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Dog-Barding-art - 6/27/15


"Dog Barding" by Fortune Stykewynd.


NOTE: See also the files: dogs-msg, dogs-lnks, medieval-dogs-art, Guinefort-art, hunting-msg, pets-msg, Horse-Barding-art, horse-barding-msg, Dog-Carts-art, Dog-Pak-Sadle-art.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



Dog Barding

by Fortune Stykewynd

Modeled by Yoko





Barding, 'horse armor', most people associate with horses are the caparisoned, ceremonial blankets, that are in many manuscripts depicting the rider's heraldry[[1]]. As such the same reason a horse was caparisoned there were rare occasions a dog was as well to show of wealth and heraldry.






The earliest evidence I could find was 14th cent. manuscript:  Isabella of Bavaria welcomed to Paris; the dog wearing a cape style boarding in pageantry of the event. [[2]]


Isabella of France welcomed to Paris.jpg





Yoko (in the very first photo) is modeling a caparison style of barding with dags. The dags allow for the barding to be longer but do not hinder movement. Below is a larger image of the cape style that appears most common in illuminations.



Battle of Najera.jpg


The barding depicted in these three illuminations are all cape like with a collar like fastening. It appears loose and flowy with no other anchoring than at the neck. The fabric is the same as that used on the caparisoned horse with the same heraldry.


            Of the historical references that can be found the cape barding is the most prevalent. It appears in an illuminated letter as well as a 15th Century manuscript border depicting the battle of Najera.




Ottoman_dogs[1] (1).JPG



The least common of evidence is a blanket style blanket in Ottoman picture illumination [[5]] and a gambeson quilted armor in a tapestry. The illumination shows blanket with no heraldic adornments and appears to be made of only a single piece of cloth.


                        The gambeson depicted in "The Hunts of Maximilian" tapestry appears quilted, most likely of heavy fabric. [[6]]


tapestry gambeson detail.jpgLeLouvre015.JPG



Uses in the SCA


Two years ago when I joined the SCA I first made Yoko's barding as a way to hide her mundane service dog vest and still blend in. As I still did not have an approved device, and still do not, I consulted with my baron and baroness for permission to embroider at least the identifiable Bjornsborg bears but not heraldically done as the baron and baroness have so it could be identified that I was from the Barony of Bjornsborg. I embroidered the words service dog because there was no identifiable image at the time. It has become a running joke that Yoko is the Bjornsborg war dog in service of the barony due to the placement of the heraldry on the barding.


I have since learned that a group has been working on making a badge for the disabled, The Companions of Aegidius (Ee-jid-ee-us), and which has not been chartered yet.  If chartered and later approved it would be a badge identifiable for service dogs across all kingdoms, or at least that is the hope, and allow for service dogs to have period garb.


But how else can it be applied in the SCA? Obviously heraldry will be the number one reason. Showing ownership of who the dog belongs to in heraldic style.


How to Measure Your Dog




How do you go about making barding for you dog? To date I have only made the caparisoned  style but this can give you an idea what kind of measurements you will need to think about should you venture on trying to make the cape, Ottoman blanket, or gambeson styles. Just like humans no two dogs are the same and especially so with the vast sizes and breeds. You will need to take that into account in order to make a comfortable barding for your dog.





All measurements are important but special attention needs to be your dog's tail, chest, leg height, and if they are male or female.






Your dog's tail is going to be very important. Because Yoko has a long tail her barding can drape over her butt and not hinder her going to the bathroom nor get the barding dirty with fecal or urine. Short tail or stub tails you can have the barding drape but you will have to be vigilant and yank it up if they have to suddenly poop.


Chest- not needed for cape style


Some dogs have a reasonably flat chest, most however bow out a ways, some like pugs it actually sinks in. This all determines long your dog's barding is from the neck down. Having it fitted to their neck and chest also helps it stay in place.


Why is male or female important?


How do they pee? Females squat, but unless your male dog pees like a horse with his legs spread out you need to take into account their pee zone. If you don't and the barding is too long you're going to have a urine soaked mess. If you want to have as long as barding as possible you're going to need to observe how high an angle does he pee as well. Dags are not recommended to use to extend the length of your male dog's barding.



If you wish to have any dags they will need to be strategically placed and not closely put together. Any dags found on horse caparisons down to scale or those used in garb down to scale. These are a few examples.





Making a Caparison Style Barding




Leg Height


Finding where your dog is least likely to trip. Most dogs is at the elbow joint.

Type of Barding:____________________________________________


*Width refer to male or female measurement









Fabric Selection


You have your measurements now you need to choose your fabric. Linen is the easiest and most durable I have found for the wear and tear a dog puts on it. However if you're making a barding to match an outfit you have made it is okay to use the same fabric, you just must take into consideration the type and your dog's needs. Overall rule of thumb, if you're going to be hot wearing that type of fabric in that weather you would be too. Chart below is just a basic idea what to think about. This chart is just about type and does not include factoring in layers or lining.



