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Getting Medieval

Another Diary! I sorta started this diary on the R/F Forum before deciding to spin it off to this page. The entire thread can be found here and a couple of entries here.

April 8, 2007

I have a few little projects that I hope to finish up this week, then I will begin.

I will be cutting the cotehardie first and I will be using Butterick 4827 for that. I will be putting buttons and buttonholes or button loops up past the elbow of the sleeves of the cotehardie. And I am still debating between front or back lacing.

The neckline of the sideless surcoat will be cut to match that of the cotehardie and I will be fully lining the sideless surcoat to make it reversible. MG gave me the idea for the reversible sideless surcoat.

All layers will be linen. I have several possibilities for color schemes in my stash. I need to go through the stash and lay out the possibilities on the bed in the spare bedroom.

April 9, 2007


April 14, 2007

Color choices for the sideless surcoat:
That is pretty cut and dried. I am using some of the fabric I had earmarked for the Flemish gown remake. I figure the navy is easy enough to replace and I have enough of the coral/rust to make the sideless surcoat of the Burda pattern AND do trim and sleeves on the Flemish gown.

6 yds - 45 inches wide   6 yds - 60 inches wide

I was bemoaning the fact that I have no suitable trim for the sideless surcoat but most of the examples I found online have no trim.

Color choices for the cotehardie:
This is also earmarked for the Flemish gown remake.

10 yds - 60 inches wide (Gee, do you think I have enough?)

But I was leaning along the lines of some cotton/linen blend that is about the color of this.

5.8 yds - 45 inches wide

I also have some yellow linen in my stash.

7.4 yds - 45 inches wide

This is what I do when I should be sewing!

April 16, 2007

I have 4 patterns sitting around me that I am examining for ideas.

The first is McCalls 3653 - major fabric hog with princess seams. However, the sideless surcoat is lined to below the hip. The instructions for turning are useful for making a reversible sideless surcoat.

The second is Butterick 4827. I know I said I was going to use this for the cotehardie, but I am having second thoughts. The sleeve is a thoroughly modern cut and I have come across another sleeve that I like much better, which I will get to in a bit. I still like the neckline and the slight train and I am thinking how I might incorporate both into my final choice.

Simplicity 8725. Another major fabric hog even worse than McCalls 3653 and the cut of the skirt is all wrong. I have always wondered how long it took them to arrange all that fabric in attractive folds around the models' feet to take the pictures on the envelope. It certainly wouldn't look that pretty once someone tried to actually move it it. But the problem with the pattern is all below the hips. Above the hips it is similar to the Burda pattern except the neckline looks like it wants to fall off the shoulder because it is so wide. It is the sleeve of this pattern that really gets me excited. It is an amazingly period cut, complete with an integral underarm gusset. The seam for the placket is in the right place so I can do all those buttons up past the elbow. AND the measurement of the armcye is the same as the armcye of the sleeve in the Burda pattern, so the sleeves should be interchangable.

Last, but not least is the Burda 7977 pattern. This is definitely the pattern I will be using for the sideless surcoat but I might use the cotehardie also. I keep looking at the curved front seam method of fitting a cotehardie on the Cotte Simple website and I think this pattern would be a good starting point for that fitting method.

So, I have been fusing various pattern pieces to Pellon 911 interfacing because I can't use a tissue pattern anymore without fusing it. Especially the Butterick - the tissue is so thin. I ran out of Pellon and I still have three of the four main pieces of the Butterick to fuse. My Joann flyer came today - kinda late since the period covered by the flyer started on Sunday. So, I will use my coupon tomorrow and buy some more Pellon 911.

After I get all the pattern pieces fused, then I will start working on alterations.

April 16, 2007

I fused the pieces just as they came out of the pattern envelope. Well, I DID iron them first to get out the wrinkles.

I never cut my Margo's patterns and just trace off the right size on Tru-Grid. That Simplicity pattern is discontinued, so I would not cut that one either. (The part above the hips is a separate pattern piece from the skirt section and meant to be joined to the skirt piece - how convenient for me because I don't want anything to do with the skirt.)

But I am thinking of cutting the Burda and the Butterick. I can always buy another. I will cut along the lengthen lines to lengthen where I need to and then use some of that paper surgical tape I told you about to tape a section of Tru-Grid in the gap.

