Aicelina de Carcassona's Journal|
[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 15 most recent journal entries recorded in
Aicelina de Carcassona's LiveJournal:
|Friday, February 22nd, 2002|
|Linen diary, part one
This is part one of what ought to be a series of entries about the properties of the linen I ordered from http://www.fabrics-store.com
This first piece of linen was the 3.5 oz weight, also known as handkerchief weight, in "bleached" -- see it here
. As an initial note, I ordered 1 yard of this 59" wide material -- what I actually got was 55" long at one selvage, 59" long at the other (somewhat crooked cut, obviously). Each of the nominally 1-yard pieces I ordered was cut very generously like this -- the shortest was 49". This linen is not quite a "true" white (I expect the "optic white" is), and it was initially very
stiff for the weight of the fabric. Even after several washings, it's still sort of stiffish, and I suspect that there's some sort of sizing that's still not completely washed out, because after washing there was much more stiffness in the frayed strings at the edges, which is a place where sizing might collect, and also after washing in a few places there were some patches of what felt like starch collected, that could just be pulled right off. My heavier fabrics don't have this sizing (or whatever it is) and are much softer to begin with.
Before the first wash, I ironed it and measured it, and marked a 12"x12" square with small stitches at the four corners of the square, so I could determine shrinkage uninfluenced by fraying. I washed it each time on hot wash (about 110 degrees), cold rinse, cotton cycle with extra-long wash portion, using Fresh Start detergent (what I use for all laundry). Here are my shrinkage results:
| ||Overall width||Overall length||Square width||Square length|
|Prewash||59"||55" to 59"||12"||12"|
|1st wash||58"||52" to 57"||11-3/4"||11-1/2"|
|2nd wash||57-1/2"||50" to 54"||No change||11-1/4"|
|3rd wash||No change||49" to 52"||No change||No change|
Note that there was a lot more change in the overall length -- a lot of this was due to fraying, of which there was a fair amount. A little bit of fraycheck on the cut edges would probably be a good idea. Overall, I lost very little to shrinkage, less than 5%, in marked contrast to the muslin where I lost over 10%. Also, the shrinkage was basically all done by the second wash, and the third wash saw virtually no change, except for a little more edge fraying, so I feel very good about the stability I can anticipate from finished garments.
|Friday, February 15th, 2002|
|Period depictions of nursing
"romansmomma" on the SCA-Garb mailing list
provided an Excel file today in which she listed a number of period depictions of nursing. It's available here
, but you need to be a member of the list to access it.
I found it more useful to have the list as a list of links, and so I converted it to html; you can find the converted list here
, if the site isn't complaining about the level of data transfer at the moment. My list is sorted roughly by dates (roughly because dates are given as ranges in many instances), but aside from sorting and converting, all the real
work was done by romansmomma.
|Thursday, February 14th, 2002|
|Breast-bindings: wearability testing
At a full-day event this weekend, I wore my original-model breast bindings again, this time over
rather than under my chemise. See here for pictures
, if you like. And the verdict is -- YES!
This configuration was extremely wearable. You can see from the pictures how securely things were flattened down; I'm a 32DD, so there's a lot
of compression happening. I could feel the constriction, but I don't think it was any worse than some of the sturdier modern undergarments, such as really stout sports bras or long-line strapless underwires, and I think it was significantly better than things like Victorian corsets, which also restrict expansion of the diaphragm as well as the upper ribcage. I was fairly active, with a lot of chasing small children around, and I never felt like it was interfering with my breathing in the slightest. The level of support was great
, as I was able to run without jiggling, which is something I usually don't achieve even with sports bras. There was no slippage or shifting; the fabric-to-fabric friction from putting it over the chemise instead of under solved that issue completely.
I think I will still try the two variations that I've planned: (1) a slightly shorter, slightly wider version of this wrapped style; and (2) a rectangular single-wrap version which ties in the center front, either with self-ties or attached ties, either criss-crossed or straight-across. However, if I don't get around to those for a while, this current version is perfectly
fine for getting by with.
|Fixed, I hope
Okay, I have switched all the links that used to point to somewhere in Yahoo!Briefcase, so they now point to a Geocities page. I hope
that this will fix the problems people have had accessing those links; if you still have difficulties, please leave me another comment.
