costuming-lnks – 8/6/04
A set of web links to information on medieval clothing by Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon.
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
From: Lis <liontamr at ptd.net>
Date: May 4, 2004 6:03:54 PM CDT
To: Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com>
Subject: Links: Costuming
Got a burning yearning to be Tudor? Perhaps you feel the need to go
Japanese? Maybe you're contemplating your annual shift to Celt for coolness?
It's that time of year (is it ever NOT that time of year?) when we are all
rushing to the sewing machine in order to have enough comfortable or stylish
garb for the High Tourney Season. Below you will find links to costuming
sites that will help you find your historical "style" and show you how to
make your own SCA and Historical clothing. Please note that this Links List
is actually organized: First section--general garb information and "fashion
shows," second section is for beginners, and third section is for those who
actually know their way around a reconstructed garment (i.e.: not me. I am
NOT a costuming Laurel, and it shows!). The third section shows
era-and-culture specific articles.
As always, please pass this list along to those who will appreciate it, and
use this list to update your own websites and lists. Remember that for the
Links shown in this list, all material shown from the site and accredited to
the site is COPYRIGHT BY THAT SITE. Please play fair and give credit where
it is due.
COMING SOON TO A WEBSITE NEAR YOU: These Links lists are soon to be indexed
at that uber-medieval website, Gode Cookery. Many thanks to my friend Master
Huen for taking on a HUGE task, and actually volunteering to do it to boot!
We'll all look forward to a publication of the Links resource page when it's
ready! Also, thanks to Pani Jadwiga of the East Kingdom for archiving all
the past Links Lists. She's a Library Goddess! Meanwhile, be sure to search
Stefan's Florilegium if there's a topic you burn to read about. Not only is
there a ton of great non-Aoife generated stuff, there is also a hefty dose
of past Links Lists to discover!
Dame Aoife Finn, OL
(m/k/a Lisbeth Herr-Gelatt)
Canton of Riverouge
Barony of the Endless Hills
FIRST SECTION: Who do you want to look like?
Analysing a Style by Rowan Perigrynne
(Site Excerpt) Within the Society, many people produce costumes which are
pretty but generically "medjeeval" rather than of a particular period and
country. My own aim is to produce work which is an accurate reproduction of
a specific time and place. This might mean copying a specific portrait
exactly (and this is a good way to start to focus on a style), but it also
means being able to analyse what makes a particular style distinctive. Once
you have achieved this, you can produce a new and original outfit, perfectly
in keeping with the originals.
Stefan's Florilegium Clothing FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
(Site Excerpt of ONE section of the message) One tactic for using scaled
patterns to construct garments is to choose
a garment in a book, make a transparency of the pattern in the book,
and go buy a pattern as similar as possible. Then project the
transparency on the wall and use it to adjust the bought pattern to the
style of the garment in the book.
Wardrobes of the Knowne World, Unlocked
(Site Excerpt) Welcome to the web page of the SCA-Garb electronic mailing
list! The purpose of this page is to create a showcase for the talented
clothiers, costumers, seamstresses and tailors of the SCA to share their
articles, class handouts, book reviews, and pictures of their work. (Ed
Note: This site is searchable, and has lists of articles, galleries, sewing
tips, humor, and merchants)
(Site Excerpt) The following is a list of some helpful guides to costuming
for the SCA. In addition to books on costuming, I recommend finding a book
of paintings or drawings made in your period of interest and seeing what
people really wore. This is easier for late period personas, of course. The
paintings will show you fashion and color choices, jewelry, hairstyles, etc.
and then a good costuming book can help with construction of actual garb.
Fashion through the Ages (A FAshion slideshow)
Online Costume Ball 2000
Note that the first image does not show on My machine (running XP PRo), but
by clicking on the square anyway, I was led to a series of photographs of
SECOND SECTION: For the seamstresses and tailor amongst us who are new to
Alterations for SCA Sewers
(Site Excerpt) The first step in fitting anything is taking proper
measurements. Not what you think your measurements are but the accurate ones
(everyone is guilty of this at some time). Elizabethan Costuming by Janet
Winter and Carolyn Savoy has a very nice measurement chart in it, but you
can find one in most good sewing books. I really can not stress how
important good measurements are to good fitting garments. To do this
properly you will need another person to take these measurements, this is
because your movements can affect them. Some of these measurements you will
need for almost all of the garments you will make, while other specialised
garments will need measurements specific to the garment.
