How to move in period clothing

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johnny crow
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Postby johnny crow » Fri Jun 23, 2006 9:44 pm

For a medieval man dont you have to learn how a woman feels in tights while wearing a boulder pouch ;)


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Postby Lucy Cassidy » Sat Jun 24, 2006 5:35 pm

HI Nix, here are my comments, for what they are worth:

Worst crime in my opinion: hands in pockets. My "period" was C17th, and breeches should not (in my opinion) have pockets let into the side seams, for the simple reason that people then stick their hands in them, and it looks so modern.

Next worst: ill-fitting hats. Makes it apparent that the wearer is not used to wearing one! Or, hats pushed to the back of the head - this applies to men and women - instead of sitting with the brim parallel to the ground. "Hat hair" is something to be proud of, and if your hat (or bonnet) falls off when you bend double, then it's too loose. As Frances said, no hat = rank amateur!

Third worst - sorry pet - girlies wearing bras. Even if you take steps to cover the shoulder straps, it makes you stand in a different way. I used to make tight-fitting sleeveless jerkins for "fair" musketeers, to be worn under the doublet and never taken off in public: they perfomed the dual role of support and flattening. Of course, if you are dressed as a female, then ditch that bra, make that bodice 2" smaller and strap it up! The bigger you are, the higher they will go...... (and the more power you will have, ha! ha!)

Once you get used to that feeling of compression, trust me, it will be more comfy. I used to hate going back to modern clothes after events.... in fact, don't tell anyone but I used to wear costume around the house in the evenings. And as for new costume, ha, breaking it in was an excellent excuse for wearing it for gardening, housework, exercising etc.

Very interesting comment from Tuppence, I'm a "toe-heel" walker, I was told off for it all through my childhood - and now I find out that I'm a natural Indian!! And yes, I've always found my authenti-shoes extremely comfy. (Thank you Sarah Juniper!)

Calendula, yes, empty hands can be a problem. Just always make sure that you have a prop - you have already spotted the Handy Hanky one, which is good: it was quite common to have a selection of items hanging from a loop on your belt or waistband, which can be held, or prevented from swinging, or generally played with. I used to have (when dressed as a low-level ECW female) small shears/scissors, small money-pouch, scrap of cambric/calico for wiping hot face, a tankard, a er, whatd'you'callit, sweet smelling thing - I believe it was the evolution of the medieval chatelaine (did I spell that right?) where the woman of the house would have keys hanging from a chain at her waist, there being no handbags. If desperate, even an anonymous bundle of sacking, or calico, would do.

Lucy


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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:54 am

Ah so that's why I keep saying the rosary when I get dressed up, to stop putting my hands into non-existant pockets! Not so sure about the need for authentic underwear as being the be all and end all, if someone was to spend any length of time studying my crotch to check for authentic cacks I'd have something to say to them! And if someone was to asl my wife if she was wearing a bra I'd do more than that!


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Postby Lucy Cassidy » Mon Jun 26, 2006 11:05 am

Hi Marcus,

I wouldn't say that authenti-undies are the be-all and end-all, it's just that bras contribute to the "spoiling" of a good costume, and for many women, giving up the bra can be the turning point between standing around looking awkward in fancy dress, and just being a real person in period costume.

Please be assured that I would never, ever, spend a lot of time studying your crotch!!

And, if people have to ask your wife is she's wearing a bra, ie if they can't tell from the outside, then she's obviously doing allright!

Lucy


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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Mon Jun 26, 2006 2:05 pm

Well that's a relief for sure Lucy, but are you saying that my crotch isnae good enogh to be stared at are youse???!!! Tha's fighting talk where I'm from. Take it easy ansling (but you can think again about me ever watching yer nether regions, mortified so I am.


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Postby Lucy Cassidy » Mon Jun 26, 2006 2:52 pm

Marcus, you are a strange and wonderful person!

May the wind always whistle up your braes. (And your wife's bras!)

