Monday 5 September 2011

Our Late 14th Century Outfits

I’m working on a post of our last event, and am hoping to borrow a picture or two from some of the other members of the group. In the meanwhile, here’s a description of mine and Tobias’ outfits, all of it hand sewn. Peter, one of the group members, said we looked the part of a lesser bugher couple, which I guess has some truth to it. Tobias is wearing his blue, front laced cotehardie, green hose and a grey bag hat. I’m wearing my yellow kirtle, and over that the reddish maroon, short sleeved dress I've been working on lately, also front laced. I’m wearing a wimple and a veil as well.

The lacing on Tobias’ wool cotehardie. There are 50 eyelets, and the cord is made from finger looped wool yarn.

Eight cloth buttons on each sleeve, and buttonholes. I had some help in making the buttons from Mikael, at the event in Varberg two months ago, as I was running out of time, and he had nothing to do at the moment. Let’s just say his buttons are much nicer than mine…

The lacing on my over kirtle. It has 42 eyelets on it. Since making the cord for Tobias’ cotehardie, I learned how to make lucet cords, and this is what I use to lace my kirtle, again made from wool yarn. Tobias thought it was fun to take the picture at this angle, as it showed of the baby bump...

I was thinking long and hard on what kind of sleeves I wanted on this dress. One part of me wanted full length sleeves, but wasn’t sure how that’d look worn over the buttons on my yellow kirtle. When I looked at pictures, shorter sleeves usually had some sort of tippets on them, and that’s just not very practical for a soldiers wife working around camp. I’d seen a lot of reenactors with short sleeved kirtles worn over full length sleeves of the kirtle beneath, but you can’t use other interpreters as source material. When asking for advice, Maria pointed out that there are examples of shorter sleeves without tippets in the Herjolfsnes finds. Yes of course... I knew that. Finally some proof – I went for that.

A while back I wrote about us ordering new shoes for both of us, and pins for me, and this was our first time using our new purchases. I used my pins to secure the wimple and veil – I don’t have any proof for this, but I secured the wimple to my dress as well, to keep it in place.

Wimples are far from mandatory on married women in the late 14th century, but you can still see them on some married and widowed women of all ages even in the 15th, so I consider it safe to use. I think it looks nice, and I also find it strangely comfortable (especially on a cold, windy day...). Not that I don’t think it a relief to take it all of after an event, but in this setting, I like it.


  1. I love the photos! You both look wonderful and the detail shots are so pretty, and show off the construction so nicely. I love the color you chose for your overgown. It is lovely with the kirtle beneath and I took like the short sleeves. How many gores/gussets do you have in the skirt? i love the fullness of it and how it drapes, so very pretty.

  2. I love your over gown its so beautiful! You both look fantastic... :)

  3. Lovely photos. You have made a perfect work with the clothes.


  4. Your outfits are beautiful! And I agree, it's strangely comfortable to wear wimples... And pretty too!

  5. Very nice work! I particularly enjoy how clean your sewing is- especially the eyelets. I'm jealous!

  6. Thank you all so very much!

    Sarah Jane - I have one gore each set in at the back, the sides and the front (the front one though is made from two halves - makes it easier to make the lacing go further down the torso than the gore, as in this picture of the yellow kirtle: ).

  7. Wonderful work! I really like the first picture!

  8. Wow, Sarah! They both look wonderful! What a talented seamstress you are. :-)


    P.S.-- Congratulations on your new little one!

  9. Haha Thanks Sarah, but honestly I can't tell my buttons apart from yours... :) Great outfits btw, bith of you

  10. What fabulous outfits. The work is so beautiful, as all the colours.

    And congratulations on your upcoming little one!

  11. Those buttons! I love your costumes. I've never done medieval, but I think I may have to start...


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