I was so happy when a few weeks ago, I stumbled across this image - Dispute des suppôts de Satan / Conflict between the henchmen of Satan - from the Livres de Modus et Ratio (1379) by Henri de Ferrières, (Bibliothèque nationale de France, Cote: Français 12399). The third woman from the right is wearing a dress exactly like the one I was making! She even has the same grey hood as I already had made some years ago! Sometimes it's so much fun to see how 'right' you are doing things without being aware of it :-)
This dress started nearly two years ago, when we got back from Visby. The fresh Swedish summer nights had reminded me of the comfort and warmth an extra layer would provide. When I started this dress I hoped it would be a quick project. Boy was I optimistic! Really, doing something completely by hand takes time! But is is also much more rewarding then calling in the help of mister sewing machine.
The fabric I used had been stored in the back of the cupboard for ages (think at least six years). Probably because it has a slightly unusual color. However, I think it must be close to what is called in medieval sources tanneyt, or 'tan' colored, although it may be a bit on the pale side.
Anyway, the dress needed to be roomy enough to easily fit over another dress and to be pulled over the head. I decided to not bother with buttons and buttonholes.
Many late 14th century re-enactors have an obsession with tight-fitting buttoned garments, and I can't say I'm not one of them. But sometimes one has to be strong and make something practical and loose too. There is a reason why 14th century illuminations still burst with these kind of garments, especially for the common people.
The pattern is based on Herjolfsnes nr. 42. The most amazing part is that I cut this dress out of only 2.5 m of fabric! The total skirt circumference will be 3m10. The pattern on the left measures 1.50 by 2.50 meters, which is exactly the size of the piece of fabric I had. On top you can see the sleeves, the front and back panel, on the bottom the side and front and back gores.
I barely got the dress finished for the Winterfeest, but oh was I happy to wear it in the bitter winter cold! I also got to wear the needlebound mittens I made in Visby for the first time.
Here you can see some of the details of the dress:
Detail of the sleeve gusset and stitching.
The neckline is finished on the inside with a strip of unbleached linen, and the edge is finished with a red woollen 'loopbraid'. I have used this technique before on my grey open hood as well. Click here to find out how to make these braids.
I also want to finish the wrists with red braid, and add two pocket slits to the dress as well and finish them in the same way. Since the dress itself is in such a pale color and really all the other garments from this outfit (the grey dress underneath, the dark grey hood, or my brown hood, and my brown/grey checked socks) I think it can do with a little kick of color. More on that later!
, by Isis