Medieval Clothing

When I joined the SCA I was intrigued by the costuming, so much so that I went to Design school and became a professional couturier, or seamstress. I learned many things at school that were helpful to my modern and my medieval sewing, chiefly fitting and sewing techniques. But modern pattern making is frequently incompatible with medieval clothes and I had to learn new things in order to successfully make historical clothes.

The Greenland gowns had always intrigued me, showing up in so many historical costuming textbooks. After taking an inspirational class at Pennsic I started to work in earnest to use this method to make a gothic fitted dress. A few years, and many stitches later I came to Pennsic to teach Cotehardies from Greenland Gowns.

From there it seemed a logical next step to look at the next 'big thing' in fourteenth century fashion, the Houpelande. My modern pattern making background informed some of my attempts to make these garments, but reading about garment number 63 in the Greenland find and Cynthia Virtue's circle plan method expanded my horizons..

While working on these garments I learned quite a bit about the way garments were sewn and the fabrics they were made from. I put a lot of that information into an accompanying article, 14th Century Sewing and Textile Information. I also taught a class around the same time that was called Fabrics 101 which was accompanied by a package of 4x6 samples of the fabrics discussed so that students could take them on shopping trips. Please note that the fabric prices noted in this document have likely increased since the time of writing (about 2003).

More recently my local groups have been participating in some local medieval festivals presenting "Medieval Daily Life" circa 1340 or so. To that end I prepared some information on Early 14th Century Working Class Clothing for the use of our members.

I have always thought that the total look of an outfit was important, so I prepared a class on appropriate Head Coverings. For many classes of men at this time, that would have included Hoods (goes to that page} so I taught a class on how to make them and sold patterns which you can find in the same section.

Hoods were the ideal vehicle to teach about how to sew a Pointed Insert -- my school's term for the point at the top of a gore, most commonly found in the front of your T-Tunic or the neckline of your hood. I hope you find this technique helpful.

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