Practical Worksheet for Tunic Construction by Cynthia Virtue aka Cynthia du
(Site Excerpt) This is a worksheet. It is easier than it may seem at first,
trust me! Please refer to my "Introduction To Garb" handout for style and
historical considerations. Step One: These are the pieces of your tunic.
Think about how they go together in this drawing of the finished tunic. A:
The body piece forms the front and back of the main part of the tunic.
C: Gores: triangular pieces of fabric that give room to move in the "skirt"
of the tunic. The more movement you want, the wider they should be at the
bottom. 11" is good for a knee-length tunic; twice that for floor length.
D: Gusset: square pieces of material that give ease at the underarm.
(NOTE: See also this author/costumer's site: Introduction to Garb: A Seminar
by Cynthia Virtue aka Cynthia du Pré Argent
"What Do I Wear?" By Gwyndlyn Caer Vyrddin
(Site Excerpt) How did you choose the style you're wearing right now?
Have you admired other people's garb, but wondered where you might ever
start finding information?
Have you started looking for costume information and been overwhelmed
wondering where to look?
Where to start looking
Around you at events
Museums (if you're lucky enough!)
Costume history books
Artwork, and art history books
Factors to be aware of
Not everyone is an expert
Artwork is a good contemporary source, but is subject to stylistic
variations -- NO one has a Romanesque body!
Creating your own tunic pattern for wear in the
Society for Creative Anachronism.
(Site Excerpt) Try to buy a fabric that is at least 54 inches wide. This
way, you don't need to add fabric to make the sleeves long enough. Narrow
fabrics require you to add a section of fabric to the end of the sleeve in
order to reach the wrist. Men may still have to add a fabric strip to the
wrist, if their arms are long. To figure the amount of fabric to buy, double
measurement #1 and add about 8 inches (to compensate for the hem and
shrinkage). Convert to the nearest quarter yard (tell the lady at the fabric
store how many inches you need and she can convert for you, if this process
is scary). Just be sure to buy a little more than you need, not a little
Extant Clothing of the Middle Ages
Assembled by by Cynthia du Pré Argent
(Site Excerpt) It is intended as a seductive resource for folks interested
in this time period to track down the few whole-garment examples we have.
(Look! See how keen these are?) In some cases, the museums currently
holding these pieces will have websites, published books or archeological
findings, collection catalogs, libraries of images that they will duplicate
for you (usually you have to be onsite to use the libraries) and so forth.
Some Clothing of the Middle Ages
Historical Clothing from Archaeological Finds Compiled by I. Marc Carlson
(Site Excerpt) This document is intended to be a cursory examination, for
people interested in historical recreation and replication, of the extant
archaeological and museum materials relating to clothing in the Middle Ages,
as I come across them. Non-archaeological materials, such as contemporary
art and statuary will also be considered, but this site is intended to focus
principally on the actual garments themselves.
Stefan's Florilegium Researching Early Period Costumes
(Site Excerpt) Researching Early Period Costume
--Nicolaa de Bracton of Leicester
Rather than give you an overview of all the minute details of costume construction and ornament over a six hundred year period, I am going to keep things simple, discussing briefly the basic principles of cut and construction in this earlier period, followed by some general observations on the joys and difficulties in researching dress in this period. Throughout all of the period from 600 to 1200 (and indeed, up to about 1350 or so), the main principle of cutting fabric was the straight line. This means simply that instead of cutting the pieces into form-fitting, curved shapes, as is generally done today, the pieces were largely (more or less) triangles, rectangles, and trapezoids. This method conserves fabric (an important factor in a day in which all fabric was hand woven and dyed) and produces a characteristic look and drape. You may still see vestiges of the era of straight line cutting in the folk dress of many Eastern European and Indian subcontinental countries.
