Wednesday, January 22, 2014

16th Century Flemish Country Dress

I've been looking for a new project for quite some time now and I have decided upon the 16th century Flemish country dress. It looks comfortable and I am enjoying the research. I intend to spend 2014 completing and entire outfit from the inside out; top to bottom, and enter it in my Kingdoms annual Art/Sci competition in January of 2015. Components of the outfit. The Shift The shift (sometimes called a chemise) was almost always made of linen, but could be wool or even hemp. Hemp during the 16th century was a course fabric mainly used for lining or by the very poor and not at all like the luscious hemp fabrics currently available in the market today. I plan to create an outfit that demonstrates the newly rising merchant class and the availability of finer fabrics as a cash economy begins to grow and strengthen. My shift will be made out of a hankerchief fine white linen. White was the color of choice as the job of the shift was to lie next to the skin and protect your garment from the oils and sweat of the body. It was the one piece of garment subjected to regular washing. In the paintings of the Flemish country (peasant) scenes we can see sleaves that are both full and straight. The neckline rarely shows over the kirtle and when it does it is simple and unadorned: occassionaly it is pleated. I will be keeping the neckline simple with no pleats but adding some fullness to the sleeves with a slight ruffled cuff. Ruffles on the cuffs could get in the way of a working woman so I will keep them simple and small: just enough to suggest that I do not work "too" hard. The Kirtle The next layer after the shift I will refer to the common name of Kirtle. This term has been used to describe an inner gown used as a foundation layer for a multilayered outfit in many cultures. For the Flemish country dress, like most Northern European garments of the 16th century, these form fitting bodices create a flat frond with the boussums slightly elevated. It does not look like the country dresses were boned or corsetted which makes sense if you had to work from dawn to dusk. They still need to provide the support for the desired sillouette,and since I am an ample boddied woman, I will be adding a stiff lining and a slight boning at the lacing points. This will hopefully keep the bodice from bunching up. The Kirtle was very likely composed of a wool that had been fulled. The tans and beige shown in the paintings could have been produced by undyed natural wools, but there is a richness of color also. The predominate being shades of red and orange that could have been produced by dying with madder root. Wool production was a significan industry in Flanders during the 16th century with imported English wool. While cottage industry was still the prodominate source; most production was regulated by local guilds and monestary farms and it is likely that even the poorest farmer took their wool to a guild weaver to produce their textile. Since I am planning to wear this during the balmy Trimarian summers, I will be constructing the kirtle out of a mid-weight 5 oz. linen. The bodice will lace up the sides so that I do not have to depend on a lady's made to get me in and out of my dress and the neckline is wide and square, just big enough to hide the top and side of the undershift with a full knife pleated skirt. The Gown

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008

Slight Detour

I need to take a slight detour from my AS 50 challenge to get ready for the wedding of my good friend Baron Turold and Countess Dulcia at TMT (Trimarian Memorial Tourney). I have less than 6 weeks to create 4 complete 13th century garb for the wedding. I will be managing the feast and would like to help add to their period culture. I have enough redwood linen and harvest gold to make nice matching outfits for everyone and even the perfect azure blue and gold trim.

I started with Trevor my youngest son already. I am hand sewing his Breies and should be finished with them this weekend and will be able to start on the chausses in gold and his tunic will be red. Trevor is 10 and all the portraits I have found showed youth of this time period in very large tunics for the most part. This makes sense to me because why would you put them into something that they will grow out of quickly. A wedding or a portrait would show them in there newest and best and that would obviously (to me) be recently tailored to allow years of wear. So Trevor will have a long full redwood linen tunic with golden chausses. I will only use a small amount of trim at the cuffs for his piece.

Ian, my older son is 16 and is very particular about his garb. Being a 10th century Norse lad, he isn't too fond of the idea of chausses no matter "how period" they are. So I will cut narrow trousers to go with his boots and go for the "young huntsman" look. He will have a long sleeveless surcot over a golden tunic and the pants will be blue like the trim. I will have to make sure that he has a proper hat.

