of garment when I Decided I wanted to dress more accurately and simply.  I noticed that this style of gown was fitted and cut for little to no waste and looks like the silhouette of many era's gowns.  I started making the men's style when my boys decided they wanted to also look a bit more period and their combat kits are the 14th century Wisby's.  This just made sense.  please feel free to try these out and send me any comments through your trials.

One of the pieces I found online and it just made awesome kinds of sense in how she rationalized the construction. I need to find her website so I can give her credit for the braes.  I keep looking hoping to run across her blog, until then I found a reference to slavic pants...  you can see them here...

**update** current pics for some reason are not loading, but I will get them up and online soon.  KLHH


Pieces for this Tunic/ Kyrtle (for the ladies) to be cut
The front and back Body Panels are to be cut as wide as the widest part around (chest, belly or butt). They are as long as you want the garment plus seam allowance and hem allowance. The Bocksten Bog Man find approximated the hemline at about his knees, give or take a couple of inches.  Kyrtles of the era were ankle length or longer for the ladies.  Unless you are comfortable with pooling hemlines and moving in one that long I strongly recommend your first gown to be ankle length.  It makes it easier to walk in and less likely to trip on or get stepped on by someone else.  I have had a few gowns ripped because someone else was not watching where they stepped.

The arms are trapezoids.  The length of the sleeves are a bit trickier.  We take the measurement from wrist to wrist.  We subtract the width the body panel from this and then divide by two.  This will tell you how long the sleeves need to be after we add a hem allowance and seam allowance for the shoulder.  The wider of the two parallels is the flexed bicep measurement plus 2-3” for seam allowance and ease.  The narrower measurement I typically use the forearm plus 2”.  This allows for the sleeves to be pushed up to wash dishes.

The gussets for under the arms is a simple square.  The size of the square gets adjusted for a few different reasons. The size of the person, chest dimensions, movement needs.
On an average person I use between 5x5 to a 6x6 square.  For larger men I will take this up to between 8x8 and 10x10.

The Gores are what spread the base of the tunic/ dress for movement and air flow.  I cut mine as right triangles half the width of the body panel to the whole width(for the ladies’). I cut them the length from the waist to the bottom of the garment.

Assembly of the Tunic/ Dress ( for ladies)
Cut your neck lines out of the front and back making sure your edges match.  Usually the back neck will be a 1-2” deep curve.  The front will be another 1-2” deeper.  I will usually drop a center cut down the front  (about 3-4”) for a “key hole” neck.  You could also cut a “v” neck as well for an alternative look.
Match your shoulder seams and double stitch the seams. 
Next pin the gusset to the top of the sleeve.  Stitch the the gusset and sleeve along the one side.

Next Match up the wrist seams. Pin everything together so that when the open edge of the sleeve  meets the edge of teh gusset make sure that you sew teh gusset to the sleeve.  This will give you a sleeve that looks like this

Now attach sleeve to main body of garment.
Next, we attack the gores.  There is a very good reason why we split our gores in half.  It is soooooo much easier to sew in the seams this way and have everything lay flat!
We pin the gore from the hemline up towards the waist on all four edges of the main body, and sew these first.  THEN after we have done that, we sew the “side seam” from the arm gusset down to the hem.
The garment now looks like this:


All that is left is to roll your hem for wrist and neck and fold the appropriate hemline for the bottom.  Decorate as you see fit by trim, braid or embroidery and enjoy!
A side note. Bind your seams as you go, this will make it a lot easier.  If you are looking for a more accurate appearance do your “finishing work” those seams that are visible by hand.

I use an experimental Braes pattern I found online.  I LOVE THIS PATTERN!  As soon as I find the delightful lady who shared this I will post her blog address here to give her the awesome credit she deserves.

This pattern has 4 pieces to it.  The legs, the gusset and the drawstring.  I have found that I like to put a double layer in my gusset for absorption in the desert heat.  It made things more bearable for both male and female users. This pattern works for shorts length braes or pant length. I have had favorable reviews from both.
The legs are cut on the fold
The waist line is as wide as ¼ the measurement of the waist wearing it plus 1-2” depending on the seams you choose to sew and the persons comfort level.
The lower hemline width is ½ the measurement of where ever you decide to end the braes. I tend to make mine at just above the knee and so I use the thigh measurement for comfort plus 1”
The widest point ( where the rise and the leg meet) is the waist plus 3-4” for ease in the seat
The length of the piece is from the waist to the hemline chosen plus 5”  4” above and 1” below.
The top Diagonal is the rise measurement.  I measure this from the pubic bone to the waist plus 4” for the waist band.
The bottom Diagonal is from the bottom of the “rise” to the hemline.

The gusset given movement and comfort to the braes.  For the larger men (46-56” waists) I use an 8x8 square.  For those in the 36-46 range I use a 6x6 square.  Adjust as needed for personal use.

First pin gusset to one “leg” starting at the point where the red line meets the peak and sewing down the leg of the braes.  Next match the leg hemlines together and run up the leg and attach the gusset to the leg.  (Just like you do for the tunic above) Repeat with the other leg.  Match up the center “body seams” and sew together.
Fold the waist band down approx 2” and fold again at 2”.  Pin 1” on either side of the front center seam for drawstring. Sew around the rest of the waistband. 
Hem the leg holes

Run a drawstring though the waistband and you are finished!

I will be adding information on the additional pieces of the ensemble as I finish typing the instructions, in the case of the hood, and when I have finished making them in the case of the hosen, belt and shoes.

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