Thursday, April 13, 2017

Early 15th century French headdress

Detail of Lancelot-Graal. 2° « L'Enserrement de Merlin folio 229v
In France during the first Quarter of the 15th century a horned veil was a popular headdress for those in the gentry or middle class. Briefly the Nobles wore this, but by 1410/15 it was mostly a middle class fashion, although there appear to be a few exceptions.

Grande Bible historiale complétée. Auteur : Maître du livre d’heures de Johannette Ravenelle. Enlumineur Date d'édition : 1395-1401 Type : manuscrit Langue :  Latin
Grande Bible historiale complétée.
Auteur : Maître du livre d’heures de Johannette Ravenelle.
Enlumineur Date d'édition : 1395-1401 folio 539r
Grande Bible historiale complétée.
Auteur : Maître du livre d’heures de Johannette Ravenelle. 
Enlumineur Date d'édition : 1395-1401 folio 16v
The first example of this style of headgear I have found has been in the Grande Bible historiale complétée dated to 1395-1401. There are also early examples in the De Claris mulieribus dated 1403. In both of these manuscripts the ladies wearing this style of headdress are also wearing the fur lined, high collared, houppelandes of the upper class.

Giovanni Boccaccio, De Claris mulieribus; Paris Bibliothèque nationale de France MSS Français 598; French; 1403, 148r.
Giovanni Boccaccio, De Claris mulieribus;
Paris Bibliothèque nationale de France MSS Français 598;
 French; 1403, 148r. 
Some of the earliest examples of this headdress have hair clearly visible. It seams to be buned up on either side of the head above the temples. This seems to be a continuation of the young French women to wear dressed braids of the previous century. There is also mention of  wired cones called templettes in the research done by Katrina Wood (see the Kat's hats link below) which are very prevalent around 1415 and beyond.

By the second decade of the 15th century the horns had become very prominent, and the veils larger with more extravagant pinning styles that can be seen in the later works of Christine de Pisan, and the Tres riches heures du Duc de Berry manuscript.
Harley 4431 fol 58v detail (Woman before a man). Paris, France 1410-1414.
Harley 4431 fol 58v detail (Woman before a man).
Paris, France 1410-1414.
Harley 4431 fol 265 detail (Lady praying before the Virgin). Paris, France 1410-1414.
Harley 4431 fol 265 detail (Lady praying before the Virgin).
 Paris, France 1410-1414 

les tres riches heure du duc de berry avril - Google zoeken
Les Tres Riches Heure du Duc de Berry- April

1410 - The Book of the Queen -  by Master of the Cite Des Dames christine de pizan
1420 - The Book of the Queen -
by Master of the Cite Des Dames
Christine de Pizan
By the 1420's The veil has been Almost completely replaced by a rolled hat, (which has been popular alongside this style) which morphs into a butterfly hennin in the 1430's.

Here is a link to some written sources  of this style compiled By Rosalie on her Medieval Women website.

Here is an example of this style of head dress  by Edyth of the completely dressed Anachronist.

Here is some more info From Kat's Hats. She indicates this style at it's peak (1410-1440 in England) was called the Attor de Gibet.

I wanted to recreate the earlier style of this headdress, the points are modest, and the hair isn't completely covered with a heavy wired cages. Now I do not have the length or thickness of my own hair to pull this off with just buns, So came up with a creative solution to help achieve a period look for my persona. It is a mix of wired pieces and hair styling. I can in no way confirm that what I did is the way it was done in period.

I made 2 primitive cages, one side slightly shorter than the other.
Wire work is NOT my strong suit!

Covered them both with some light weight linen!

After some experimentation and jokes about horns and cat ears
I found where I needed them on my head and sewed them to an old veil strap in a head band style.

See funny cat ears? The strap is pinned at the back of my head.

