bliauts-msg - 2/8/01
Comments about the bliaut. 12th Century clothing.
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.
This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.
Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).
Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 19:58:38 -0600
From: Sheron Buchele/Curtis Rowland <foxryde at verinet.com>
To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: trim on a bliaut
Gentle good Greetings Unto the List from Baroness Leonora, returned from a
long and unsought absence!
The question on the table being:
At 12:25 PM 9/25/98 -0700, Slaine wrote:
>So having suggested tablet woven trim for Celtic and
>Viking garb, does anyone know if it would be
>appropriate for a bliaut? You know, that sort of
>dress that laces up the sides.
First of all, I need to state that any discussion of the bliaut is a
religious discussion -- by this I mean that it is based on belief and
faith. You may look at all the paintings and sculptures of people (men and
women) dressed in bliauts and you contruct your belief. But all that it
is, is belief. There are no examples of bliauts in existance. (Now why
couldn't a nice little 12th C person from Provence wear a lovely little
bliaut up to Ireland and fall into one of their darn bogs and get preserved
for all time.....)
My persona is 12th century Provence, so the bliaut is what I would be
wearing -- were I fashionable. I have indeed spent a lot of time looking
at pictures of paintings, drawings, scupture, and even spent a rapturous
afternoon circling a plaster repro of one of the Chartre scuptures and
indeed I have created my beliefs about bliauts. I believe that I know how
they were constructed and how they were decorated.
Leonora's beliefs about the bliaut:
1. It is a variant of a tee tunic. Longer waist area (about 1-1/2 times
from under the bodice to the hip bone. It is not pieced and there is no
over bodice or girdle. Just wrinkles from the lacing and the long waist area.
2. It was laced up the sides which can either touch or gap.
3. Patterned under tunics with tight somewhat overly long sleeves which
also wrinkled at the wrist were occationally worn which show in the gaps
and on the arm.
4. The sleeve is not pieced, not a circle, and not an angel wing. Well,
it may be pieced because of fabric width but the basic sleeve shape is a
curve that runs from the armpit to just past the elbow. It then drops
pendant to the floor when your arm is dropped or mid calf when your arms
are at your waist. The bottom of the sleeve is a flat scoop of 4" to 6".
The sleeve lining was often different material and decorative. Sleeves are
often knotted to keep them clear of the floor - also a great weapon. ;-)
This is clear as mud but I am doing the best that I can. Sleeves are
sometimes decorated at the bicep - where the piecing of the sleeve (if any)
should occur but never along the opening of the bell. (I think that if it
looks like there is trim along the opening of the bell it is actually the
decorative lining folded over and showing over the sleeve. That is
frequently what I do as the sleeves can be very cumbersome.)
5. The bliaut had many different neck treatments, but all basically were a
turned out facing. This was often a different color or embroidered. The
embroidery seems to be fairly simple and architectural - as opposed to
floral and viney.
6. The bliaut was almost always worn with a mantle. This looks to be a
half circle of cloth with a straight edge. Along this straight edge was
heavy embroidery or trim. The mantle was worn over the shoulders and
fastened with some sort of cord and button affair just below the collar bones.
7. The correct belt is wrapped around once under the waist and around to
tie in front, low over the pubic area. It is often a knotted silk belt.
8. I believe that the bliaut skirt should be full circle or gored to make
one. It is a dress of exageration. It is a transitional construction
method which rejected the simple lines of the past and looked forward to
the more complex contructions of the future.
9. I believe that it takes about 8 to 10 yards of material to make a good
>I have several yards of green silk that I intend to make
>into a bliaut (sp?) I'm trying to distract myself from
>the pain of cutting it by worrying about the trim.
I hope this helped to distract you. I understand your pain. I had 10
yards of black cotton velveteen that I was to make a dress for the first
time I was fought for in Crown. I pulled that heavy wad of cloth out
umpteen times before I finally just cut it. It worked out wonderfully and
I am sure yours will also.
Again, please take this a discussion of faith. I do strongly disagree with
my learned collegues who wrote on the bliaut construction in the TI Winter
1993 Issue 109 but there is much good information in the article.
I would love to hear of how your faith works and why a bliaut for your
green silk -- but it sounds lovely!
Yours in service,
Baroness Leonora, O.P.
Barony of Unser Hafen, Outlands