"Supportive gowns"- ??????

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Karen Larsdatter
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Postby Karen Larsdatter » Mon Oct 09, 2006 7:46 pm

Gwen wrote:I saw (and covertly photographed) 3 of these "supportive gowns" in use at the market I attended in August.

Gwen, hon, you can use the word "Pennsic" here. :) Really and truly. :lol:

Gwen wrote:Perhaps the ones I photographed are poor examples of the technique, but I don't think so.

It could be. Some people also change in size shortly after their "Gothic fitted dresses" are made, and so the fit goes all funky. I think Mathilde's wearing one of hers in this photo (and IIRC was a few months pregnant at that point as well).

Found another online start-to-finish website about a "Gothic fitted dress," on Lia's website -- see the photo gallery or the dress diary for photos.

(FWIW, I'm certainly not claiming that my kirtle-pattern is any more historically accurate -- certainly the "smirtles" are just a made-up blend of two different layers, much more comfortable to wear at humid summer events here in Virginia, even when temperatures exceed 40°C -- just that it fits me for the time being, and doesn't look glaringly awful. I tend to use the pattern a lot like the "body block" in Medieval Tailor's Assistant, adapting it for a variety of different styles. Seems to work out pretty well for me. But usually, the kirtle isn't straining to serve as a support garment too, which tends to cause any outerwear layer to look more awful than it really ought to.)



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Postby Tuppence » Tue Oct 10, 2006 12:18 am

It is possible to cut a garment that "supports" the bust without boning, and really from cut alone.

But it's not really shaped anything like a modern bustline (or, I have to admit, that much like any medieval one I've ever seen - looks more Victorian to my eye).

debs

hey - maybe that's a new ebay line - the victorian gothik medieval fitted gown??? :wink:


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Postby Gwen » Tue Oct 10, 2006 1:18 am

I'm not going to assume anyone anywhere in any context automatically knows what "Pennsic" is, any more than anyone should know what the NLHF or ORM or CT are. For me it's a market I attend in August.

Given my experience at the hands of the acolytes when I questioned their theories on the pin on sleeve, I'm not about to offer comments regarding specific sites or people. Noone needs to see another long post about how mean I've been to someone, including me. :roll: I will note, however, that the site you refer to seems to provide "documentation" in the form of references to Robin N's comments on a costume list and websites devoted to her theories. I'd like to see something not quite so circular, or maybe even (gasp!) something from the period under dicussion.

Back to the issue of breast taping as a possible method of bust control, see this image Marie Cadiex sent me:

Hans Baldung Grien- Old man and the prostitute

Baldung was active 1503-1545. This painting was done in the early years of 1500, when Baldung was working in the studio of Albrect Durer.

I'm willing to believe that's an example of breast taping! I also should mention that I believe the Roman mosaics of the women frolicing on the beach in "bikinis" is another example of breast taping. So for me, it's 2 examples vs. a theory that doesn't seem to work very well.

Gwen



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Postby Shadowcat » Tue Oct 10, 2006 7:45 am

Gwen wrote:Back to the issue of breast taping as a possible method of bust control, see this image Marie Cadiex sent me:

Hans Baldung Grien- Old man and the prostitute

Baldung was active 1503-1545. This painting was done in the early years of 1500, when Baldung was working in the studio of Albrect Durer.

I'm willing to believe that's an example of breast taping! I also should mention that I believe the Roman mosaics of the women frolicing on the beach in "bikinis" is another example of breast taping. So for me, it's 2 examples vs. a theory that doesn't seem to work very well.

Gwen


Fascinating how the "taping" appears to be over the top of a smock/shift/undergarment, rather than underneath, which is what I would have done!

S.



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Postby Sophia » Tue Oct 10, 2006 12:36 pm

Very interesting indeed - I would say she is actually wearing a fine kirtle underneath given the visible lacing, the material over her shoulders could well be a fichu of some description.

BTW did anyone notice the decoration on the waistband of her very heavily gathered dark apron.

Question now is how much is artistic licence and how much is reality?