I wrapped my braided hair around the base of the horn,
and used modern bobbies to secure it.
The hair wrapped around the base of the horns made it so the veil strap didn't move!
A bonus for my slippery hair.
Added my Veil, the size shape of the veil isn't quite right.
Most veils in the art appear to be square.
This one is an oval that is folded in half.
Need to play around with some more pins I think!
So Re-try. Moved the veil strap closer to my hair line,
and skipped wrapping my hair around the base.
Then I took a couple extra pins and pinned the sides of the veil to the strap.
I am liking this better- the strap slides less, my bangs are less fiddly, and I have peripheral vision!
Veil is still to big though to achieve the correct look, but this is better.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Wow! It's been a year!

So it's been a year to the day since my last post...

It's been a whirlwind, and unfortunately not in a particularly good way.

My last post was done when I was the last leg of medical leave for a compression fracture in my spine due to a car accident. That post was me getting together the items done previous to the accident and posting them. Going back to work 50 hours while still forced to wear a brace, and not being able to get a full nights rest was difficult. Needless to say I pretty did much nothing for the next 3 months, other than basic survival and work.

I also have Chronic medical conditions. The car accident has intensified my pain and chronic symptoms, to the point of my previous management of diet and exercise no longer kept my pain in check. So I have been on the rounds going on and off meds to see what is helpful, and so far have not been able to find a solution. The Hubby and son have taken over most household/homestead chores. I am at the point where I had to ask for accommodations at work per the ADA, I was given a new position, that is really just busy work, but really the only reason I haven't been fired due to missed work is because of FMLA.

There are a bright spots- My son was skipped ahead to 9th grade math, 4 years ahead of his age peers. He has become a band geek, which he thoroughly enjoys. I've had to watch what I eat extremely carefully, and although not really fun, I have lost 15lbs. An old family friend was struggling, and now her 15 month older daughter, (who is our god daughter) is staying with us on a permanent basis. So now the house if filled with toddler giggles, cuddles, messes and tantrums, but it makes my heart happy to see her doing well, and to watch my son play with the baby "sister" I wasn't able to have. We did get baby chicks this spring since I missed their antics and the fresh eggs. We had several lambs this spring, and will have a freezer full this spring. Plus I did total out the old crappy car, and was able to get an affordable, but gas efficient vehicle that was only 1 year old.

But I am hanging in there, and still researching and creating bits of garb, but not to the degree I was capable of before. Most of what I have done has been simple items for the hubby and son. Which I have not had the energy to bother documenting.

Unfortunately the tent I had made and was so proud of has been retired. The low quaility canvas was the right weight, but had larger threads in a looser weave. Even after sewn it continued to stretch unevenly, and after 4 years of mild use, the strain made it leak like a sieve. Plus I no longer could be helpful with the setup. After looking into the cost of replacing the roof canvas it was decided to go a different route and now have a bell tent (soulpad style), which I can set up by myself if needed.  I want to paint it to give it more of a medieval feel.

I have been slowly working on a detailed evolution of the fitted style of the 14th and 15th century, plus big from the skin out project. Of which I have so far have completed a hand sewn under-dress and have and almost finished kirtle, (buttons and button holes) which will be the subjects of my next few posts.

Peace and love!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Drafting sleeves OH MY! Part 2- Angel sleeves 1 (pic heavy)

I've been meaning to get this post up for quite awhile. As I was drafting my fitted sleeves of a previous post I also decided to experiment with angel wing sleeves for a garment I plan to make in the future. I want to try getting the same kind of drape as shown in the above image. Also see Here. Again my sewing room is a very creative mess in the photos, and some photos are fuzzy.

I started with the sleeve pattern previously drafted, and placed it diagonal on some muslin for a mock up.  I used the two square edges to make sure I would achieve the 45 degree angle seen in the artwork. I then sewed the two short ends together

The following pictures are how the sleeve acted and drape when based onto the unfinished kirtle.

Drape with arm hanging even though the sleeve seam is set to the back, the point is drifting to my side.
closer drape

Arm extended. Some pulling towards the back seam.

