Sleeveless Kirtles

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craig1459
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Sleeveless Kirtles

Postby craig1459 » Wed Jul 26, 2006 1:08 pm

Sara made a sleeveless kirtle as an emergency measure while sweltering at a show recently. She has been told that they are a no-no but looking at the Fed kit regulations they say they are OK. Who's right?


die Behmen hinder iren bafosen ... stunden vest wie die mauren

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Postby gregory23b » Wed Jul 26, 2006 1:17 pm

Who do you want to be right?

not a facetious question.

Like any group or umbrella someone sets a standard, that does not mean they are infallible but it does mean that some things are allowable that may be 'wrong'. There is an inherent problem with large scale standardisation as habits can be ingrained in reenactment practice, etc etc.

Short sleeved kirtles seem the thing, with the option of pin on sleeves and or a gown over them (long sleeved ones too).


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Postby craig1459 » Wed Jul 26, 2006 1:28 pm

gregory23b wrote:Who do you want to be right?


Us! :D

I'm not in a Fed group so that's by-the-by and I just happened to come across it while browing the kit guide rather than looking for guidance.

(Usually she'd wear long-sleeve kirtle with sleeveless surcoat)


die Behmen hinder iren bafosen ... stunden vest wie die mauren

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Postby Tuppence » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:28 pm

Unfortunately, it's one of those areas where we basically don't know.

They could be right, they could be wrong.

Although it's relatively safe to assume they wouldn't really be worn that often without the separate sleeves or another layer over the top, they may have been if the wearer was involved in doing a job that was dirty (meaning washing up, or cleaning out animals before anybody jumps in :lol: ).

See if you can find anything from a member of the clergy damning them, if that's there they were definitely worn alone :wink:


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Postby Sophia » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:55 pm

Interesting question as I am currently wearing late C15th (1450-1509) gear, this consists of a sleeveless flat fronted kirtle/petticoat and a gown.

Looking at the books published by Stuart Peachey which are based on wills research there is some suggestion that the petticoat was a lower class garment which was adopted by the upper classes. What is not clear is if the petticoat was worn in public without the gown.

As we are now gunning I am somewhat stuck on this issue as well. I can't really gun in my gowns so I am going to just wear my kirtle/petticoat with an apron and research the alternatives (will either have to make new kirtles or will possibly have to investigate an overgarment referred to as a frock).

Current research sources:

Clothing of the Common Woman 1350-1480, Robert Morris
Clothing of the Common Man 1350-1480, Robert Morris
Clothes of the Common Woman 1480-1580, Robert Morris
Clothes of the Common Woman 1480-1580, Part 2, Making the Garments, Jane Huggett
Clothes of the Common Man 1480-1580, Robert Morris
Clothes of the Common Man 1480-1580, Part 2, Making the Garments, Jane Huggett
Textiles and Materials of the Common Man and Woman 1480-1580, Robert Morris
Dyeing the Clothing of the Common People 1480-1580, Stuart Peachey and David Hopkins

All the above are published by Stuart Peachey's imprint The Stuart Press. When I bought them at Tewkesbury he said that they were hoping to expand the range for 1350-1480 in the next few as more research has come to light since publication of original two booklets.

All the best,

Sophia :D



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Re: Sleeveless Kirtles

Postby Karen Larsdatter » Thu Jul 27, 2006 6:55 pm

Hmm. Like the orange garment on the lady at far left at http://www.medievalbeads.com/docs/items ... -tree.html maybe? (Hard to tell, from that zoomed-out, whether the white thing underneath is actually the kirtle, and the sleeveless orange garment is a sort of gown or surcoat.)



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Postby gregory23b » Thu Jul 27, 2006 7:06 pm

Ah so that is what that looks like in colour, thanks Karen. I have that in bw in a book, shows checked cloak on one guy.

