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a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 9:25 pm
by lidimy
:D

I want to make an outfit based upon the Codex Manesse but am unsure about a) the general shape I should be aiming for and b) how to go about creating it (rather major issues :roll: )

as regards a). I am aware that the shapes I should be thinking of are squares, rectangles and triangles, so with minimal fitting around the torso. Should I literally cut two body-length rectangles and then insert gores? Second related point, do the gores insert at the hip level or the waist level?

for b). More about gores :D Given a fashionable image (fabric quantity not an issue) how many gores should I be thinking to give the appropriate fullness and where should these be positioned? I'm guessing one on each side inserted into the seams, but would two further, one at front & one at back, be enough? or would two slightly smaller ones, running down the front and back of each leg, make the fabric move better and visually look a little more balanced?

In the Codex the fabric looks almost liquid-like.... I would love to try and create this effect! :D

I will be looking at the MTA for guidance buuuuut I know that as people always say.... it is no more than a starting point so I would like to know what other people think/ how they have gone about constructing such a garment.

There should be an image attached - if you can't see it let me know....

Thank you! :D

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:22 pm
by Lady Cecily
Looking at the Greenland finds I would say that the gores start at either the waist or armpit (never the hips) the fashionable shape of the 14th century for me seems to be the ships decanter. Bear with me on this one - just don't wear the frock in the rain.

ships_decanter.jpg
ships_decanter.jpg (5.55 KiB) Viewed 5626 times

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:31 pm
by lidimy
Ha ha ha Lady C... I wish I had those kind of hips but I have none to speak of whatsoever!

Thanks for the help - suspected hips may be a more 15thC thing. Which do you use for your stuff?

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:43 pm
by Lady Cecily
lidimy wrote:Ha ha ha Lady C... I wish I had those kind of hips but I have none to speak of whatsoever!

Thanks for the help - suspected hips may be a more 15thC thing. Which do you use for your stuff?


Ah, you misunderstand - the flare is at the knees not the hips. What do I use? Use for what?

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:46 pm
by lidimy
Ah, hope is not lost then!

Sorry, not being clear. Do you use gores from the waist or from the armpits? (:

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:55 pm
by Lady Cecily
I put the gores in at the waist but I am rather on the large side. Gores from the armpits will work for you as you are young and slim. I will have a study in the morning to see if there is a likelyhood of a gender or age difference on the choice?

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:01 pm
by lidimy
Oooh thank you!! very much appreciated - I have a dirth of any material on the period hence complete ignorance...

do you use any other gores to fan the skirts out any more?

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:23 pm
by Grymm
Grab y'self a copy of MoLs Clothing and Textiles http://www.amazon.co.uk/Textiles-Clothing-c-1150-c-1450-Medieval-Excavations/dp/0851158404 there's
a small bit on The Herjolfsnes38 dress (Think that was what m'Lady Cecily was talking about) which has 2rectangular panels one front one back each with a large triangular gore let in from just above hip level cf & cb and no less than 4 long vaugely triangular shaped panels under each arm.......ah here's crude drawing of it
http://www.forest.gen.nz/Medieval/articles/garments/H38/H38.html.... Which would give a good close fit and lotsa flare for movement or kilting up.
More info on the above and several other frocks on this page
http://www.forest.gen.nz/Medieval/articles/garments/garments.html

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:00 pm
by Lady Cecily
Sorry, I kind of assumed that the Herjolfness finds are common knowledge. Woven into the Earth is essential reading for anyone interested in medieval clothing. The MoL book is also very useful for the button sleeve details.

You may find this site useful too.

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:57 pm
by lidimy
Thanks both,


yes I am already familiar with the finds :D thing is, will that cut correlate with high-status central/western European fashions?

Also, is a close fit what I should be looking for? The lady in the image seems to have bags of room up top, it just looks very drapey so forms around her body in a flattering way?

Am planning to make this from a very fine wool and leave it unlined.

Realistically, are there any hard and fast rules about where gores should be placed? I would really so much rather have two gores at the front rather than one... it just seems to be begging to cling around/between your legs when you walk otherwise?