Pulling toward the back seam more noticeable

Bent Arm, shows some drapiness

Another bent arm view, point shifted back.
Can see quite a few drape lines here.
So the bias cut sleeve has a few problems- the most notable was the tendency of the sleeve to pull towards the back seam, Which is not shown in the artwork. Also the point of the sleeve was closer to my side than behind the back of my arm. It has some drapiness, but not the amount I wanted to achieve, this may be because of the choice of muslin, where as the image I want to achieve is most likely fine weight wool or silk.

So I tired again, this time with the sleeve cut on the grain.

Sleeve pattern on grain

cut out on grain mock up

Arm Hanging- point is at the back, but the soft flowing drape is gone.

Less pulling- point stays toward the back.
Stiff- no drape
Poke your eye out stiff. hurmmm

So the on Grain Sleeve was a bigger bust. The point of the sleeve stayed more towards the back, and there was less pulling, however, all he the soft drape I was looking for disappeared. This look was however on similar angel wing surcotes, but not what I was going for.

I do like the bias sleeve much more, and would do if I was in a hurry, but I think what I need to do is move the seam placement to the underside of the arm, and shift the point more in back, but still keeping on the bias. Will need to do more mock ups in the future.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Of Thread and Laces- and my story

No one taught me how to sew. I am self taught, and still learning a lot!

When I was a kid I experimented with crudely hand sewing some lacy curtains into a princess dress, which then proceeded to fray and fall apart, lasting only a few days. I was disappointed, but loved doing it. I would experiment with random things- gloves, embroidery, etc- but never really finished any projects, we couldn't afford fabric, patterns, or any other tools, nor had I any guidance, so things never worked out. My aunt had a sewing machine that had sat unused, that I was forbidden to touch, that she really didn't know how to use either.

First completed sewing projects
It wasn't until I was out of high school that I was able to purchase my own thrift store fabrics, and a mini clearance sewing machine. Still patterns I liked were too expensive- So I taught my self how to sew with pictures and unscaled internet patterns. I learned about seam allowances by having the first baby quilt I attempted fray apart on me. My first big project I decided to take on was sewing my wedding dress, a simple "medievaliod" 2 layer gown, and cloaks, sans patterns, for my now husband and myself 11 years ago. By then the internet was a thing we could afford and I could find tips and clues. After many drapes and fittings the items didn't turn out half bad. Turns out I have a intuitive nature when it comes to sewing.

Fast forward a few years, and several "historical" Halloween type costumes later. I met my good friend Kim at a local pagan gathering. I had taught her kids to make dandelion crowns, and me and her chatted. A couple days latter I discovered that I had shingles and was contagious- so contacted her to inform her her kids had been exposed. And we had hit it off- we both made homemade wine, loved to garden, were hippyish and interested in fiber/sewing. One summer I had a plot in her community garden, and practically lived at her farm that summer. She was the one who introduced me into the SCA. And so my addiction love of history and sewing has been enabled  nurtured, despite the mundane's attempts of resistance!!!

So on to Thread and Laces

One thing that took me awhile to figure out are the differences between all the threads- and what application to use for them. In all honestly I am still in the dark about some of it. For the longest time I would just grab whatever thread was handy (or affordable) in a color that was similar to my project without regard to type.

One thing that is occasional mentioned is the use of linen thread with linen fabric. I have yet to find a source of linen thread that is affordable for me. So what alternatives can be used with natural fabrics?

Red thread - stitches show when stretched
First off  Shiny thread is a big NO- see the red thread in the top picture. It is a poly thread. It is even, shiny and strong. It has a very smooth texture, and very little stretch. The problem with this thread is because it has no stretch, but is very strong, it has a tendency to pull the threads in the fabric- if it is under a lot of tension it will break the fabric threads.

Red thread- just a little tension tore the fabric
It is also slippery. It doesn't grip. This means 2 things- one if a stitch does break, the seam will unravel quite a bit. Also it will be harder to get the right tension on the fabric when hand sewing. It will have a tendency to pucker the fabric when trying pulling the thread.