Not convinced by the bead argument, way too vague, could be anything from embroidery to whatever, or beads ;-)


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Postby sally » Thu Jul 27, 2006 7:07 pm

its very short the orange dress isnt it? Does look unusual, and as if it could be a 'middle' layer perhaps?



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Postby Drachelis » Mon Jul 31, 2006 12:35 am

I think that the dress in the picie is more of a high sided surcoat rather than a kirtle - the openings of a surcoat did vary from hip leel upwards.

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Postby Dianne » Mon Jul 31, 2006 1:14 pm

In real medieval days - would all women (of the same class) have worn the same type of dress? Walking round Berkeley at the weekend .... and I have thought this before ..... everyone was dressed the same, like a uniform! Would there not have been ANY variation apart from the colour of the kirtle?


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Postby kael » Mon Jul 31, 2006 1:25 pm

play safe, make it long sleeved and roll them up when it's hot :P



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Postby Karen Larsdatter » Mon Jul 31, 2006 2:49 pm

Dianne wrote:In real medieval days - would all women (of the same class) have worn the same type of dress?

I think it depends on the class in question, as well as the time period. Certainly, when we see illustrations from the late 15th century, fashionable women are dressed almost identically (except for slight modifications in the headdress, or the color of a gown); far more variation appears as the class level becomes decreasingly interested in investing in the latest trendy clothes. :)



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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:10 pm

If she has any spare fabric left, attach short leeves - it really isn't that much hotter and it is very much more practical as she can make sleeves later to pin on; temperature -controllable clothing! Sleeveless kirtles do seem - by the majority of period illustrations - to be undergarments for the rich or with tie-on leeves an Italian rennaissance development which has very little to do with what's going on in northern europe.

And as to uniform - ALL fashion is uniform - with the merest illusion of individuality. It is tribal wear and we follow one fashion or another to state our alleginaces, whenter to football teams or to bands or other lifestyle markers.



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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:35 am

Craig could you not make some plausible story about picking Sar up as a trophy wife whilst on campaign with your germanic merc friends in Italy?


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Postby Tuppence » Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:56 am

In real medieval days - would all women (of the same class) have worn the same type of dress? Walking round Berkeley at the weekend .... and I have thought this before ..... everyone was dressed the same, like a uniform! Would there not have been ANY variation apart from the colour of the kirtle?


And as to uniform - ALL fashion is uniform - with the merest illusion of individuality. It is tribal wear and we follow one fashion or another to state our alleginaces, whenter to football teams or to bands or other lifestyle markers.


Absolutely - clothes are just clothes - fashion has much more going on (and has since at least the days of the pharoes).
chances are it wouldn't have been quite as samey as it tends to seem at large events, but re-enactors have fashions, just like everyone else...
plus we are basing stuff on relatively limited sources - unfortunately, if you want to claim historical accuracy. it has to be based on one of those, and most re-enactors use books, and the same pics show up in many books (in various different guises / re-drawings etc). If you want something different, you have to go and look for it, and many re-enactors don't have that kind of time (or don't know where to begin (I recommend the british library website)).

I think that the dress in the picie is more of a high sided surcoat rather than a kirtle - the openings of a surcoat did vary from hip leel upwards.


That's what it looks like to me - the surcoats were often quite short, so that the fabric of the dress underneath could be seen. And surcotes were still being worn at least as late as 1485, although they weren't as common as they were earlier.

Craig could you not make some plausible story about picking Sar up as a trophy wife whilst on campaign with your germanic merc friends in Italy?


AAAArrrrgggghhhhhh, nnoooooooooooo!!!!!

The age old excuse for seeing a picture that's completely irrelevant for what you're doing, and saying 'I don't care it's wrong, I want that one!'
Can I be a french princess and have a big pointy hat thing?? :lol:


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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:10 pm

I'm not totally up my own bum about ORTHenticity, but I'm afraid I agree wholly with Tuppence - why ask the question if there's a temptation to stretch facts to fit what you want to do. That isn't re-enactment, that's SCA / LARPing, which are both perfectly acceptable and fun hobbies - but which do not sit together well on the same field. There is range within certain limits that does sit - but that range has, by necessity, to have it's limits. (To wit, WW1 bar-partisan, her C17th wench-mate and their friend in a red satin sleeveless sundress and a norman helmet who were such efficient waterers at Tewkesbury but who looked even more out of place standing near appropriate to very accurate C14th, let alone C15th kit).

