Wednesday, March 30, 2016

14th Century Blue Cotehardie and Gold Kirtle

 Here's a lengthy post full of pictures of my new blue silk cotehardie worn over a gold silk kirtle. I started working on it about ten days ago, and about half of the days were spent letting the hems hang- the whole outfit took only a few days.

First up is the gold kirtle. It's made from a buttery, smooth dupioni silk, fully lined in white cotton. The pattern is my body block, with two rectangles in front and two in back, with four gores- one on each side, one front, one back. This makes for a decently full hem.  The sleeves have five small gold metal buttons at the cuff, and like they did occasionally back then, they must be buttoned to fit. The kirtle laces at the right side with ten eyelets, ladder laced.

The kirtle was made to be worn primarily under a "gown" layer- a surcote, cotehardie, or sideless surcote. I have a few over layers in the planning stage for SCA 50 Year and other events, so I got to work to get this one done so I can make the stuff to go over it.

This kirtle can be worn on its own, however, with some accessories, if it's hot out but you still want to look dressed-up. If I wear it alone, I can put on my black leather belt (with gold mounts, strap end, and buckle), black and gold pouch, and my black velvet fillet. A veil would be appropriate as well. The belt was assembled by me with some assistance from my friend Paul (great way to introduce a person to the SCA- hand them some pliers!): we put the buckle, strap end, and 14 mounts on the leather, which I thought I would always be too lazy to do and just buy a pre-made belt. I would make more in a heartbeat! It wasn't difficult at all.

 And now for the cotehardie. This one is made of a rather stiff, dark slate blue silk dupioni. It is unlined because I wanted to be able to wear it on hot days over the kirtle and not be too warm, and the silk is a bit more thick than I have often found- it holds its shape very well. The pattern is identical to the gold kirtle, but opens in the front and has short sleeves using the same pattern as my long sleeves. The buttons are gold metal to match the kirtle buttons.

 The cotehardie can be worn "dressed down", as shown here with the black leather belt, fillet, and a fine linen D-shaped veil. It's still quite fancy, and I rather love the black accents with the blue, likely due to the fact that the blue silk is slate blue shot with black.

 Gotta do the effigy pose to best show off your sleeve buttons!
 I look a smidge smug here which I why I have to force myself to show teeth when I smile! It's a good view of the fit.
 Now if I want to dress it up and make it as fancy as I can, I wear my gold plaque belt, add a gold and enamel pin (both from Raymond's Quiet Press), and a coronet over a silk veil. The coronet I'm wearing here has been graciously loaned to me by Her Excellency Katya until I have a custom one made.
 Back view- the back gores on the cotehardie and the kirtle are pieced down the center, a very historical choice. It takes an extra minute to line up the extra seam but it's worth it! Also, I'm happy to see the short sleeve back seam line up exactly with the long sleeve seam.
 Some "historical-fies", as I call them!

 Here is a closer view of my hairstyle. I start with two pigtail braids behind the ears, loop them in front of the ears over the temples, and pin them at the crown, where they overlap a bit, and I tuck the tails under the opposite braid. I'm still working on improving my hairstyles, and this one can be done quickly. It is a style often seen in period paintings.
 Here's a detail shot while the outfit was in progress.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

14th Century Plaid Cotehardie, Kirtle, and Hood

This was a fun project! I wanted some more layers for my new 14th century persona, and of course that had to include the ubiquitous cotehardie. Before I delve into the details of the layers in the pictures below, let me talk about what each of them are called, and how I personally define them.

Cotehardie: to me, this is one particular kind of overdress seen in the 14th and early 15th centuries. It has short sleeves and buttons to close the front opening (buttons can go to the waist or the floor). It is always worn over another layer, namely the kirtle. A cotehardie is not a kirtle or a surcote. A kirtle is the layer over the underwear, and a surcote rarely has bicep-length sleeves (usually the sleeves are wrist length, fore-arm length, elbow length with integrated tippets, or sleeveless). The term "cotehardie" does not cover all dresses of the 14th century. See La Cotte Simple and her incredible research for more information.
 Daughter of Elizabeth Montacute, 1354, wears a blue cotehardie over a green or mustard kirtle, with gold buttons and white fitchets (pocket slits).
A very fancy cotehardie painted by Jourdain de Blaye, shown over a white kirtle, and she's wearing a hood with the collar turned down.


Kirtle: typically bust supportive, can lace up in the front (most common), sides, or perhaps the back, with hand-done eyelets. No grommets, my friends! No pictures because simple kirtles are everywhere. See past posts of mine for more info about kirtles.

Hood: these can be as short as your shoulders or as long as your waist. The most common style for women is worn open but I use hoods for warmth, so I prefer the styles with buttons to close them. Ladies hoods could have a pointed top (like I chose this time), or a liripipe (shown below).
Frauengugel, 1340s. Pink hood with buttons over a blue kirtle or surcote.

Now onto what I made. The kirtle is a turquoise linen, unlined, so it can be worn on the hottest of days. It has 26 spiral-laced eyelets up the front. The pattern consists of two rectangles in back and in front, with four gores (front, back, sides), and is based off my body block. The shaping is done on the sides and back, as I like to leave the front edges on the straight. The front edges with the eyelets have a strip of matching linen inside to reinforce the eyelets. 

The cotehardie is made from a plaid cotton flannel that looks rather wooly, even up close. This fabric is much heavier than typical cotton flannel that you see used to make pajamas and shirts. The cotton is very warm and surprisingly, water beads right off when you spill on it. I now have this fabric in 4 colors because I love it so much, and it's great for a breathable but warm layer. An excellent, inexpensive substitute for wool. The front edges have teal linen strips on the inside to make the buttonholes stronger. The buttons are metal, from Etsy. The pattern is my body block with integrated side gores and one back gore. I cut slits at the front hips and hand-sewed them open to make fitchets. It's fun to put your hands in and keep them warm!

The hood is pink wool lined in pink linen. It is obviously based on the above painting. It has six buttons made of faux mother-of-pearl I had in my stash. I chose the white buttons so that I can wear the hood with garments that have silver or gold buttons. I admit to having issues with this hood, and it was my first. Turns out my shoulders are too wide for the pattern in The Medieval Tailor's Assistant, so I had to make wider godets. It's also big in the neck, so I have plans to re-do the pattern for future hoods.