Blue thread- Barely Shows when Stretched
The Blue Thread is also a poly thread, Toldi-lock Gutermann thread, it comes in large cones, (technically serger thread), and is inexpensive. I use this all the time. It has a sheen, but the thread itself is not so shiny, but is a bit thinner. It has a softer feel to it, some texture. It stretches a bit, but can break a bit easier than the super shiny poly.

The stretch this fabric has means that it stretches with the natural fabrics when under tension. The texture also means that it grabs the fabric. You can make tight stitches and the fabric wont gather and pucker behind it. This also means that when a stitch breaks, the seam unravels less.

Blue Thread -Can you find the stitch holes?
There are some draw backs to this thread- it has a tendency to tangle on itself when hand sewing. Also seems to leave a bit of lint in the sewing machine- which means brushing it out more often.

One trick I have learned- if you are machine sewing on something you know will be torn off (mock up sleeve for example), use the strong shiny thread as a bobbin thread, and the serger thread for the top stitching. When removing the item use a seam ripper to get the first few stitches, or backstitches, then pull the fabrics apart. The strong thread easily breaks the serger thread, with little damage to the fabric. Use caution with narrow seam allowances or extremely frayed edges.

The same principle with lacing for closing up a garment. The shinier and smoother the lace, the more it will slip and pucker. You want something with a bit of stretch and texture.

In the top picture, the string on the bottom is a big no-no. It is polyester, slippery, and no stretch. It will cause the fabric to gap and pucker, and slide all over.

The Black lace has texture, a bit of stretch, and is good for some applications. It can slide a bit, so garments may pucker over the course of the day as the lace adjusts. This is more of an issue with something that has uneven tension, such as an open V front. I use this on kirtles that just skim the body, not actually shaping.

The top white lace is a cotton cording, it has the roughest texture, with a bit of stretch, and easily stays where you put it. This lace is great for items where the tension will vary. I used this lace on my undergarments, It can be very tight under the bust, but not so tight on the bust itself. Takes more time and patience to adjust.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Supportive Medieval Under dresses

 What follows are some 14th to 15th Century images of fitted sleeveless under dresses. Also some links to great blog posts and articles that helped me find other info and sources. Dates and sources of these images can be found on the pinterest link below.

This and this are great posts on Medieval Silkwork that are some of the most in depth articles I have seen.

By My Measure also has this article about the breast mounds and cleavage visible in art. And her own example.

This web site has the most in depth images of Austrian Tyrol finds.- It is in German I believe- but the pictures speak for them selves.

This pinterest board of mine has some of the artwork in this post, along with others recreations and research. Check it out.

After all the info I have gathered I decided to make my own supportive garment. My biggest reason is because my weight can fluctuate massively from one day to the next. So I can make my other kirtles and surcotes more skimming and still have them fit on my bad days, without them gaping.

I decided to base mine off of the top image and the statue to the left.

The fabric I used was med/light weight of a Linen/Rayon blend, but otherwise hand sewn including lots of eyelets.

Here you can see the spiral lacing. I had to modify it after I had made it, because the fabric was too high into the arm pit and was chafing badly. So I lost the top couple of eyelets. Hence the unused eyelet near the top to create the spiral lacing. I only laced it on one side.

This is THE MOST COMFORTABLE thing to wear! I am a B cup, with a fairly high bust to start with, so I just need gentle shaping. But this could easily be supportive for a larger bust.

The front seam is curved, without any breast bags, or cups. The bodice was cut strait for about 9" under the bust line,  which has been folded up to create three layered band of about three inches long,  leaving only a single layer on over the bust. If you are bustier or want a warmer garment I would recommend more than one layer. As is this will be great at keeping my bust cool!

The lacing strips are 4 layers thick with eyelets every 3/4" Above the band the lacing can be let out or tightened depending on the look required for the garment, and the fluctuating size of my bust. The lacing at the band is kept tighter, so the garment doesn't shift.

The skirt is pleated and sewn onto the bottom of the band. The skirt keeps the band from flipping or bunching when doing actual things.