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WOLF ZERKOWSKI / ROLF FUHRMANN

MEDIEVAL C LOT H I N GBASIC GARMENTS FOR WOMEN

AKE YOUR OWN

l

MEDIEVAL C LOT H I N GBASIC GARMENTSFOR

AKE YOUR OWN

WOMEN

Wolf Zerkowski/Rolf Fuhrmann Make Your Own Medieval Clothing Basic Garments for Women Original edition 2004 Rofur5 Verlag Original title Kleidung des Mittelalters selbst anfertigen Grundausstattung fr die Frau

1st Edition 2008

Copyright 2007 Zauberfeder GmbH, Braunschweig (Brunswick), Germany Text: Wolf Zerkowski Illustrations: Rolf Fuhrmann Braiding & tablet weaving: Rolf Fuhrmann Translation: Tanja Petry Copy editor: Shaunessy Ashdown Editor: Miriam Buchmann-Alisch Art editor: Christian Schmal Production: Tara Tobias Moritzen Printing: AJS, Kaiiadorys

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

Printed in Lithuania ISBN 978-3-938922-15-6 www.zauberfeder-verlag.de

Publishers note:This book has been compiled carefully. However, no responsibility is taken for the correctness of this information. The authors and the publishing company as well as their representatives can assume no liability for potential damages to persons or property, or for nancial losses.

Wolf Zerkowski/Rolf Fuhrmann

Make Your Own Medieval Clothing Basic Garments for Women

Zauberfeder Verlag, Braunschweig, Germany

CON TE N T

CONTENTPreface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Panels Noblewoman with falcon . . . . Soldiers wife. . . . . . . . . . . Noblewoman wearing a surcoat. Old woman . . . . . . . . . . . Peasant woman . . . . . . . . . Girl carrying wood . . . . . . . Boy herding geese . . . . . . . . Woman with basket . . . . . . . Girl with baby . . . . . . . . . . Nun of the Cistercian order . . . House maid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 6 8 8 10 10 10 12 12 14 14

Background information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Working techniques On fabrics . . . . . . On colours . . . . . . Seaming techniques . Stitching techniques . Headdresses . . . Barbette . . . . . Veil/chin cloth . . Headscarf . . . . Undergarment . . Plain dress . . . . Bliaud . . . . . . Herjolfsnes dress Surcoat. . . . . . Cloak/coat . . . . Hood . . . . . . . Cloth buttons . . Stockings . . . . Shoes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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17 17 19 21 24 26 27 28 29 30 32 36 39 40 41 42 43 46

Fingerloop braiding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Tablet weaving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Alms purse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

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P RE F ACE

PREFACE

W

hat did the clothes of medieval women look like? What did children wear? And how can someone interested in the Middle Ages sew such clothes himself? This book, with its richly illustrated and easily comprehensible instructions, presents typical womens and childrens clothing of the Middle Ages as well as corresponding sewing techniques. The author, Wolf Zerkowski, has been re-enacting medieval history, with a special focus on clothes, for many years. According to his strict specications, Rolf Fuhrmann has created coloured drawings of medieval characters as well as graphics for the instructions in this book. However, to describe the whole range of womens clothing during the Middle Ages would be an almost impossible task. A short undergarment could, for example, have been worn by a peasant woman of the 13th century as well as by a noblewoman of the 14th or 15th century. Dresses were usually oor- or ankle-length, though there were exceptions, as there were with hoods. For example, certain people wore hoods with long liripipes even when short liripipes were fashionable. Apart from some pieces or combinations of clothing worn by almost all classes from 1200 to 1500, there

were regional differences and various specications for certain social groups or members of certain classes or professions. The examples in this book are limited to standard clothing, which could have been worn with few changes during the whole era of the High and Late Middle Ages, that is, from about 1200 to 1500, by women of poor and simple station as well as women of the gentry. For further sewing projects or for specic differences that have to be taken into account for regional portrayals, the reader would have to resort to further reading. This book, revised for the reprint, primarily contains instructions for interested hobbyists. The basic garments described can be remade with relatively little effort in terms of time, money or technical skill. We recommend buying fabrics at sales, or else ordering from a wholesaler; leather scraps are available at leather shops. Also, try to avoid synthetic fibres or cotton, and you will get an acceptable garment fit for any kind of medieval event! For those with deeper interest in medieval reenactment, the appendix offers a list of further reading, recommendable organisations as well as sources for material and accessories of any kind.

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NOBLEWOMAN WITH FALCON

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ictured is a 12th century noblewoman wearing a dress called a bliaud. Even a noblewoman was controlled by her husband, and was watched and spied upon by relatives, servants and other courtiers during his absence. The pressure put upon noblewomen to bear children particularly male successors was especially high. From the 12th century onwards the number of children born to noble families increased, on average about eight to ten children per wife! However, due to the increasing help with parenting and child care by wet nurses, mothers were at least partially relieved of their duties, and were able to relax, for example at a falconry.

The bliaud is a typical dress style of the 12th century. In Germany this piece was also called blat. Originally the name derives from a special fabric woven with golden thread which was used to make these dresses. However, in time the name was used for this cut in general, regardless of fabric. The bliaud, like the surcoat, is worn over a shift and was the nobilitys garment from about 1150 to 1200. Afterwards, it was seldom pictured in medieval paintings or sculptures, but instead also as a dress for common women. During the 13th century this garment went completely out of fashion and was replaced by the surcoat. Above the veil and barbette a golden circlet is worn.

SOLDIERS WIFE

W

omen played a central role among the camps of medieval armies. Most were members of the lower classes, whose former lives in poverty and dependency as servants, wet nurses or ladys maids had become so exhausting to them that a life as wife or companion of a soldier seemed a last resort. On their shoulders they carried the complete, if humble, belongings of a soldiers family. They gave birth to children, most of which did not survive the ordeals of the campaigns. But it was also the women that supported soldiers while looting. As pay was often enough not to be taken for granted, loot was a necessity to secure the existence of the soldiers families. It was a fight for survival rather than an inherent criminal tendency that prompted soldiers to steal.

Many soldiers lost their wives during a campaign. One reason was because they had to bear children under disastrous hygienic circumstances. And whereas men could quite simply just start a new relationship, the loss of a guardian, be it because of death or arrest, was a substantial threat to a woman. In the case of those women who were already older, had several children to care for or had not taken any material advantage of their previous relationship something that was usually only possible for married couples they were in danger of sinking into the socially stigmatised group of unprotected women. Casual labour, begging or prostitution thus became their fate. Gathering the dress, or parts of it, under the belt was a handy way of wearing it, and can often be seen in medieval paintings. A straw hat was worn above the headscarf if necessary.

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NOBLEWOMAN WEARING A SURCOAT

F

rom the 13th to the 15th century noble women, and later also commoners, liked wearing outer garments with so-called gates of hell. They were sleeveless surcoats with low-cut armholes. Th

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