Links to pictures of my garb and my son's garb, taken this Saturday.My chemise
, in front and back views (sorry, I don't know why these two shots are so blurry)Breast bindings over the chemise
, with front and side viewsThe full dress, and a detail of the sleeve
, which isn't right and needs further workInspiration
: a funerary statue from l'Eglise Saint-Jean de Joigny, c. 1215, and a redrawing of itMy son in his garb, with and without semi-circular cloak
, which for some reason compels a superhero pose
|Wednesday, February 6th, 2002|
|Breast bindings again
Oh, I've just remembered another argument in favor of having some sort of breast support, instead of just letting things all hang out, that doesn't depend on modern sensibilities. For some women, at least, the breasts _must_ receive some support during late pregnancy and nursing, or they will leak copiously. When I was pregnant with my son, my breasts began leaking in my fifth month at any time when they were unsupported. And not just a little bit, either -- when this first started, I woke up with the upper part of my bed absolutely soaked, as I was in the habit of sleeping bra-less. Just a little bit of light support, provided by a soft sleep-bra, fixed this issue, but going completely supportless was totally out of the question. I don't think every woman has this issue, especially not as early in pregnancy as I encountered it, but plenty do, especially once they're actually nursing, and it's not the sort of thing you can just get over by getting used to going bra-less, as you might
be able to get used to the feel of having your breasts bounce around while doing active work.
willing to grant that medieval people, faced with an obvious problem like this, couldn't come up with an obvious solution, so they must have had some method for dealing with it. Breast bindings of some type are an obvious answer, and as my research thus far has shown, a practical one.
Okay, it's yet another data dump. Below the cut-away are the relevant portions of the text of some posts I've made to the 75 Years group on Yahoo!Groups, which I'm putting as part of my goal of getting all my info in one spot. If you want to read the actual posts, go here
, but I believe it's a members-only archive so you'll have to join. If you just want the relevant text, click the link below.( Read more...Collapse )
Here's a pointer to some lectures I delivered to the garb list this week, on the topic of breast bindings in 13th century clothing: here
I talk about what I've done to date, and my next planned modifications, and here
I talk about another different method I'm eventually going to try. You'll need to be a member of the list to see them, as the archives are members-only; however, if I get enough demand, I might copy the contents into this post instead, so let me know if you'd like to see that.
|Thursday, January 31st, 2002|
|Tuesday, January 29th, 2002|
I've updated the entry below regarding the chemise; I've added links to sketches of various concepts and of my pattern, and I've also updated the text and added more explanations in some areas, so you may want to read it again. Note that the pattern incorporates some of the changes I mentioned that I wanted to make, like clipping the last two inches off the sleeve, and making the big gores 9" wide instead of 10" wide, as I didn't see any point in making a sketch and then also a corrected sketch.
I've tried out my potential solution to the armhole issue, and it works well. Therefore, my method for doing French-seamed armholes is thus:
- Do the French seam on the bottom of the sleeve first.
- Turn the sleeve inside out, and put it inside the body, which should be right side out; this gets the wrong sides together at the seam line, which is what you need.
- Pin the armhole seam, being sure to pin the sleeve seam so that it's in line with the armhole, not running down the side seam.
- Sew the first seam for the armhole.
- Pin and sew the first seam for the side of the body.
- Clip seam allowances and turn the seams for both the armhole seam and the body side seam; you'll now have the sleeve right side out and the body inside out.
- Sew the second seam for the armhole.
- Sew the second seam for the side of the body.
I've also been working on the cuff issue. I've decided that just stopping the seam isn't satisfactory, as it tends to leave some small raw edges that don't get caught. However, tapering the seam allowance off to nothing at the points where the cuff hem is turned back avoids that, and alleviates the gathering issue somewhat. It's an improvement, though not perfect. I'll need to think about it some more, experiment a little, and see if I can't find something that works better.
|Wednesday, January 23rd, 2002|
Okay, I have finally completed my first 13th-century chemise. This one is made of muslin and essentially served as a pattern piece for working out the pattern I'm going to use for the linen versions, but it looks nice so I'll probably go ahead and wear it to events in cool weather, then maybe donate it to the local Gold Key when I get a surplus of linen ones made.Basis:
My chemise is based very loosely off an undertunic which purportedly belonged to Louis IX of France (Saint Louis) and is now kept as a relic in the Cathedral of Notre Dame. It's of roughly the same type as the tunics worn by men in the various manuscript pictures I've posted and/or linked to elsewhere in this journal, so I won't repeat those. Here is a picture of the extant garment:
There is a reconstruction of this tunic on the Reconstructing History
garb site. There are some flaws in that reconstruction, in my opinion.
- First, there is apparently a binding of some sort around the neck, which is left out in the reconstruction; this binding is mentioned second-hand in this article by Nicolaa de Bracton (search for "bias" to find it) and shown in the drawing but not the pattern on Marc Carlson's site -- I need to get a copy of Burnham to see exactly briewhat she said about it. I think this binding is necessary, especially if one uses the theoretical pattern layout from Burnham; the triangular neckline otherwise creates weak points at the corners, which isn't sensible for an undertunic. I'm inclined to think this binding is straight-cut, not bias-cut, based on assertions in this article on the Renaissance Tailor site; I agree with the general assertions that bias tape is wasteful of fabric and that straight-cut tape is easy to sew by hand, having put some on the neckline of my son's tunic.