Fabric Type












Light weight for   hot weather (90+)


Middle weight for   warm to mild weather (60-80)


Heavy cool to cold   weather (40-60)*




Indoor use for   fashionable matching with owners garb or short term use, such as processions,   outside in nice weather


Cool to cold   weather for short term use or cold indoors events for fashionable matching of   owners garb


Cold weather for   all dogs except for breeds that have double layer coats; Huskies, Malamutes,   Great Pyrenees, etc.




caparison, cape,   gambeson*


caparison, capet


caparison, cape


caparison, cape,   gambeson*


*gambeson is a quilted garment meant for protection, however for thin coat dog breeds it would be an excellent coat to keep warm in severely cold weather near or below freezing mark.


You will need the length measurement and at minimum 2 times the width measurement with an inch for seam allowance.


layoutmeasurements.jpgDiagram is for the caparison style. You will need one fabric for top layer and one fabric for the lining. Best to use a lightweight linen for lining. Cut both fabric layers exactly the same.


After you have cut your fabric surge all ends if needs; linens, silks, velvets.


Heraldry, Dags, and Embellishments


You have your base and lining! Now consider are you planning on adding any heraldry, dags, fringe, or embellishments? Remember, almost anything done on horse barding can be done with this style. Yoko's barding has dags to add length and not hinder movement. If you want to add anything to the barding that goes on the top piece it must be added before the top piece and lining are sewn together but after you sew the chest. If you want to add dags you need to make the dags separately to add on later.


Fitting Pieces to Your Dog


You have your pieces cut out and are ready to fit. Helpful hint: Use large safety pins. They are quick to insert and won't stab your pooch once you've got it in place. Start at the neck and snuggly but not tightly fit to your dog working downward. When you reach bottom part of the chest mark straight down. If you continue the curve to the underside you will make it uncomfortable and restraining for the dog to move. Do this with the top piece and lining at the chest, with the right sides inside out and facing the dog. Once marked you can either stitch close to the safety pins or chalk and repin with normal pins before sewing together.






Piecing It Together -Dags


If you wanted to add dags this is the next step. If you are not adding dags skip this step. I apologize for not having photos instead of bad diagrams. Please use the margins to make any notes to help you understand.




Piecing It Together


You've fitted both pieces to your dog?

You've added dags to the lining piece, if you wanted them?

You've done any heraldry or embellishments to the top piece that you wanted?


Now you will put it all together.

1)             Pin the lining of the neck and stitch according to your seam allowance, past the dag stitching and serging threads so when turned rightside out they will be invisible.

2)             Pin the hem together, if you have dags make sure they are on the inside not laying in the way where they will get caught as you pin or sew it. Leave about an 8 inch gap at the end to be able to turn inside out.

3)             Cut curve triangles every ½ inch to inch as needed at the curve of the neck and hem but not at the gap. Sew sides together, two or three passes is recommended.




Closing the gap

You're now ready to turn your dog's barding right side out. Carefully work it so you do not tear or catch any dags, embroidery stitches, appliques, or dags on the inside. Once you have it right side out gently push along the curve on the inside to make sure it has pushed out completely, pay close attention to the curves where the cut outs were.


Now its time to sew the gap shut. You will want to do this little by little rather than pin it all and try to sew it in one go if you plan to hand stitch or tack it before machine stitching it. Carefully roll the ends inward and try to match the already closed end as close as possible. If you can pin your pins close together as possible with some overlay. When you have closed the gap start about an inch away from the gap and pins, go on your slowest setting on the machine as possible. Watch to make sure as you pull pins out the ends do not roll out or shift. This will be especially tricky if you have added dags. Once closed you're done!




End Note: If you decided to try to make the cape style a simple way to anchor the cape is to tack ties at the waist, a few inches in front of the thighs, to tie it in place along the back.




[1] Cosman,Madeleine Pelner Handbook to Life in Medieval World (Pg 275,276)

[2] 14th cent. manuscript:  Isabella of Bavaria welcomed to Paris, June 20, 1389 (miniature from the Froissart Chronicle, National Library, Paris),

[3] Smeyers, Maurits; Flemish Miniatures (Pg295)

[4] 15th cent. manuscript border depicting the Battle of Najera

[5] Ottoman picture; Codex Vindobonesis 8626, dated 1589

[6] Louvre "The Hunts of Maximilian"


Thank you for attending my 1st class!

Feedback is most welcomed and any questions you may have please contact me.


Copyright 2015 by Lori McCarthy. <yokonotono at gmail.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited. Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, please place a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

[1] Cosman,Madeleine Pelner Handbook to Life in Medieval World (Pg 275,276)

[2] 14th cent. manuscript:  Isabella of Bavaria welcomed to Paris, June 20, 1389 (miniature from the Froissart Chronicle, National Library, Paris),


[3] Smeyers, Maurits ; Flemish Miniatures (Pg295)

[4] 15th cent. manuscript border depicting the Battle of Najera

[5] Ottoman picture; Codex Vindobonesis 8626, dated 1589

[6] Louvre "The Hunts of Maximilian"

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org