I spend a good amount of time shopping online for fabrics every week, just to see what's out there- usually I just bookmark it to think about if a specific project needs certain fabric for it, but this time, I saw the fabric and had to snap it up right then. It's a red and black silk brocade from Ebay, in a small geometric floral pattern that I thought would best suit the 14th century. Once I decided on the project for it, I bought some red and black shot dupioni silk on Etsy to line the whole dress.
It wasn't until very, very recently that I realized that I liked the look of the 14th century surcotes with super long hanging sleeves. For ages I thought them impractical (that didn't change with this project, ha!), unusual, probably complicated to make, and unattractive. But when I was thinking about what style of 14th century overgown to make with the silk, I kept coming back to the floor-length sleeves and realizing, "that's what the gown needs". The surcotes with wrist-length open hanging sleeves are definitely more common, but the floor-length sleeves are still easy to find. These surcotes were worn over kirtles. Here are some historical examples of this style of surcote:
Queen's Book, fol. 128. Hippomenes and Atalante. Note her red kirtle showing at the forearms.
This one is 15th century but the style clearly lasted into that century too. Enlèvement de Dinah, la fille de Léa et de Jacob, par Sichem le Hivvite (cf. Genèse 34).
Guillaume de Digulleville, Le Pèlerinage de la Vie humaine. A red kirtle is underneath the blue brocade surcote.
I started construction with my basic body block pattern, but left a little room in the torso for wearing with a kirtle underneath. It laces up my right side with 16 spiral-laced eyelets. It has two hip gores and one front and one back gore. The sleeves had me worried that they'd be difficult to pattern, but after thinking about it (a lot), I ended up using my plain sleeve pattern that has the seam under the arm, not down the back of the arm. I cut out a portion in the front that stops at my elbow, tried on the mockup, and fiddled with how big I wanted the cut out until it looked right to me. It took only a few minutes! I had to add extra to the sleeve length to make them hit the floor- I only bought 4 yards of the silk so the sleeves are pieced near the bottom. I will definitely be using flap sleeves for other gowns in the future.