What I would personally suspect is a local fashion or some social indication (not italianate headdress). Unfortunately she is far too late for WOTR though (have filed her for future reference).

[edit]In re. the pin on sleeve, what is the issue? I do not have some peoples memory for it, but I am pretty certain I have seen plenty of examples in art. The other technique which we tend to forget about is temporary sewing on of pieces (used by the Tudors for foreparts and skirt guards IIRC).[/edit]
Sophia :D



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Postby Karen Larsdatter » Tue Oct 10, 2006 2:20 pm

Sophia wrote:In re. the pin on sleeve, what is the issue? I do not have some peoples memory for it, but I am pretty certain I have seen plenty of examples in art.

See http://www.mathildegirlgenius.com/Docum ... leeves.pdf and http://forums.armourarchive.org/phpBB2/ ... hp?t=57131



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Postby Sophia » Tue Oct 10, 2006 3:39 pm

Point taken, but I do agree with the critiscisms of the paper in re. lack of other sources. I feel that to research a particular item of clothing one should look at all possible sources both textual and pictorial.

Art history only provides a very limited window on clothing, particularly as much of what has survived is of a religious nature or allegorical. Personally I would favour a mix of the two styles, plus possibly protective sleeves. One thing is certain, if you make tight kirtle sleeves you cannot role them up, and I am not sure the lower orders would have had the time/money to indulge in loads of buttons even cloth ones. Many domestic tasks would have led women to roll up their sleeves (kirtle, shift whatever) as they certainly didn't want wet cuffs or to dirty or damage items of clothing which were not regularly washed.

This leads me to another issue - many of the women in British LH camps are engaged in what can best be described in interior tasks, i.e. crafts, cooking, etc.. However they are in a campsite and in the view of the public and men outside their own domestic sphere. I would suggest that the rules are much idealised and that haircovering and aprons are more of an issue than sleeves and gowns in some senses. Anything we do is experimental because we have no proof and can't go back and check facts. I would again suggest that we have to adapt our clothes to our tasks, sedentary non-dirty tasks call for gowns, other tasks call for aprons, possibly kirtles without gowns (depending on the weather), if necessary removable/rolled up sleeves.

On a personal note I would suggest we consider the possibility of temporary sewing - I know there is no proof, but it seems much more realistic in a world where sewing was a common skill. Too many of us forget how fast hand sewing can be if you are seriously competent. In an age of no machines and given the fact that only the very rich had their body linens and clothes made for them, basic sewing is a common skill.

Indeed, I think it would also be more comfortable - I have never really gotten on with pin on sleeves. Will consider experimenting with it next season as a way of jazzing up outfits as well as providing "decent" wear. (Need to make some earlier kirtles as all mine are flat-fronted and sleeveless, though will also be experiment with sleeves on the flat fronted type as they are listed in several wills (admittedly later, but I suffer from LENEL and an experimental mind-set).)

Sophia :D



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Postby Gwen » Tue Oct 10, 2006 4:20 pm

Baldung was from Strassburg. His prostitute and old man are dressed in pretty standard, well documented German clothing of the first decade of the 16th C. The Germans and Italians were big on elaborately arranged and dressed hair at this point, while the English were already covering their hair with proto-gables.

Having worn them for many years, I can tell you that pin on sleeves are very convenient. Pop them off and roll up your smock sleeves when washing up, roll the smock sleeves down when finished and pop them back on when you're ready to sit down to do a bit of sewing.

As for the evidence, there are far too many examples on too many women in too many contexts to support the contention that only Mary Magdalen wore them in a "private space". Thankfully this flight of theory seems to be localized and hasn't taken off the way the GFD has.

Gwen



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Postby Gwen » Tue Oct 10, 2006 4:21 pm

P.S.- What's "LENEL"???



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Postby Lord Byron » Tue Oct 10, 2006 4:31 pm

Gwen wrote:P.S.- What's "LENEL"???