Lucy
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Postby m300572 » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:19 pm

Worst crime in my opinion: hands in pockets.


But breeches did have side seam pockets in the 17th century as far as I know, and certainly by the early part of the 18th C military breeches were specified with leather pockets for the Royal Regiment of Artillery (formed in 1716). The thing to do is to have your society authenti-nazi go round shouting at people who stand wit hteir hands in their pockets if it offends you that much.



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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Mon Jun 26, 2006 6:15 pm

C15th - low and high status seems to lead to hands resting together centrally under the breasts (high status) or waist/belly (lower status). High status tends to improve posture as you are balancing the hat, wide belted and dragging fabric. Movement is slightly slower and neater. Head seems to be down naturally in lower status.

C17th seems to lead to the same, but perhaps lower over the belly to avoid waist tabs in posh.

I back Bjarne over C18th : no reaching forward (chafing!) and the hands rest naturally on the front of a panniered skirt, arms slightly flexed at the elbows in a position a little wider than the natural hips. Even Mops wearing just the panniers adopt this position naturally. It also helps with getting the skirt through doorways! Without the panniers there is a tendency to stand with the arms bent elegantly and with the elbows out a litle as you are aware of the cuff flounces. Makes hands and wrists sexy. Either way, you stand very much straighter.

Am wanting to check out full 1830's horsehair petticoats and full sleeve next, but that will have to wait.



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Postby X » Tue Jun 27, 2006 8:04 am

I was under the impression that the 17th century pocket in breeches wasn't let into the side-seam like a modern pocket. The breeches had a slit in them to allow you to reach the pouch suspended from a belt inside. Useful for putting things in, crap for standing around with your hand in.

The problem with a fifteenth century woman (my period, I'm on firmer ground here...) fiddling with the things hanging from her belt is that any woman not doing a hot, dirty job should probably be wearing a gown over her kirtle - even common women did; a gown is not necessarily a posh item. The random things are suspended from the belt around the kirtle (or in a purse hanging from the belt) and the gown goes over the top. Consequently, your keys, although close at hand when you need them, are not available for fiddling with. Dammit.



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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Tue Jun 27, 2006 1:12 pm

Agree strongly. Shouldn't be anything to speak of hanging from a woman's C15th belt if she is working in or around the house. And if out it would only be a lean, long-stringed purse under the gown to protect it from cutpurses. If cold anything under the gown would be rather accessible without hoisting the outer skirt, be it a working fitted gown or the smarter draped A-line gown.

As to not knowing what to do with ones' C17th or C15th hands - don't do anything! Be at rest.



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Postby Sophia » Tue Jun 27, 2006 1:32 pm

Alice - very nice in theory if you are based from a physical building. However, I would argue that anyone attached to the train of an army or who travelled extensively for business purposes would probably have more on their belt.

Why?

A) You can't loose it if you are wearing it.

B) Women who managed their own businesses may well of used male style belt pouches as these are significantly tougher than a purse however strongly stringed - we need to remember that money was a seriously weighty item at the period.

C) Most of the images and information we have prior to late 16th early 17th is either of people carrying out specific heavy tasks or of high status people posing. We simply don't know what a prosperous widow who managed her own affairs or something similar would have looked like when out and about.

I wonder if fitchets in gown skirts persisted until later.

Sophia



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Postby X » Tue Jun 27, 2006 2:00 pm

Of course, if a fifteenth century woman is wearing a gown over her kirtle, she might have everything up to and including the kitchen sink hanging from her belt around the kirtle and you wouldn't be able to see it.

One thing we have to be careful of here is the desire to make the evidence fit what we want to do/wear. But we have to be honest with ourselves - are we trying to portray the past as accurately as we can, or are we just out for a fun weekend of dressing up?

Speaking for myself, it's the former, because half the fun for me is in getting it right. I would like 17th century women not to have to wear corsets because I'm lazy enough not to want to have to make one. However, if corsets are usual, then I will take the plunge and give the automatic corset-pattern-making program thing a try rather than trying to make up a convincing-sounding reason why one is not necessary.