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 11:31 pm
by The sempster
Hi,
I've made an early 14th century garment in the style of the 10 panel dress (Norlund N. 45 /D10587) and found that a fine wool twill, unlined, will drape beautifully around the body, giving lots of shape without being tight. That should work for your garment in the Codex Manesse style :-)
The Ronbjerg Garment (D2625a-e) in Woven into the Earth, which is radiocarbon dated to the late 13th century and therefore closest to your chosen period, and quite a few of the other women's garments in the book have a rather narrow middle and wide side panels. I found that gives a much better shape, and leads naturally to a curved armhole and sleevehead (the armhole curve is in the top of the side panel, so the armhole goes straight down along the middle panel, and then curves downward along the side panel(s)).
I started with rectangles for the major pieces (front, back, sides) and triangular gores to widen the hem (front and back, sides if you want to have even more width at the hem) . The gores I use are cut from rectangles, cut in half diagonally (remember to leave some space for seam allowances, so move the diagonal slightly inwards, top and bottom). Two pieces form one gore. Wherever possible, sew an edge on the bias to an edge on the straight.
I tacked all the pieces together, and tried it on. Then I just pinched in the seams where I wanted a slightly better fit. When I took it all apart, it did look like the drawing of the 10-panel garment :-) I only cut off less than an inch maximum on each seam, so there wasn't a lot of waste of material.
Sleeves should be tight on the lower arm, but make sure you have enough room around the elbow. If the Moselund garment is anything to go by, you're ok for your period to fit a slightly curved armhole, which gives a much better fit on the upper body, and more movement. If you keep everything rectangular and add underarm gussets, the top part of the garment (body and arm) never seems to have that smooth quality of fit and movement that the paintings portray. You can either sew them shut every time you wear the dress, use buttons, or for a more lower-class fit, make them just wide enough to slip on.
Unfortunately, I haven't got pictures of the dress yet.

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 11:51 pm
by lidimy
Thanks, that's a lot of info there! :D

Can you explain about the fit of the sleeves at the sleevehead again? mostly because I'm a bit confused about the terminology. The curved armhole - that is the gap in the actual dress for the sleeves to go into, not the sleeve itself?

Should the top of the sleeve be shaped or should the sleeve just be a tapering rectangle with a gusset? is the shoulder seam as on a modern arm hole, further into the neck like a 15thC kirtle, or off the shoulder?

aaaaand does the seam go at the back of the arm or under the arm? according to the MTA (p.80) it's underneath, but I want to be sure...

going back to the MTA again, the cote pattern is very simple, literally two rectangles and gores; is the general consensus that a more panelled approach would be appropriate?


v.v.v.v. sorry about all the questions, but it's just not worth getting it wrong, hope you understand!

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:53 pm
by Sophia
You can get additional fullness into the lower half of the dress by cutting the two main panels as a trapezoid shape (wider at the bottom than the top) which should be very effective on some one with your build. This will also make the dress more fluid as it minimises the number of seams. For cloth you could try using The Tudor Tailor's Kersey which is a twill and reasonably fluid. Alternatively you could look at a lightweight suiting or a wool challis. Just don't buy a wool crepe as they are not period.

For the sleeve you cut them square and simply ease them round the curve of the armscye.

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 12:16 am
by lidimy
Thanks Sophia, that's v.useful. Presumably the trapezoid shape will mean I can get the shoulder seam on my shoulder rather than falling off! How do you foresee it reducing the number of seams? do you mean reducing the need for panels as per the Norwegian finds? I guess the only thing to be aware of when removing the straight edges of the front & back is that any additional gores will need to hang for a good while before cutting the hem...

Lightweight suiting was exactly what I had in mind - one thing that for once I can get locally, too!! :D

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:23 am
by Lena
Sorry for being late into this discussion, but I'd recommend you take a look at Eva Andersson's costume gallery (particularly the red cotte) and dress diaries. She's done a lot of early 14th century garments, including reconstructions for a NESAT article (page 1). The reconstructions were based on two extant garments (the tunics of St Elisabeth and St Clare), which might be useful for you to check up.

Glad to see someone else falling for the early 14th century! Welcome to the (small) gang!

