Brocade underdress – almost
Romance of Alexander has pictures of women showing off the hems of their underdresses (folio 97 verso). Judging by the image, the hems and perhaps even the sleeves of the underdresses may be made of a different fabric (perhaps brocade?) than the rest of the dress. By coincidence I had a piece of a brocade-like fabric I had found in some fabric store’s discount section many many years ago. The piece was way too small to be turned into a complete dress.
I entered the result for the A&S Tourney at the Aarnimetsä Academy in the autumn 2010.
Chaste fox-tail 1344-1346
At the 2010 Midwinter Feast (a traditional event organized by my canton of Unikankare) the A&S competition had a theme: make the most ridiculous but still period and documentable entry you can come up with. The idea came during a long ride home from the Eastern parts of the country, when 4 of us cantoners were cramped in a small car. Even though I was in charge of arranging the competition, I wanted to enter something myself too, because the theme was just too fun to pass. (Naturally I disqualified myself so no foul play there!)
I entered something I had read about years before from the Fashions in the Age of the Black Prince, something that helps us ladies protect our morality: a fox-tail belt for the purpose of hiding an arse.
Short-sleeved blue cote, mid-14th c.
I wanted to make a humble cote for a lower-class woman, and the blue coarse wool I had was perfect for it. Too bad the wool just wouldn’t behave when I wore the cote: the weave was so stretchy most of the seams are re-sewn 2 or 3 times.
With this dress I also experimented finishing the edges and seam allowances by tubular tablet-weaving. I may still have to redo the hem. Again.
The cote was made in 2007-2008 and I entered it for the Arts and Science Competition organized at the Autumn Crown Tourney in Aarnimetsä on the 17th-19th of October in 2008(?).
Checked cote, mid-14th c.
I have a soft spot for checked fabrics, so when I found the last piece of this black and brown wool from the local store, it had to come home with me, although there wasn’t quite enough of it. To make life even more interesting, I made a tiny blunder when cutting the sleeves, so I spent a few enlightening hours trying to build the new sleeves from scraps.
The accurate date for this documentation (and the cote) is somewhat hazy. Since I am wearing the armband of the baronial minister of arts and sciences in the photo (same photo is on page 3 of the documentation), it must be taken between 2003 and 2005. (I remember it being taken at Cudgel – anyone remember the year? A group photo of the different generations of baronials was taken that same evening.) Anyway, I know I made this cote after the red one below.
Red cote, mid-14th c.
I wanted to make a dress a wealthier middle-class woman would wear in France around the mid-14th c. The dress is slightly less fitting than my usual dresses were, made of lovely, thin dark red wool, and has silk and pearl embroidery. A hood made out of the same fabric and embroidered with silk is still – ehm – under construction. (Have I already mentioned how slow I can be with my projects? Especially if the particular silk I use ran out and should be ordered from a little shop 1000 km up north.)
I can’t remember which competition I entered this dress with. Counting back the years, I’d say this cote was made in 2003.
How’s the red cote doing today?
The red cote finally has embroidered sleeves! The embroideries are made with silk and fresh water pearls, much like the embroidery on the neckline. Fabric buttons were done years ago and I added some embroidery on them too. Unfortunately I had made the shanks of the buttons too thick to settle down nicely with the buttonholes, so the sleeves now have 2 metal buttons each. I need to decide whether to fix the old buttons, make new ones or just add more metal ones.
Viborg shirt, 11th c.
Master Hákon ordered the shirt from me sometime after year 2000 – I know I entered it to the kingdom A&S competition in May 2002. The original linen shirt dates from the 11th century and was found in Viborg, Denmark (surprise surprise).
Baroness Helena’s gown, late 14th-early 15th c.
I made this gown for Mistress Helena when she was the baroness of Aarnimetsä. She wore it to her last court when she stepped down in 2001. I wonder which competition I entered with this dress – the documentation is done anyway.
The dress is made after Queen Margareta’s Golden Gown, although we used wool and not silk brocade. The beautiful swan appliques are not made by yours truly.
Grey pourpoint, late 14th. c.
This woolen pourpoint for a man must have been done around the turn of the millennium but the exact year is uncertain. The pourpoint itself is no longer at my disposal, nor do I have any photos of it (how stupid of me), but I did enter it to the Kingdom A&S competition April 21 2001 in – I think – Nordmark (Sweden). The grey pourpoint was the 2nd or 3rd version of the Charles de Blois pourpoints I made in those days.
Can I be any more vague than this?