That Butterick pattern is really built on a traditional sloper. I am going to take a measurement from shoulder point to shoulder point and compare that to Margo's size chart to get an idea of what size to cut for the shoulders. All major pattern companies use almost the same slopers, so the right size to cut in one pattern company will be the same for all the others. Then I will adjust for bust, waist and hips differences from that point.

April 23, 2007

I am thinking of going down a size from what my measurements and the size chart say just to reduce the amount of ease. Either that or I will make a center front seam and take 1/2 inch off of the both front and back center seam - maybe even shape that center front seam a little bit. The women's basic body block in The Medieval Tailor's Assistant has 4 cm of ease added to the bust and 8 cm of ease added to the waist. All of the close fitting garments are based on this basic body block.

Those cats! I was fusing my pattern pieces on one end of the ironing board while Ren Ren was sprawling on the other end. I had to close the door on the bedroom while I doing things on the cutting table to keep Ren Ren out. (Verrry sharp brand new blade in the rotary cutter.) And when the other bedroom door was open, with all my fabric choices laying all over the bed, she was in there sprawling over all the fabric, leaving gray fuzz everywhere. But I love her even when she is bad.

April 28, 2007

This is a useful site.

April 28, 2007

A period sleeve, circa mid 14th century, in a commercial pattern.

The sleeve pattern is from the discontinued Simplicity 8725.

April 29, 2007

Are you wondering what makes the above sleeve more period as opposed to a modern sleeve?

If you continue the lines of the main part of the sleeve up to the armcye, it creates two little triangles. I call them "ears." If you were to cut the ears off of the rest of the sleeve and sew them together, they would form a diamond shape. This is a gusset and, because it is actually part of the sleeve, in this example, it is an integrated gusset.

Originally people used a variety of different shapes of rectangles and squares sewn together to create their clothing. To provide room to move in these garments, they used gussets.

In the first half of the 14th century, people were trying to figure out the whole concept of fitting a 2 dimensional fabric to a 3 dimensional body. When they were finally able to achieve this goal, they were able to create the tightly fitted and bust supportive cotehardies which occured in the later half of the century.

One of the things that was sigificant in this change was the way shaped sleeves were set in to a curved armcye.

The above sleeve represents a transitional style. It has a shallow cap to the sleeve which is meant to be set into the curved armcye of the cotehardie, however, because the cap curve is shallow and the sleeve is close fitting, in order to provide the necessary ease, the gusset is still retained but integrated into the sleeve.

It just amazed me to find this in a big 3 pattern. The designer, Martha McCain, must really taken a good look at garment construction in the 14th century when she did these sleeves. But why didn't she apply 14th century garment construction techniques to the way the skirts of the gown were constructed? The Burda pattern is much better in that regard.

May 1, 2007

I haven't cut a thing.

My patterns have multiplied. I enlarged the one in The Medieval Tailor's Assistant. I also ordered the one from Period Patterns.

I plan on cutting a hip length toile in of the above two to try out the fit, in addition to Simplicity 8725.

I still intend to use the sleeve from Simplicity 8725.

As I told MG, I was lazy and ordered a smock, women's braies and coif/turban from Historic Enterprises.

I am on the cusp between sizes, so I ordered the smaller size in the smock, in the hope of having it be more snug and providing some bust support. The smock is made of medium weight linen. After a quick try on, I promptly washed it. I am happy to report that it does exactly as intended. The neckline is really quite wide but due to the snugness of the upper torso, it stays put nicely.

The time has come and I can't procrastinate any more...
It is time to cut some muslin.

May 5, 2007

Ok, after much fussing with patterns and bits of muslin, who am I trying to kid?
Lady Margaret is going to get nekkid and I am draping the basic shape on her.

May 7, 2007

I didn't sew at all this weekend.
I did help Ladiedragon with her chemise. (And bled on it. See the Sewing Karma thread.)
I did remodel my webpage. Once I start messing with that, I get really obsessed. I gotta do whatever while I can still remember how.

After your post, MG, I am also reconsidering the reversible surcoat. Last year, it was freaking hot that first weekend at WIRF. The less layers the better.