Fifteenth-century wise, most female re-enactors are not properly dressed - they don't have the top layer that they should have, so whatever is hanging from their belt is exposed.

However, when considering what people would be carrying around with them, we need to think of what we carry.

Personally, my day-to-day luggage is, house and van keys, money/plastic, PDA, iPod, umbrella. That translates to, in fifteenth-century terms, keys, money, notebook. A lot of what we carry around now is just due to its availability - I don't know, cosmetics, photographs of family, whatever.

Also, was money all that heavy? When you consider that a good wage in the fifteenth century was 8 pence per day, and then you weigh the actual coins, it's actually pretty light. A modern bronze 2p is heavier than any of the mediaeval silver coins, even the groat (4d). And, remember, we were on the gold standard so weight of silver was what counted, so you're talking about a day's wages weighing less than, say 4 modern 2p pieces. And how many people would be carrying around that much money?

What, exactly, does 'managing your own affairs' mean you have to carry? If you're management, you're probably still down to pen, notebook (or equivalent), keys and some money. If you're a craftsman, you've probably got a stronger belt around your middle over the top of everything with your tools stuck into it - not hanging from it. Hanging from it implies some kind of fastening, and that's just a hassle. You stick your hammer in your belt because anything else is too much trouble. And when not actually working, all your tools would go back in their box.



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Postby Karen Larsdatter » Tue Jun 27, 2006 2:38 pm

Sophia wrote:Women who managed their own businesses may well of used male style belt pouches as these are significantly tougher than a purse however strongly stringed - we need to remember that money was a seriously weighty item at the period.

I haven't seen any images of women wearing masculine-style belt-pouches. Not that they didn't exist ... just, I haven't seen 'em.

I'd imagine that a woman managing her own business would probably store most of her money in a coffret of some sort -- I'd expect that male businessmen likewise stored money that way as well. (Something on the order of this 15th century coffer, for example.)

X wrote:Of course, if a fifteenth century woman is wearing a gown over her kirtle, she might have everything up to and including the kitchen sink hanging from her belt around the kirtle and you wouldn't be able to see it.

Sometimes artists give us a peek, though ... :shock: :lol:
Leeks and turnips in the Tacuinum Sanitatis (BNF Nouvelle acquisition latine 1673, fols. 24 & 43)
Ercolano's wife in the Decameron (BNF Fr. 239, fol. 165)
Visitation in the Hours of Étienne Chevalier
Mylon in Facta et dicta memorabilia (The Hague, KB, 66 B 13, fol. 184v)
Mining
Don't see any kitchen sinks ... just purses :D



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Postby Sophia » Tue Jun 27, 2006 2:42 pm

X - agree with importance of getting it right.

This mean if you are doing 17th you are stuck with some sort of stays or corset - have fun :twisted:

As to underdressed - I am one of the ones who goes around sweltering in the full gown and kirtle rig most of the time (current outer gown in dark green, late 15th style with brown silk lining). The least I wear when dressing down is two kirtles one over the other (definitely my lower class Sunday best as over kirtle is embroidered all round neck, front lacings, sleeves and pin on lower sleeve sections.

I am simply investing in lighterweight wool for summer gowns (which will be faced at edges not lined) and linen for summer kirtles.

I will admit to wearing loads on my belt - mainly because we haven't got an authenti-tent to leave things in. Also because it stops me from losing things.

By managing things I mean an independent woman who would settle her own bills with suppliers, pay her staff, possibly even collect her own rents - talking medium status here.

You are right about workshop tools, but we should also consider that ownership of certain items were also status indicators in the middle-classes and ladies might have wanted to display these.

I don't wear cosmetics and tend to hide my modern stuff at the bottom of my scrip.

I also try and use a scrip or basket to carry my shopping whenever practical - no good for bolts of fabric, but then that's what Peter C-H is for.

