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More silk questions - 14th century

Posted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:33 pm
by lidimy
Century hopping again I know :wasntme:

I want to make an outfit based on the Codex Manesse. The images are very useful but it's difficult to ascertain what the fabrics are, only the properties of the fabrics, i.e very drapey and fine. I'm not sure on terminology for this period but there are two visible garments being worn by most women, a surcoat and a cote (?) underneath with fitted lower sleeves etc. obvs worn over a smock.

I'd like to create this undergarment/cote thing from a super fine wool with silk facings on cuffs and neckline.

On top of this I would like a silk surcoat.

In the Codex there are not many brocades portrayed - is this because there is simply insufficient detail in the images or because surface decoration of different sorts was preferred? If the former then what types of brocades are suitable for this period?

If choosing a plain coloured silk, what type of silks are available at this time? I can't help but feel that a taffeta would be too crisp to drape correctly - though there may be some very fine taffetas?

Satin just seems too shiny?

and I don't really know what other silks were in use :( I don't really want anything too frail either though it would be lined, so am a bit stumped for ideas!

any help would be much appreciated as ever :D

Re: More silk questions - 14th century

Posted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:00 pm
by Drachelis
Hi Lidy,

So nice to see someone planing to make other than a tightly fitting gown or kirtle - surcoats of this time were loose and drapey with quite high armholes. I use a company
www.bankokthaisilk.com who produce a lightweight silk taffeta fine enough for underdresses and quite cheap -only drawback is narrow width . it has a sheen rather than being shiny. i think that the surcoat would have been more likely to be a wool that drapes well.

Are you at Herstmenceaux? if so I have a silk scraps box so that you can see the farics.

Cherry
Shadowlight Designs

Re: More silk questions - 14th century

Posted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:02 pm
by Drachelis
Oh by the way there were brocades - I have a picture of a brass rubbing around 1350 depicting brocade underdresses and short sleeved loose surcoates or overgowns

Cherry
Shadowlight Designs

Re: More silk questions - 14th century

Posted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:05 pm
by Drachelis
Site seems to be down but they have an active ebay shop of the same name

Cherry
Shadowlight Designs

Re: More silk questions - 14th century

Posted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:57 pm
by lidimy
Thanks!

Using a fine wool rather than silk was likewise my thinking, and embellishing with various gold taffeta facings and metallic/silk embroidery. If it gives the look better than a silk - and given the high visibility of linings in the Manesse MSS it seems plausable that a fine contrasting silk could line a lightweight wool then why not use it?

I'm trying to think a little outside the box when considering brocades. One design which frequently appears on fabrics in low-detail paintings are clusters of three white dots on the fabric, but I don't know whether those dots are representing any type of brocade, a specific brocade, or no brocade at all but rather embroidery or some sort of sequin ornamentation?

Also getting a 'feel' for the period by looking at the borders around each image, the style of the flowers etc for what might be suitable. I have one super image of a queen of some sort in a brocade gown but this is the only one I have :(

Definitely out of my comfort zone.... I don't want to make any assumptions about designs as it's just sooo different to anything I've looked at before!

I won't be at Herstmonceux... but will be at TORM?

Re: More silk questions - 14th century

Posted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:58 pm
by Drachelis
I'm afraid we don't do Torm we do Living History a couple of weeks earlier

I do refer to a Visual History of Costume by Aileen Ribero for some of the brass rubbings and "weepers" around tombs

I believe there was both embroidery and brocade in this period but I don't think thereeis any evidence for sequins ( orm spangles as thy are referred to later on) They might have had small cabouchon jewels stitiched on

Cherry
Shadowlight Designs

Re: More silk questions - 14th century

Posted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:23 pm
by Brother Ranulf
Lidy, those "clusters of three white dots" have a long tradition going back to the Conquest - they are frequently seen on the dresses of the middle and upper classes in the 12th century, dresses that may be either of wool or silk. Since they also appear on shoes (particularly shoes of black leather) at the same period, and since we know that shoe ornamentation was mainly of silk embroidery ("Shoes and Pattens", Museum of London), it is reasonable to assume that the dots on dresses were also embroidered at that period. On the other hand, striped cloth was certainly being manufactured "on the loom" and I am not sure how easy it would have been to produce those dots as part of the weaving process - my guess is that they were added afterwards via embroidery.

In Anglo-Norman there are several terms for striped cloth (saiburel, rai, chalun de Reins, bordalisander, begines and others) but there's no word for cloth with a spotted pattern. This may support the idea that the first was manufactured in the weave while the second was embroidered afterwards.

This is an image from the St Albans Psalter of about 1135, with Mary Magdalene wearing a cloak with a pattern of three dots:

STALBANS3.jpg


Here the same pattern of dots appears on black leather shoes (and as a background pattern) in the Durham Bible of around 1150:

durham1150 shoes.jpg


I have not seen any explanation for this pattern, either period or modern, but it is seen so widely that it must have been a very popular design. Perhaps originally a religious design symbolising the Holy Trinity, then a simple diaper pattern (nothing to do with nappies! :wink: )

Re: More silk questions - 14th century

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:00 pm
by lidimy
Great, thanks! Given time I would love to try something like that but think I may have to go dotless for now. Also I think you should step in and give those dots a name - it'll catch on real quick... :D

Re: More silk questions - 14th century

Posted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:05 am
by Brother Ranulf
It seems odd that there isn't already a proper name for the tree-dot design, as there is for three petals or leaves (trefoil) but I can find none. Since the Latin for three is tres and dot is punctum, I hereby christen the pattern a trepunct (©™). :geek: Time for a :coffee:

Re: More silk questions - 14th century

Posted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:49 pm
by lidimy
Well thank goodness that problem is solved. Name coined :D