Early Medieval Clothes Patterns
(Site Excerpt) The patterns and descriptions given here are intended for
re-enactors rather than serious academic historians. Janet Arnold has
written an excellent series of books which are based on disections of actual
historical clothing from the 16th Century onwards and which give accurate
Most of the evidence for Early Medieval clothing is in the form of fragments
of garments and illustrations in manuscripts and other historical records,
so there has to be a certain amount of guesswork involved in recreations.
THIRD SECTION: For those who know their way arounda needle and thread.
Anglo-Saxon and Viking Works of the Needle: Some Artistic Currents in
Cross-Cultural Exchange © 1992 Carolyn Priest-Dorman
(Site Excerpt) This paper contains a typology and brief discussion of some
stitches that have been discovered on extant textiles from the period
between the seventh and eleventh centuries in Anglo-Saxon, Viking, and
related cultures. Embroidery, construction stitches, style, and usage are
considered. Information is organized in a comparative framework based on
techniques, not on culture or period, in order to facilitate a practical
understanding by needleworkers. An appendix lists the cultures and sites
A Study of 12th and 13th Century Clothing...an essay from Primary Sources By
(Site Excerpt) **This is a paper I just finished about clothing of the 12th
and 13th centuries, notably the Bliaut. When I went looking for info on this
on the net, it was near impossible to find anything, so I've posted this up
on the web to help others who may be interested in this garment and this
period as a whole. I hope it is of some help to you.(To see images of the
garments discussed, please go to Historical photos.) See also: More 12th and
13th Century Clothing and Accessories.
Mistress Cori on Kirtles
Mistress Corisander Seathwaite
The first layer (optional unless doing short sleeved kirtle) is a chemise
(best seen in the Illustration of June in John, Duc du Berry's Tres Riches
Heures). This is a simple T-tunic cut dress with slight flare from the
armpit. I have never found a need to gusset armpits (I know someone will ask
that question). There is a version, seen in the Wenceslas Bible, which is
sleeveless. I would forgo this in warm climates if wearing a long-sleeved
Kirtle...Kirtle:This is the foundation garment layer. If you make this
correctly, you will not need a bra! I mean this for all body types, because
I have done it (made them) and seen it done successfully (by others)!
Calontir is chock full of ample women wearing kirtles and cotes! (This is
probably my biggest pet peeve: the people who just dismiss this patterning
and go to princess seams and a bra because they think they are "too big" to
Drafting a Houppelande Pattern
© 1999-2000 Jessica I. Clark
(Site Excerpt) There are theories and evidence for several different
approaches to drafting patterns for houppelandes. Through my own
observations of many paintings and illuminations of the time period, along
with interpretation of evidence presented in the book A History of Costume
by Carl Kohler, I have developed a pattern of predominantly triangular
shaped pattern pieces. This pattern also incorporates funnel shaped sleeves
with pleated shoulders and a convertible collar. This pattern can be
achieved through simple alterations of an existing princess line dress
Relative Frequency of Headdresses by Type Found in a Sample of Visual
Sources © 1992, graphic revised 1999, Susan Reed
(Site Excerpt) After collecting the data about hat types in visual images
and and the dates those images were produced, I created a chart showing the
distribution of the hat types by decade from 1400 to 1519. My sample
included 791 Central-European and Western-European headdresses. Looking
across the graph, you can see the distribution of headdresses during each
decade (as shown in a sample of visual sources); the percentages of the
various hats shown for the decade will add to 100 percent.
Understanding the Houpelande and Burgundian Clothing Construction (Adobe
Acrobat Reader required)
by Mistress Corisander Seathwaite
History and Technique
By Margo Anderson
(Site Excerpt) In order to understand the clothes the Elizabethans wore, you
must understand why they wore them. To do this, you need to know how their
society worked.The Elizabethan social world was based on a concept known as
The Great Chain Of Being. This was the idea that everyone had their own,
God-ordained position in society. The top of the chain was God, directly
below God was the Queen and everyone else was below her, in descending
degrees of importance. While this social order was beginning to break down,
it still held true in general. People had their rigidly ordered stations in
life, and their clothing reflected who they were.The social order is often
broken into peasants, middle class, and nobles.