We all have to go without things we would like to wear - but personally I found the dissapointment was always tempered by the interest of the facts of WHY it isn't suitable. It certainly interests the public.



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Postby craig1459 » Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:16 pm

Tuppence wrote:
Craig could you not make some plausible story about picking Sar up as a trophy wife whilst on campaign with your germanic merc friends in Italy?


AAAArrrrgggghhhhhh, nnoooooooooooo!!!!!

The age old excuse for seeing a picture that's completely irrelevant for what you're doing, and saying 'I don't care it's wrong, I want that one!'
Can I be a french princess and have a big pointy hat thing?? :lol:


I think my Irish friend is taking the mick (I've been spending too much time with God's Company of Tabor :D )


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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:35 pm

...surely only the English should be taking the Micks?



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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed Aug 02, 2006 8:24 am

A French Princess what a great idea-having met Sara I find her bold, intellegent, resourceful, determined, has she ever considered portarying Margaret of Anjoy? Then we could say the rumours about her and Salisbury were quite untrue, Prince Eduard was the result of the illicit union between her and her dashing Hussite bodyguard-or was that hairy bodygurard I can never get it right.


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Postby Nigel » Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:33 am

Given some of Marcus' previous posts I doubt it


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Postby Hecate » Thu Aug 03, 2006 12:45 am

going back to the origianal thread, the avatar i use is from 1420 Les tres belles heures du duc de berry,illumination on parchment from turin, and shows a sleeveless kirtle.

The 1485 Heures de Charles d'Angoulême by Robinet Testard picture that the bead lady has on her page, that interesting over dress couldn't be a type of apron could it? And the artist thought it would be pretty in pink?:lol:
(the link below has it in pink) :oops:

http://jrider.web.wesleyan.edu/wescours ... ulture.htm

it is a better version of it, probably more accurate colours too. It's right at the bottom of the page, so keep scrolling.



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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Thu Aug 03, 2006 10:11 am

It would be VERY unusual a shape for an apron for that period - even for specific trades. I agree in thinking it is most likely a layering with a possibly outgrown sideless gown. Sideless gowns were still in use in court at coronation for queens, let alone among older ladies. There is a will which indicates handing down an ordinary gown several times: if it was practical and it still fitted and had a use worthier than being re-cut as a more up-to-date garment, why would a country person bother to re-style it? Country people don't follow fashion as hard, even had they the menas and the news.

Modern parallel: We still don't have a lifestyle compatible with wearing monsoon chiffon and mules in daily life when out in the sticks, unless for evening wear, yet it is current smart day wear in towns and cities. It is simply not practical.



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Postby Hecate » Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:53 am

Didn't really think so just wanted to check as I'm bound to be asked at some point. Was tired last night and feeling a bit silly, brain and eyes had gone from working on the computer for too long.

Going back to what you said about handing stuff down, I've been handed down stuff from my parents for years, I've got a lovely tweed jacket (which I can't get into any more) that belonged to my Dad 40 years ago! Things like Christening gowns seem to still get handed down through families and jewellry so although it's not generally clothing (cos it's not often made to last any more) so it's not like we don't do ti any more, just slightly differently.

Do you have any references for the will, I'd love to see a copy, just to be annoying when people say things are wrong! :twisted:



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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Thu Aug 03, 2006 12:51 pm

Now this is where I fall down - I read widely but not WELL - ie I forget to take down notes.

Don't worry about 'silly' questions - often they make us return to and research things that have been taken as read and for granted and new stuff turns up.




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