BTW - have definitely decided to put fitchets on new gowns and experiment with different forms of pouch. Will also be experimenting with waist seams as I am portraying continental influenced 1450-1509 and feel I have enough visual imagery from Northern Renaissance pictures of period.

Sophia :D



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Postby Dathi » Tue Jun 27, 2006 2:53 pm

Pockets were part of 17th Century breeches in a big way. I doubt any Government contractor would have submitted a costing for breeches with 6 buttons and 2 leather pockets in 1644 if they weren't an expected part of the item! And give any man legwear with pockets he will stick his hands in them, if only to keep his hands warm! It's common enough on 19th Century images.



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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Tue Jun 27, 2006 7:13 pm

I am dubious about the continuation of fitchets from certain higher status C14th gowns carrying over into artisan class C15th everyday wear. I've not yet seen a period source that suggests this before the translation later into plackets in frame-supported skirt layers. There will doubtless always be an exceptional image of anything, but when looking at sources you should consider incidence as well as detail. The majority of period images do not depict the male-style belt pouch for the C15th and especially anything that could easily be read as a fitchetted gown . What you will see is the long string pouch worn when away from the house (which is more practical) or no pouch when near the house (again more practical). Nor will you see a broad range of items hung from the belt. Fichet also suggests pockets - there was a long discussion of pockets in the C15th on the old living history site. It is also very interesting to find the convenient pocket one creates when tucking and hitching clothing for ease of wear / work. A double-tucked apron being the best and most capacious.

I agree that a women trading as femme sole would be operating from premises, so would more likely use a coffret on her premises for business cash. It is more secure. A travelling trading woman such as huckster-woman would want the money where she could control it - which again argues a small, discrete and not readily accessioble belt pouch. Were she travelling, she would be travelling with luggage of varying types and usually in company for security - again if travelling a distance, probably using small secure boxes for valuables, but I don't see the practicality of using large personal belt pouches.

Wearing a lot of stuff hanging from a belt under a gown is uncomfortable to impractical. Belt pouches work very poorly over gowns or under them too - I used to try this when I started in the hobby. Long string purses work under gowns becuase they work - but not if stuffed - modern style - with everything. I know becuase I have to carry 'everything' and it is uncomfortable. Stripped of my modern stuff (carried purely so it will not get nicked) I only have coins, a comb, and hankerchief , thread and a roll of pins and needles. I don't need anything else bar a key.

The modern need for belt pouches and hung tranklements really does seem hinge on the modern need for 'stuff'. I am continually surprised how little one needs to be really comfortable at the weekend when in camp, and so have begun to trim down our collection of re-enactment kit.



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Postby Hecate » Mon Jul 31, 2006 6:53 pm

I've been researching female clothing of the fifteenth century and the most you see when a women has just her kirlte on is a belt. on some of the pictures, the over kirtle or gown is hitched up at the front and a purse on a long cord is visible.

having worn posh and everyday stuff I've found i often need something to do with my hands so I've taken up spinning! It's fab as you can always tuck the spindle into your belt briefly if you need to do something in a hurry, or just put it away for when you're cooking or something.

I'm dreadful though, I try to keep everything in bags or boxes in the tent and only get things out when I need them. I think it's something to do with having done re-enactment for too long... my mum despairs of me as I normally don't even carry a hand bag and carry stuff in my hands instead! therefore I'm constantly leaving my purse or my phone behind when I poop round! :lol:



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Postby JC Milwr » Mon Jul 31, 2006 7:31 pm

Like Alice, I've started cutting back on paraphanalia I carry round my waist. I now only put my belt on if I'm leaving camp, it's way more comfortable. My kirtle just feels nicer without the belt.

Round camp I tend to wear an apron, so can tuck stuff I need into the tie of that (baby cloths and dish cloths seem to be the main thing).