May 29, 2007

The First Cotehardie.

Pattern: Burda 7977.

Size: 14

Fabric: peach cotton/linen.

Interfacing: Form-Flex woven cotton fusible in white.


I went down a size from what I would ordinarily cut in order to make the cotehardie closer fitting. I pretty much followed the pattern, except for the sleeves. See the first picture below for the sleeve pattern and the second picture for the sleeves after I modified the pattern.

Burda 7977 Sleeve pattern and facing.   Sleeve pattern and facing after modifications.

Since Sergio, my serger, was in the shop for repairs, I used French seams as much as possible and the overcast stitch on my Brother that resembles a serged edge for everything else. The sewing machine is not as fast as the serger when it does its thing and the overcasting part took an incredibly long time. It was sooo boring. Sergio has spoiled me.

The Brother made up for it by making quick work of the eyelets. All 56 of them. There are 28 on the back of the cotehardie and 14 on each sleeve. I might go over them by hand at some point in the future, but for now, machine stitched eyelets will do nicely. I found some pretty double faced satin ribbon at Joanns to lace up the back. See the pretty lacing?

I noticed that the pattern instructions made no mention of understitching the facing. Nor was there any mention of doing a gathering stitch to help ease the sleeve cap into the armcye. Not that much easing was needed. I guess the pattern company assumes people know enough to do that. Still, I thought it should have been mentioned as a reminder.

After lacing up the cotehardie, I could still fit it over my head, so it is not a close fitting as I wanted it to be. *sigh* I also don't care too much for the drop of the shoulder seam at the armcye. But, looking at the picture on the pattern envelope, I was warned, so I have no right to complain - right? I might fix that later. I still have enough material left to cut another set of sleeves, which I would have to do if I cut the fall of the sleeve head at the shoulder point. Or I could do some kind of gusset to fill in the gap. Hmmm... I must make up my mind. I want to wear this on the weekend of June 23-24 and the weekend of June 9-10, I will be attending the Old World Renaissance Festival in Twig, MN, so I must finish the cotehardie this coming weekend.

The First Sideless Surcoat.

Pattern: Burda 7977.

Size: 16

Fabric: coral/rust cross-dyed linen.

Interfacing: none.


This sideless surcoat was also made pretty much like the pattern, except I cut some bias of the same fabric and used a bias facing on the neckline and armholes. No problemo!

June 3, 2007

First pics of the finished cotehardie. Click on the thumbnail for a larger image.

Front of cotehardie.   Back of cotehardie showing lacings.

June 22, 2007

Since Sergio works so well now, I decided to experiment with rolled hems on some veiling. Sergio does totally awesome rolled hems. I made a rectangular veil 31 inches by 54 inches, a circular veil 40 inches in diameter, and a wimple 15 and 1/2 inches by 28 inches. I used the last of my 3.5 oz hanky linen to do the veils, so I need to order more for some planned chemises and shirts.

Pictures of the finished sideless surcote with the cotehardie and some playing with veils. As usual, click on the thumbnail for a larger image.

Front of sideless surcoat and cotehardie.   Side view.   Back view. Doesn't the drape of the circular veil look pretty?

MG is right, this is not the most flattering of styles on a more mature figure. I think I could impove the look a bit if I could just figure out how to make the fitted cotehardie but I would need someone experienced in fitting cotehardies to help fit me. So, I will cheat and make a sideless surcote with more coverage for the next sideless surcoat. Here are some other styles of sideless surcoats that I am considering. The images are from The Medieval Tailor's Assistant.

        I have already done one like the second image above, so I am only thinking about the first image.

One more style of headdress to make before I leave for WIRF...

July 3, 2007

Ya, so I didn't get the headdress done for WIRF. This is what I was working on.

  It is from McCalls 4806. I cut mine an inch shorter and didn't do the closed top. My intention is to cover it with some of the same linen as the sideless surcote. For the barbette, I used the Burda pattern and some scraps of my 3.5 oz hanky linen..

And now that I am looking forward to Bristol, I have lost interest in Medieval stuff. I did buy some more linen for a another try at the cotehardie.

This is the latest purchase, which arrived today.

8 yds - 60 inches wide


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