Intros to Elizabethan Costume by Drea Leed
A series of links to INCREDIBLE Elizabethan resources.
17th Century Baroque Fashion, 1600-1627
An image collection, with an image search available.
The Basics of Byzantine Dress
c. 1000 A.D.
By Dawn Vukson-Van Beek (Clare de Saint Denis)
(Site Excerpt) The essential articles of Byzantine dress are simple and easy
to construct. The primary article of dress was called a tunica. The tunica
served as the basic undergarment of both men and women, or the only garment
for the working class and poor. The main over-garment worn both by men and
women is called the dalmatica. This garment began a t-tunic, but became more
tailored in eighth century. The essential line of a dalmatica is triangular,
with narrowing sleeves or flaring sleeves. Another over-garment for women
only is the stola. The stola is unchanged from Roman times.
Celtic Dress of the 16th C.
By Meistr Gwylym ab Owain, OL OP DWS
(Site Excerpt) The purpose of this document is to help you understand the
types of clothing worn by the Scots and the Irish during the 16th Century.
It is also intended to help you understand a little of the history of the
"Celts" of the Bristish Isles. To understand the British "Celts" I will give
a brief synopsis of the history of the Celtic peoples. This is not an
in-depth, how-to discussion, but an overview to get you started. There are
a number of good sources on the internet today that you may visit for
patterns and more in-depth information on how to fashion the clothing. One
url is given below that you may use as a starting point.
A brief essay on the leinte of early medieval Ireland
by Molly Kathryn McGinn (formerly Ní Dana)
(Site Excerpt) A leine (plural - leinte) is the basic unisex garment of
the insular Celts of Ireland and Scotland, worn underneath everything else.
It can be variously described as tunic-like, peplos-like, or some sort of
chemise. It does seem to have been composed of two long rectangles of
fabric attached at the shoulders either by seams or pins, with or without
sleeves, gussets or gores. Necklines could be round, square or v-shaped,
guessing from illustrations in the Book of Kells, but boat neck and
slit-front are not out of the question.
16th & 17th Century quotes
concerning Scottish Men's and Women's Attire
(Site Excerpt) -Illustrating the change from Scots wearing the "Irish dress"
to the great-kilt, or belted plaid.
Highlanders wearing "Dyed shirts" and a "light wrap of wool of different
colours." - Jean de Beaugue', 1540's.
"Several wild Scots followed them (the Scottish Army) and they were naked
except for stained shirts, and a certain light covering made of various
colours".-Monsieur Jean de Beayque, 1549.
15th Century Female Flemish Dress: A Portfolio of Images
(Site Excerpt) This site contains images of women from paintings and
sculpture of the 15th century by artists working primarily in the
northwestern part of Europe. I have also included monumental brasses, though
these are more problematic for costume study: they often do not correspond
in date to the figures they depict, and they are more likely to use
standardized artistic convention than other forms of artwork.
The Handbook of German Dress
Handbuch der Deutschen Tracht
Author: Fr. Hottenroth
Welcome to the
(Site Excerpt) This Web Site is dedicated to the history of the Landsknechte
(plural) and especialy to the clothing from their times, the time was the
high renaissance in Europe (c.e.1400-1600) A time ...
In 1991 I was first unleashed on the internet through a hard fought for text
only VMS connection at a university. Then in 1996, November 17, I got my own
Weeb connection. One of the first things I did was hit the search engines to
find all I could about the Landsknechten and the clothing from that time. I
did not find very much, and not at all what I wanted. So now I have this
Weeb Page for information about the Landsknechte and the times in which they
lived. With, of course, an emphasis on the clothing of that time. Although
my interests in clothing history extends to both male and female clothes,
this page is mostly about men's wear. However there is some stuff for the
The Sari in fashion Five Thousand Years
(Site Excerpt) Legend has it that when the beauteous Draupadi
- wife of the Pandavas -was lost to the enemy clan
in a gambling duel, the Lord Krishna promised to
protect her virtue. The lecherous victors, intent
on "bagging" their prize, caught one end of the
diaphanous material that draped her so demurely,
yet seductively. They continued to pull and
unravel, but could reach no end. Virtue triumphed
yet again in this 5,000 year old Indian epic, the
Gown Construction by Mistress Leona Khadine d'Este and Mistress Enid
As republishing in any format is forbidden, I'lljust say that this is a
great site and worth viewing.