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Postby frances » Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:37 pm

Regarding stuff carried around the medieval waist - I was gazing at a probably Flemish tapestry recently - but blow me, old age and all that, cannot remember where it was. All the men and women had all sorts of things dangling from their belts. I distinctly remember combs, what looked like rolled-up fabric the shape of today's bum bags and there may have even been a mug. Wish I could remember where I was at the time. Then I could go back and have an even better look. Doh!



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Postby Hecate » Wed Aug 02, 2006 1:38 pm

if its the one I'm thinking of i think they are shepards. Any joy in remebering which one it is as I'd love to see it. :D



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Postby Tamsin Lewis » Wed Aug 02, 2006 1:47 pm

think they are shepards

There's an engraving/woodcut in the Heures a lusiage de Rome (Paris, P Pigouchet for S Vostre, 1497) showing shepherds (male & female) with various things hanging from belts. It's reproduced in Pollard's English Miracle Plays, Moralities & Interludes (OUP) if this is any help



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Postby gregory23b » Wed Aug 02, 2006 2:02 pm

Frances could it be the huge flemish tapestries at the V and A?

They show men and women using small scrip type bags and hanging everythng from knives, combs and musical intruments off them.

I mentioned this to someone and they did mention that it was odd that the people portrayed were not exactly dressed as peasants and that usually those bags are shown with nothing on them, except for rings or a mesh. It has been suggested that it is a medeival fantasy 'country scene' ie have everything on show just to make the point rather than a documentary. Looking at the works that certainly makes sense.

But that aside it still gives good reference for some of the items that could be carried (possibly although the pipes might be again some sort of romantic idea of rustic life).


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Postby frances » Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:01 pm

Hmmm, could have been the V&A 23b. I was wondering if that was the place. In my memory everyone had more or less the same things hanging from their belts. So do we all walk around with a notice on our backs saying 'I'm an allegorical shepard'?? hehe I will pop into the museum next time I am up in London and see what I can see. That should be soon as I have to go to the vets (no, not for my health, for Flossie's) to pick up some medication, probably next week.



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Postby Hecate » Thu Aug 03, 2006 12:27 am

I've found the picture!

http://www.godecookery.com/clipart/people/clpeop52.htm

Underneath it says
52. Peasants frolicking; detail of a page from Horae, Paris, 1506

it looks like shearing instruments etc.

been researching flounces on kirtles avidly this week and this is the first reference I've found to more than a drop pouch on a kirtle. Lots of aprons though



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Alice the Huswyf
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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Thu Aug 03, 2006 10:18 am

mmmmm I wonder if certain publishers would be happy to see so many plates lifted from a certain well-known costume book?



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Postby Hecate » Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:56 am

good grief I'm being dozy today!

Alice, please can you tell me which one! Sorry, just i think it may be one of the few I don't have and I'm curious! :)



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Alice the Huswyf
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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Fri Aug 04, 2006 11:56 am

'Medieval Costume in England and France the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries', Mary G Houston

Fig 202 on page 111 appears as clpeop30
Fig 214 and 215 on page 116 appears as clpeop31
Fig 273 on page 157 appears as clpeop33
Fig 295 on page 169 appears as clpeop34
Fig 298 on page 170 appears as clpeop35

Book (first published in 1939 as part of series and re-issued alone and slightly altered in 1996) gives museum and document number: website gives document title and details but uses exactly the same ink drawings.



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Postby Drachelis » Fri Aug 04, 2006 12:41 pm

'Medieval Costume in England and France the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries', Mary G Houston


Fantatic book! I have found it veryuseful - especially for ornament ( embroidery, woven pattrns and such)

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Postby John Tiptoft » Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:56 pm

Re: the pictures, copyright rights(!) expire after a hundred years, meaning that unless the pictures were produced in 1939 specifically for the book, it's very likely they are public domain!
That's a good website for all sorts of pics!
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Postby Shadowcat » Fri Aug 04, 2006 2:18 pm

I believe these figures were re-drawn from the original manuscripts, specifically for the book mentioned.

S.




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