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 11:16 am
by lidimy
Oh those sites are fantastic, thanks Lena! is it notable that neither of the two Clare/Elisabeth garments have centre front/back gores? Or is this because they are slightly earlier in period? Would it be reasonable to use those patterns for an early 14th century design?

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 12:07 pm
by Lena
I have no idea what's on with the gores. There might be information in Eva's article in the NESAT publication - see if your local library can do an inter library loan for you. She did write in the abstract that "the reconstructions showed concordance with tunics in period artwork, even down to details", and mentions both 13th c and early 14th c manuscripts, so I'd say that they would work well for early 14th century clothing.

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:02 pm
by lidimy
Thanks again Lena! certainly looks useful...

this garment - http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-ca ... gitta.html - looks interesting witht the way it has little v-inserts at around knee height - would correspond to the wine decanter shape that Lady C mentioned?

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:55 pm
by Colin Middleton
Both of those examples appear to have the gores forming the bottom of the arm hole (it's one of the ways that Sarah Thursfield sugested setting gores to us, the other is from the waist). One of them appears to have bat-wing sleeves too, which might be a little 'old-fashioned' for you. I also note that at least one of those garments is made of cheaper fabric, so probably not that fashionable.

When we made my wife's tunic, we made 6 gores. The two main panels were wide enough to fit comfortably around her chest. We then added the gores. Cut 2 rectangles of cloth as wide as one quarter of the total width that you WISH TO ADD. Fold each in half, then cut it diagonally. You get 1 large triangle and 2 smaller ones (as if you'd cut the big one in half). We sewed the big triangle into the split in the front of the main panel (bias to straight as it opens out) and the small ones were added to each side (again bais to straight). Then you just put the seam in from the bottom of the arm hole to the hem.

Sleeves have seams under the arm. That moves to the back of the arm during the 14th C 'tailoring revolution'. The picture that you posted appears to show elbow-break sleeves. I think that these are made in two (or more) parts. The opper arm is loose and 'floaty', then it attaches to the lower arm (just past the elbow?) which is close fitting (and if you're fashionable, you should be sewing yourself in).

Don't forget to use a belt to draw the waist in for that lovely shilouette.

Best wishes

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:06 pm
by lidimy
Thanks Colin! I have never used gores before so it's good to know there is more than one option. I am intrigued about grafting the gores in under the arm but am worried that this might make it all a bit roomy around the chest... :roll: I guess this also depends upon the width of the main stretch of fabric.

I haven't seen any interpretations with sleeves in two parts for Manesse inspired dresses - what is the advantage in cutting it in two parts, or is it just a status thing? forgot about the sewing-in, how fun! (for me....). Will either be sewing-in or buttons I guess.


I am having a nice fancy belt made which I am v.excited about :D :D :D

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:03 pm
by Lena
Regarding cutting sleeves in one or two parts to get that loose upper arm/tight lower arm shape, Eva's reconstructions showed that if you use the pattern for the extant dresses you get that sleeve shape, so I don't think it's necessary to cut two pieces. I know she has pictures in the NESAT article, so if you can't get an ILL, I can see if I can get hold of it for you. Mind you, that won't be until at least mid-january, since I'm not in the UK right now.

I haven't made any of these myself - mine all use the Bocksten kirtle as a base - so unfortunately I can't give you any practical tips.

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:13 pm
by Lady Cecily
If you are going to do the sleeve button thing - see the Museum of London finds for the surviving buttons and button runs that have been cut off and discarded (which implies all sorts of things for dress longevity). You need to employ the tailoring revolution and move the seem to the back of the sleeve. To get the tight fit at the wrist and fullness above I think buttons are the way to go.

I have tried to inset gores into split square panels - it's never easy to get a good seam at the apex. I find it much better to cut panels and gores - even if that means a seam running up your breast bone. Naughty and profilgate people with cloth may even cut on the bias to get a good 'flow' on the cloth.

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:31 pm
by lidimy
Cutting on a bias? Lady C that's practically heretical :roll: :D thing is - those clingy hollywood 'medieval' dresses do always drape beautifully!! :shifty:

I managed to get hold of some nice pics of the MoL button finds - they look a bit tricky to make!! did they use wooden button cores at all?