(Site Excerpt) Early Japanese Garb
There have been no real garments found before the Asuka period (552-646 AD)
Earlier descriptions are mere guesses or interpretations from some pottery
images. Here is what is commonly believed: Jomon Period (Before 300 AD)
The images on pottery seem to indicate close fitting trousers, and short
upper garments with tubular sleeves, loosely belted with rope. These may
have had either embroidered or painted curvilinear designs, and were
possibly made of hemp. There was no distinction between male and female
Notes on Islamic Clothing This is an article from Cariadoc's Miscellany. The
Miscellany is Copyright (c) by David Friedman and Elizabeth Cook, 1988,
(Site Excerpt) One of the problems with having a Muslim persona is that it
is often difficult to get information on garb. In part this is because most
people writing in English are more interested in medieval Christians than in
medieval Muslims; costume books rarely have much that is useful for our
purpose. In part it is because Sunni Muslims regard the making of pictures
of living creatures as forbidden by religious law. Fortunately, the
injunction was not always obeyed.
Narantsetseg's Mongolian Pages
(Site Excerpt) Mongolian dress has changed little since the days of the
empire, because it is supremely well-adapted to the conditions of life on
the steppe and the daily activities of pastoral nomads. However, there have
been some changes in styles which distinguish modern Mongolian dress from
historic costume. The basic garment for both men and women is the del or
caftan. This is a long coat-like garment with a characteristic overflap in
front. Mongolian dels always close on the wearer's right, and traditionally
have five fastenings. Modern dels often have decoratively cut overflaps,
small round necklines, and sometimes "mandarin" collars. Depictions of
Mongols during the time of the empire, however, show dels with more open
necklines, no collars, and very simply cut overflaps, similar to the dels
still worn by lamas in modern Mongolia. An example of this style del is
shown below in a portrait of Khubilai Khan taken from a painting in the
National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan.
Polish costuming resource
(Site Excerpt) You have found Art and Jocelyn's online Polish costuming
resource. These pictures have been carefully selected to represent the
finest of Polish, Hungarian, Lithuanian and Cossak costumes, weaponry,
jewelry, etc. from the years 1400 to 1900. Art is a native-born Polish
historian who has enjoyed many years of notoriety as an expert in the field
of Polish living history.
Patterns and Instructions for Medieval Russian Costumes.
(Site Excerpt) The patterns and instructions on this page are based on
Russkii istoricheskii kostium dlia stseny , Isskustvo: Moscow, 1945, by N.
Giliarovskaia [Russian Historical Costume for the Stage ]. The patterns
system Giliarovskaia gives work. However, it is highly recommended to
prepare a mock-up of the garment from cheap fabric such as muslin before
cutting the actual fabric intended for that garment.
Spain, the Early Years:
Costume of the Visigoths, Mozarabes, and the Northern Christian Kingdoms
by Maddalena Jessamyn di Piemonte Originally printed in Seams Like Old
Times, Issue #18
(Site Excerpt) Early Spanish costume has not been widely explored; the
casual browser will find little mention of this period in general sources on
costume, and little iconographic evidence in general, or even somewhat
specific art sources. What few reference works we have are in Spanish, and
to find pictorial representations often requires a major library. The
search, however, is worth the trouble, for what emerges is a body of unique
garments, largely unknown and usually quite foreign to the traditions of the
rest of Western Europe.
Bibliography of Sources for the Construction of Viking Garments
© 1993, 1997, 2000 Carolyn Priest-Dorman
MOAS Atlantia Costuning Resources