Dad Lars will be quite the different story. He has opted for a very long split over tunic with long sleeves an riding splits. He found a wonderful illustration that he has used for inspiration with horizontal bands of trim equally placed from shoulder to hem. It will look very grand on the red linen with golden chausses peeking out from inside. Yup, for those who know him, my Norse Lord is actually looking forward to dressing in a later period. Who knows....we might turn him into a "Cross-Century" dresser.......nahhhhh!

An Myself? Why I will have a simple long sleeve golden cote with the azure blue trim at the cuffs and a redwood sideless surcot with matching trim. Simple and elegant with a well cut wimple an fillet.

Pretty big order for only 6 weeks! I better get cracking! I'll post pictures as I get them.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Poor Lars

Horror of Horrors!

Poor Lars! I made a mistake and put his favorite wool tunic into the dryer. Even though the wool had been preshrunk I had never allowed it to be dried on high before. I had always babied it because it was his favorite. He loves the embroidered cats on the front. Well, I'm glad we have this picture now because the tunic is ruined!

Yes, the linen facing obviously shrunk at a different rate and while the tunic will now fit my older son, the facing will have to be replaced. I am going to try to salvage the embroidery and put it on another tunic.

Wish me luck! I'll post it when it is done.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Beginning the AS 50 Challenge

I just decided to join in on the preparation for the Society's Fifty Year celebration by joining the A&S challenge.

For the next 7 years I have decided to participate in the "Persona" category of the challenge. I will be concentrating on everything 10th century and will concentrate on learning the skills and abilitiies that might come naturaly to Signy.

Signy was born and raised in Iceland the daughter of an Irish slave and a Norse father. She was acknowledged by her father at her birth and was raised on a modest Karl landholding not far from where her father kept his ships. This is how she met her husband, Lars Knarrarsmidr, a skilled craftsman and boatbuilder. With a small diary, she left Iceland with her husband and moved to the newly established settlement of Dublin. The port of Dublin was an excellent base of operations for her husband and his crew to move inland along the Irish waterway and even south to the mainland on raids and merchand endeavors. Often the line between these two activities were fuzzy.

To keep a small house at the port town, it had to be supported by a plot of farm inland with animals and crops. This ment slaves were needed to keep the farm going and freemen (Harls) were needed for skilled crafts and to watch the slaves (Thrals). The Harls were often free men who might sail with her husband or stay on the homestead with their own families.

Signy would need many skills to manage her household while her husband was away and that is the basis of my challenge. In the next 7 years, my goal is to learn domestic skills as well as advanced technical crafts. Some of my plans include but are not limited to:

  • Processing Icelandic wool. (cleaning and combing selected fleeces for various grades and usage.

  • Spinning wool utilizing a drop spindle

  • Weaving on a warp weighted loom

  • Advanced clothing design and construction

  • glass bead making

  • jewelry and adornment crafts

  • bronze casting

  • bone carving

  • wire weaving

  • shoe making

  • advanced naalbinding

  • use of adaptive head wear

  • hearth and open fire cookery

  • bakery

  • pottery

  • embroidery and embellishment

  • basketry

  • joinery and basic woodworking

I hope you will join with me on this unique and wonderful journey.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

I'm almost packed for war.

I have been sewing like crazy trying to get ready for war. I made two new cotehardies, two new "viking" outfits complete with an awesome 'Trimarian blue' wool apron, and finaly the piece de resistance.....a brand new wool Kampfrau in deep brick red with gold guards and some cutwork that reveals some lovely blue fabric. Molly is making me a new headgear and cap as well as an apron to go with it. We plan to wear it Thursday night for "Midnight Madness. It's "Shopping for 'war point' don'cha know!

I even found shoes that will pass the 10 foot rule. Not exactly perfect, but close enough that they will do without killing my feet.

So, I'm off to war in two days. I will spend most of my time retaining and cooking and doing Troll duty. Like I said.., I'm ready for war!