14th Century Costume Query

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calicocloth
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14th Century Costume Query

Postby calicocloth » Sat Jul 22, 2006 12:46 pm

Can anyone suggest what the lines represent on the front of the sideless surcoat worn by the bucket carrier - pleats/woven stripe/embroidery? The image is from the Luttrell Psalter made somewhere between 1325 and 1340.
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jug and bucket a.jpg



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Postby craig1459 » Sat Jul 22, 2006 12:55 pm

Striped material?


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Postby calicocloth » Sat Jul 22, 2006 1:31 pm

I can come to no sensible conclusion!

They could be woven stripes, but they just stop so that doesn't make sense to me - could a weaver advise if it is possible to stop weaving stripes (I imagine not) part way down a length of cloth? If not, the fabric would have to be cut and joined.

It could be embroidery - the white lines do also curve around the sides. But this is a functional garment - does anyone know of a precident?

They also look like pleats, but they don't extend into fullness or have any apparent function, so wouldn't that be a waste of fabric?

I'm quite puzzled, but I don't want to ignore the detail.



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Postby sally » Sat Jul 22, 2006 2:04 pm

I'd always assumed it was rayed/striped fabric, but it could be small pleats, this is also the figure that apears to have a smocked top to her apron. There is a precedent for stitched in tiny pleats though, one of the medieval Icelandic garments described in 'Woven into the Earth' has stitched small pleats and if my memory serves correctly its broadly similar in date.
Then again, it could just be the artist having fun, but the Luttrel Psalter is relatively naturalistic, so maybe not



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Postby calicocloth » Sat Jul 22, 2006 2:25 pm

Thank you Sally - that is not a book I was aware of. I have now ordered my copy from Amazon!




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Postby calicocloth » Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:53 pm

sally"[i]I'd always assumed it was rayed/striped fabric, but it could be small pleats, this is also the figure that apears to have a smocked top to her apron. There is a precedent for stitched in tiny pleats though, one of the medieval Icelandic garments described in 'Woven into the Earth' has stitched small pleats and if my memory serves correctly its broadly similar in date.

Just received my copy of the book, excellent! I think I will experiment with pleating... many thanks for the book tip Sally.



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Postby sally » Thu Jul 27, 2006 5:03 pm

running with the idea of pleating for this particular garment, it would be interesting to see if a shapeless 'straight up and down' surcoat could adopt that particular shape if tiny pleats or pintucks in the torso were used to narrow the top to give the shaping, rather than cutting a scooped profile into the sides as is more commonly seen. Worth a mock up experiment?



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Postby calicocloth » Thu Jul 27, 2006 5:37 pm

Yes, definitely Sally. The cut looks very straight doesn't it and my first attempt with cut-aways and gores just doesn't hang the same.



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Postby seamsmistress » Fri Jul 28, 2006 1:39 pm

I'm inclined to think that what we are seeing is applied inkle or caddis braid. Running in stripes down the front, it appears also to trim the edges of the armholes and side skirt splits aswell as the side and hem of the apron. And, the same band appears to runs at just below waist level, making the top pouch over slightly. What is interesting is the top of the apron which looks like it might be smocked? I can't think of anything else that would give the same appearance. Hope this helps



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Postby calicocloth » Fri Jul 28, 2006 1:55 pm

Thanks - its good to have lots of opinions and I hadn't thought of the braid option. I am about to contact specialists at the V&A and museum of London too to see what they think.

I'm pretty certain the apron is smocked and a number of different smocking designs can be seen on the Psalter images. As far as I know it is the earliest depiction of a smocked apron - the following web site is interesting on the subject: http://www.bellomarisco.com/smockingapron.php



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Postby Sophia » Fri Jul 28, 2006 2:53 pm

For interest met a lady from Ferrer's at Tewks who was wearing an full length apron which had a back and a front and was smocked at the top. She said it was based on a German illustration I think - not sure of date or source she quoted. Regrettably and as usual I cannot remember her name. Might be something to do with drink partaken :D

Good Luck with your research though this is a very interesting piece if a little outside my normal period.

Sophia

(Whose just getting into the whole apron thing now she is doing LH)



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Smocked apron

Postby calicocloth » Fri Jul 28, 2006 4:44 pm

I made a quick version of the outfit for an initial test shoot, but I will start again from scratch for the film itself (a 15 minute, Heritage Lottery Funded and not-for-profit film). Here are a couple of pictures including a close up of the smocked apron.
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apron.jpg
luttrell girl.jpg



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Postby sally » Fri Jul 28, 2006 5:07 pm

looking good, may I suggest wearing the apron a shade lower on the hips? Most of the belts in the LP seem deliberately drawn below natural belt line, may help with the hang of the surcoat



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Postby calicocloth » Fri Jul 28, 2006 5:22 pm

Yes, I agree and that was our intention. We found the apron ties naturally slackened off and the apron settled onto the hips when worn, we started off with the apron tied on the waistline and let it find its level. There is however, still all sorts wrong with the current interpretation of the surcoat!!