"Lack of Evidence is Not Evidence of Lack"



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Postby Sophia » Tue Oct 10, 2006 4:44 pm

LENEL means Lack of Evidence Not Evidence of Lack. Used to refer to experimental theories which could be pie in the sky but cannot be disproved. It is useful, but only if you always explain that what you are doing is theoretical. :D

As for pin-on sleeves, they are not my favourite though I would agree they are practical. I am very fast at hand sewing so that route is one I would favour. :P

I have been going through the relevant thread on armour archive, that Karen gave the url for, and if I have one comment it is that people do seem to take this far too personally and get far too wedded to theories. Many SCA papers seem to focus closely on art at the expense of all other sources and have very limited scope. This would appear to be because they are competition entries rather works aimed purely at increasing the amount of knowledge available to the community. Please note this is purely my personal opinion and I have not published anything too date - mainly because I simply do not feel up to it, there are so many people out there who know more than I do. Having said this I intend to head for the PRO in Kew this winter. I want to look at WOTR period wills for Mercers, Drapers and Tailors. Particularly interested in lists of stock that might appear in any probate inventories. Also intend to order the York stuff which someone from the Ferrers group here in UK mentioned to me.

I would also say that if we are researching such things we should follow the strictest possible academic guidelines for our research. Otherwise the work is effectively pointless and will just lead to more such controversy. Remember that without irrefutable proof which is probably almost impossible until someone can borrow the Tardis everything we write will be theory and best guess.

Indeed, when I talked to the author of The Medieval Tailor's Assistant which many of us quote as a bible, she had the modesty to point out that the book represented the state of what she felt was the best available research at the date of publication which was in the early 90's. The aim of her book was to ensure that everyone had somewhere to start from and that they should then go off and do their own research.

Enough ranting for now - need to make a few more metres of points and lacings for various garments that are in the process of being finished.

Sophia :D



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Postby Gwen » Tue Oct 10, 2006 6:56 pm

LENEL means Lack of Evidence Not Evidence of Lack. Used to refer to experimental theories which could be pie in the sky but cannot be disproved.
Ah excellent! Thanks for the explaination!


I am very fast at hand sewing so that route is one I would favour.
The pins are very clearly shown in lots and lots of non-ambiguous images, so I wouldn't say they are LENEL. hehe! :)

people do seem to take this far too personally and get far too wedded to theories.
Absolutely. However, taking things too personally and being uneccessarily defensive seems to be a very American reaction to things. I have found my European aquaintances to have more of a "live and let" attitude. Americans tend to automatically default to "if you're not with me you're against me".

Many SCA papers seem to focus closely on art at the expense of all other sources and have very limited scope.
And are written by people with little or no understanding of allegory or the contemporary social and religious conditions surrounding the art.

I would also say that if we are researching such things we should follow the strictest possible academic guidelines for our research. Otherwise the work is effectively pointless and will just lead to more such controversy.
Although I agree with you in theory, I'm not an academic, and lots of people who do this sort of thing are not either. However, a lack of training should never be an excuse for poor research, *especially* if you're going to go out on a limb and publish something for general consumption. Practicing heresies within the confines of one's own group is one thing, publishing said heresies as fact for general consumption is something else entirely. (My opinion of course)

Enough ranting for now - need to make a few more metres of points and lacings for various garments that are in the process of being finished.
Yeah, me too, except for me it's Dark Ages trousers. It's just so refreshing to have a sensible discussion once in a while- thanks for the diversion!! :D

Gwen



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Postby Tuppence » Wed Oct 11, 2006 12:07 am

LENEL means Lack of Evidence Not Evidence of Lack. Used to refer to experimental theories which could be pie in the sky but cannot be disproved. It is useful, but only if you always explain that what you are doing is theoretical.


Unfortunately, also frequently hijacked by those who simply cannot be bothered to do any research.....

Many SCA papers seem to focus closely on art at the expense of all other sources and have very limited scope.
And are written by people with little or no understanding of allegory or the contemporary social and religious conditions surrounding the art.


I tend to find they have a lack of geographical context too. Source pictures taken from all over Europe with little understanding that there actually were quite big national differences in some things.

