Authentic Nun's Habits

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Authentic Nun's Habits

Postby Outcast » Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:26 pm

Can anyone help me with finding a suitable pattern for an authentic 15th c Nun's Habit? I have searched high and low to no avail. As I understand it, it is just a black kirtle (black wool) and loose, sleeveless overkirtle, but the head covering is proving slightly more difficult.



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Brother Ranulf
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Re: Authentic Nun's Habits

Postby Brother Ranulf » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:10 pm

Not my period and I don't have a pattern (not really much help then! :D ), but the look you want really did not change over the entire medieval period. Having said that, nuns did not wear a uniform and styles varied between different monastic orders and even regionally. Essentially headgear was bindae (wimple) of white linen covering the forehead, sides of the face, throat and upper chest. Over this was a woolen veil - usually white for novices and black for professed nuns. It came in a variety of lengths, sometimes reaching as far as the back of the knees, at others only just to the shoulders. It may have been a simple semicircle of cloth, pinned to the bindae to stop it blowing away.

This is Abbess Jordan of Syon Abbey in the early 1500s:

Abbess Jordan.JPG


This is St Clare as an Augustinian nun, late 1400s:

st clare as augustinian nun.jpg
st clare as augustinian nun.jpg (11.68 KiB) Viewed 2250 times


This is the nun from the Ellesmere manuscript of about 1405, wearing a very short veil and possibly a wimple folded in many creases (can't remember the proper term!):

ellesmere nun.jpg


If you can find a pattern for a standard wimple arrangement, the rest should be straightforward. Incidentally, I would query the "sleeveless overkirtle" you mentioned - sometimes a scapular, which is a simple long rectangle of cloth with a hole in the middle for the head (worn when working), otherwise a large cloak like Abbess Jordan's. A simple habit was the main garment, usually with enormous sleeves.


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Re: Authentic Nun's Habits

Postby Outcast » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:02 pm

Thank you, I would say, on the contrary you have been very helpful and I will look into the info you have provided.



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Colin Middleton
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Re: Authentic Nun's Habits

Postby Colin Middleton » Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:54 pm

Just to clarify some clothing terms. The wimple is a pice of cloth pulled up under the chin. Don't make yourself a woolen balaclava! The wimple then pins to something on top of your head to enclose you, such as a linnen veil or other head-cloth. The wimple may be heavily pleated or left plain.

The mody garments look to me to be more like a 12-13th C cote than a fitted garment like a kirtle.

Best wishes

Colin


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Mark Griffin
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Re: Authentic Nun's Habits

Postby Mark Griffin » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:07 pm

Ask the girls in Soper Lane, they were part of the White Company nuns group. And a fearsome bunch they were.....

Gina Barrett who posts here is best bet probably


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