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Postby seamsmistress » Fri Jul 28, 2006 9:22 pm

I don't think you're too far off with the surcoat - perhaps cutting a bit longer in the upper body so it pouches and splitting the sides? Gravity will then do it's own work, making the skirt fall straighter, maybe. I do compliment you on hood, kirtle and apron, they look super.



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pleats

Postby calicocloth » Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:59 am

I have consulted both the V&A (they were unsure) and the Museum of London who said 'Having looked at the picture and discussed it with John Clark, our medieval curator, we think it's just folds or pleats in the drapery of her surcoat. John thinks it's definitely not embroidery or braiding'.. I had been coming to the same conclusion - pleating the fabric into shape is more economic than cutting it and if they were using sophisticated pleating as seen in the aprons I don't see why they were not using pleating to shape the surcoat as well. So I am going to experiment a bit to see if I can make such a technique work.



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Postby Louisa Gidney » Wed Aug 02, 2006 9:33 am

You might find the article Pleated fragments of Clothing from Norway by Marianne Vedeler helpful. It is in Priceless Invention of Humanity- Textiles edited by Jerzy Maik. Published 2004. North European Symposium on Archaeological Textiles (NESAT) volume VII.



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Postby tonw » Wed Aug 02, 2006 10:49 am

Sophia if it was the one you were chatting too in the vegi food place that one is Helen AKA Savage Beasty on this here forum

the other one Is Jen (mainly in black)

Jim Smith or X are her point of contact


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Postby Drachelis » Wed Aug 02, 2006 12:26 pm

I too had a good conversation with Sophia about finishing

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Postby frances » Wed Aug 09, 2006 12:29 am

Looking good. Just a few details that I have noticed - and in my opinion it is the tiny details that turn costume into historic clothing. Check the length of your model's arms. In the original the sleeves go up to the wrists even on the arm that is holding ythe bucket. Did you manage to work out how to do the little 'tail' at the back of the open hood? Also I have a feeling that the aprons were much narrower than those that we are used to today. Yours goes from side to side, in the original it looks as though it is just a central panel. How much fabric did you smock?



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Postby calicocloth » Wed Aug 09, 2006 8:20 am

I agree with all those points Frances. This outfit was made in about five days (!) for an unscheduled trial film shoot, so there wasn't time to work things out fully. I intend to redo the sleeves, the sideless surcoat will go on an extra and be remade, the veil beneath the hood isn't long enough, but the hood pattern I am happy with - it was drafted from archaeological evidence. Oh, and yes the apron is too wide, but a have a few more to make so I can experiment. I am also talking to Marianne Vedeler who is doing a Doctoral Thesis on Medieval pleated garments - she has sent me an article she has written (translated from Norwegian) and some pictures of the garments she is studying. It is still a work in progress.



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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Wed Aug 09, 2006 8:34 am

I'd also go for a larger smocking gather, with greater length smocking stitches. (And agree on a narrower apron worn at hip level). It is more time-economic than the modern spacing smocking which makes sense when making domestic garments broadly using daylight hours and in between covering the rest of the domestic tasks allotted to a women.

This would also cover the balance between an illustrator trying to cover a detail of daily life that was so obvious that it had to be recorded and upping the actual scale of the detail to make it drawable and what was probably the scale of the detail, accurately reproduced. I have however seen enough examples - even with large X effect detail in contrasting thread to be sure that the smocking WAS much larger - as recorded.

A surcoat made in wool will have enough weight to hang better than your linen mock-up and I think you will find it solves the problem.



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Postby calicocloth » Wed Aug 09, 2006 8:48 am

What sort of spacing do you suggest - I am about to set up the gathers in another apron today to take away as holiday hand sewing!



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Postby frances » Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:53 pm

The reason I was asking about the smokcing is that I will have to set to and make a smocked apron and hood fairly soon so I was hoping to pick your brains.




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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:13 pm

Earlier post - 'large X effect detail' referes to a change of stitch rather than the overall texture pf the work. Sadly I lent my smocking manual to someone and got it back 3 years later, rancid with mildew, so I can't categorically state stitch names at you.




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