I would also say that if we are researching such things we should follow the strictest possible academic guidelines for our research. Otherwise the work is effectively pointless and will just lead to more such controversy.
Although I agree with you in theory, I'm not an academic, and lots of people who do this sort of thing are not either. However, a lack of training should never be an excuse for poor research, *especially* if you're going to go out on a limb and publish something for general consumption. Practicing heresies within the confines of one's own group is one thing, publishing said heresies as fact for general consumption is something else entirely. (My opinion of course)


I'm not an academic either - although I did costume history at college, it focussed almost exclusively on art (well it was a fashion course :D ). And at least one historian i know has no training, but is considered an expert in his field, so academics isn't really the issue.

And some trained (and academic) historians have surprizingly bad research!!

But I agree, training or no training, you have to put in the time and effort, and check your facts (and theories) rigorously.

Enough ranting for now - need to make a few more metres of points and lacings for various garments that are in the process of being finished.
Yeah, me too, except for me it's Dark Ages trousers. It's just so refreshing to have a sensible discussion once in a while- thanks for the diversion!!



AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!

HASTINGS!!!!!!!!! :shock:


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Postby Gwen » Wed Oct 11, 2006 4:06 am

AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!

HASTINGS!!!!!!!!!


Ah yes, poor dear. I was that way -last- week! All of my customer's things had to be shipped out to arrive before they left this week. I believe the last bits are flying over tomorrow with their wearers.

I wish you good luck with getting everything finished.

Gwen



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Postby Tuppence » Wed Oct 11, 2006 1:26 pm

Well at least I can sew up to the last minute, as I'm going. Sewing in the back of the car here I come!!

The aargh factor is also tied up with the fact that I'm in charge of water carying for the normans. All the normans :shock: .

still not sure how that happened... :D


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Postby Gwen » Thu Oct 12, 2006 4:05 pm

More grist for the mill! Both of these images are mid-15th C. and clearly depict something going on in the bust area that does not extend past the mid ribcage. Both show this "something" going on over the undergarment and under the outer layer...exactly like the Baldung painting. Notice also the "fichu" over the shoulders and chest in the first image also seen in the Baldung painting.

MS9243, f.72 (Bibliotheque Royale -Brussels)
Image

Rene' of Anjou's Book of Love-
Image

Another example of breast taping? A separate bodice? An undergown made in 2 parts? A piece laid across the front? Hmmmmm.....curiouser and curiouser!

(Thanks to Jenn Reed for helping me remember where to find these images. :) )

Gwen



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Postby Drachelis » Thu Oct 12, 2006 10:22 pm

Looks very much like the beginnings of s stomacher - rather than a complete undergown/kirtle or whatever - I have cheated with houppelandes on occasion by making a little laced camisole to go underneath and show in the V neck - this looks remarkably like that.

. Rather than a "fichou" It could be the top of a fine shift.



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Postby Sophia » Sat Oct 14, 2006 12:45 am

Second the comment about the fichu as a wider range of fine linen lawns and muslin type fabrics were available than today.

Most of this weight of fabric is now made in cotton, though you can on occasion find incredibly fine linens in some asian shops (always buy a small piece and take it home to do a burn test though, also should crease like paper which cotton doesn't).

The early "stomacher" looking piece could be a square necked kirtle though we have no proof (MS9243, f.72). Why do I think this - if you look carefully at the image the lighter section in the opening of the gown could possibly be a belt. Would need to see the original image or a high quality copy inder a magnifying glass to get a proper idea. Did you source this image online or in a book and could I have the reference to have a look.

All the best,

Sophia :D



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Postby Gwen » Sat Oct 14, 2006 3:06 am

Hi Sophie-

The image is from the Chronicles of Hainault, 1468. This image is in "The Medieval Tailor's Assistant".

I'd buy it being a proto square necked undergown, although I don't think there would be a belt on it. A belt wouldn't be seen under there and would provide a layer of bulk in an awkward spot.

Gwen




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