Either way buttoned sleeves are present on high-status female garments in the Codex so they are a definite option. Are you sure that this would mean moving the seam to the back? I guess if you kept the seam underneath, everytime you rested your arm on a surface you'd be leaning on the buttons... :|

Lady C, I don't suppose you have any pictures of yourself in kit so I can see how it all looks? :D

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:46 am
by Lena
lidimy wrote:Either way buttoned sleeves are present on high-status female garments in the Codex so they are a definite option. Are you sure that this would mean moving the seam to the back? I guess if you kept the seam underneath, everytime you rested your arm on a surface you'd be leaning on the buttons... :|

Yep, that's the drawback!

Sewing the sleeve tight is an option (quoting the 1230 novel Roman de la rose: "A sylvre nedle forth I drough // With a thred bastyng my slevis"), and doesn't take long at all. I did it on my mustard yellow dress (full figure, sleeve detail).

If you want to do buttons, Katrin Kania posted an alternative method for making buttons which she thinks is easier. I'll definitely try that one next time.

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 9:55 am
by Lady Cecily
lidimy wrote:Cutting on a bias? Lady C that's practically heretical :roll: :D thing is - those clingy hollywood 'medieval' dresses do always drape beautifully!! :shifty:

I managed to get hold of some nice pics of the MoL button finds - they look a bit tricky to make!! did they use wooden button cores at all?

Either way buttoned sleeves are present on high-status female garments in the Codex so they are a definite option. Are you sure that this would mean moving the seam to the back? I guess if you kept the seam underneath, everytime you rested your arm on a surface you'd be leaning on the buttons... :|

Lady C, I don't suppose you have any pictures of yourself in kit so I can see how it all looks? :D


I'm an avoider of photos TBH - but considering we have a few days off now I'll see what I can do next week. The buttons aren't tricky - just time consuming, no wooden cores to my knowledge. Yep, the bias cut is heretical and I've only done it once - but it looked good. Moving the seam means you can show off the buttons.

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:15 pm
by lidimy
Looking at the video Lena posted it doesn't look *too* tricky, I'll just have a few practice runs! I've always wanted long rows of buttons... :D

Do you think that the pattern difference between just gores, and actual panels, is also a status difference...? or are the amount of fabric in the hem, and the length, more important?

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 1:29 pm
by Lena
lidimy wrote:Do you think that the pattern difference between just gores, and actual panels, is also a status difference...? or are the amount of fabric in the hem, and the length, more important?


Personally I'd be more inclined to say amount of fabric, length (if you work, longer than floorlength is not practical) and type/colour of fabric is a better status indicator than the actual pattern.

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 1:44 pm
by Colin Middleton
The patern that we used is very similar to that used by Sempster, just slightly different ways of making the gores (hers is probably better if you're very tight on fabric).

Lady C, we also found it tricky to get a good seam at the apex, but we managed it eventually.

lidimy wrote:Looking at the video Lena posted it doesn't look *too* tricky, I'll just have a few practice runs! I've always wanted long rows of buttons... :D

Last time we had Sarah up, she ran a button making class. It was quite straight forward, but it took a bit of practice, but most of us could make descent buttons after 2 or 3 tries. The important thing is matching the weight of your fabric to the size of button that you're making.

lidimy wrote:Do you think that the pattern difference between just gores, and actual panels, is also a status difference...? or are the amount of fabric in the hem, and the length, more important?

What do you mean by 'actual panels'?

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 7:20 pm
by Marcus Woodhouse
Is there a period in history you have not yet made a costume for?

Re: a fashionable early 14th-century shape.

Posted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 11:21 pm
by lidimy
Marcus Woodhouse wrote:Is there a period in history you have not yet made a costume for?


I like to cover all bases... :angel:

Colin, I guess what I mean by 'actual panels' is anything non-triangular shaped aside from the main front and back bits! :?
I'll definitely have a few practice runs at buttons. It's hard to tell from the period pics but I think that where there are buttons on the gold fabric at neckline and cuffs, the buttons too are gold coloured, so I will have to experiment to make sure they are the same size as the woollen buttons.