- Second, the sewing order suggested might work if you're just sewing plain seams, but does not work at all if you're doing French seams; you have to sew the sleeve seams, then sew the armhole and side seams as one step.
- Also, if you are doing French seams, it is much easier to sew the sides of the two gores and then sew the gores together in the middle, rather than sewing them together as recommended.
More on these points in the construction section below.Pattern development:
Now, my chemise is based on this extant garment, but only loosely, because a woman's ankle-length chemise is a signficantly different garment from a man's knee-length shirt, in several respects.
- First, using the triangles left over from cutting the sleeves as gores works quite well for the shirt; when you set the bottoms even with the hem, they start at roughly the waist, and give the wearer ample room for walking. However, if you do the same with an ankle-length garment, they only come up to the knees and you get a silhouette like the modern mermaid dress -- not what we're after. Obviously, you need longer gores.
- In addition to being longer, the gores need to be wider. Again, fairly obvious, as soon as you realize that the distance between the feet is greater than the distance between the knees at full stride, so you need a wider hem at ankle length than you need at knee length.
Now, I got this far before I started laying out my pattern, and in addition to cutting the triangles off the sleeves, which I wasn't sure if I'd use or not, I also cut some long triangles, about the length from my waist to the floor, and about twice as wide as the smaller ones. However, when I pinned the pieces together, I realized:
- While a straight-from-the-shoulders cut works for a reasonably athletic man, whose shoulders are wider than his waist and hips, it doesn't work well for a woman; if you cut the garment so it fits reasonably through the shoulders and upper torso, it clings too closely around the hips, while if you cut it for the hips, it's too big in the shoulders -- you need the hips bigger than the shoulders. See here for a conceptual drawing of this problem. (I'll also note here that a rectangular tunic which fits a woman through the bust will fall slightly off the shoulders at the shoulder seams; set-in sleeves avoid this, but to the best of my knowledge they hadn't been invented yet in my time period of 1245.) One way to get the hips roomier is to start the gores higher, just under the breasts. I'll explain how I did this, below.
This is not a generic pattern, but a pattern for me
, so it starts with my measurements. I'm about 5'6" and wear size 6 (American sizes) clothing as a general rule. I took the following measurements:
- back (across the shoulders, with shoulders flexed forward) = 18",
- bust = 38",
- hips = 38" (egads, I've just posted the size of my hips in a semi-public forum),
- arm length (point of shoulder to wrist bone) = 24",
- wrist circumference (actually over the folded-in hand) = 7.5",
- shoulders-to-floor (in back, which is longer) = 56", and
- hips-to-floor = 36".
As you can see, the limiting measurement is the one for my bust and hips, which happen to be the same; half of that is 19", and adding 1/2" seam allowance on both sides gives me 20". That's enough to fit my shoulders with some ease, so I decided to make my front and back panels 20" wide. Then, I got clever and decided to split the front panel into two, each 10" wide, as that fit my fabric better; this was a minor error, as I added a seam and therefore should have added 1/2" to each piece for seam allowance, but fortunately I measured true instead of pulling the tape taut, so I got away with it. Also, I decided that since I'm going to use breast bindings, which give a flatter-chested silhouette than modern undergarments, it's fine if the bust is a little tighter than a modern garment would be. I made the panels 60" long, which gave me plenty of extra for hemming in addition to the seam allowance at the shoulders. The sleeves were 20" wide at the top, tapering to 9", and were 24" long; these figures included seam and cuff allowances (you get some extra length in the sleeves because they don't start at the point of the shoulder, where I measured from), and left triangles that were 5.5" wide and 24" long. Then, I cut gores that were 36" long and 10" wide, because that width fit well with the rest of my cutting patterns and made an easy layout. I pinned it all together and tried it on.
This is where I discovered the third difference between a man's shirt and a woman's chemise, as noted above. The chemise went on okay, but it clung instead of flowing down over my hips like it needed to. The fit was good through the shoulders and chest, though, so I didn't want to add any width there; what I needed to do was taper out from the bust, where it fit, to the hips, where it didn't. And of course, the obvious way to taper is with a gore, so what I really needed was for them to start at the bust instead of starting at the waist or hips. So, that's what I did. I moved the big gores up to the bust, cut the tops off the small gores, used those to extend the line of the gores, and cut rectangles to fill in the middle. See a sketch of the layout.
This worked just great. It would also have worked to put the small gores on top, then the longer gores, and fill in the middle of the dress with a single rectangle (see a sketch of the alternate layout
), but this way the horizontal seams are below my knees and unobtrusive, so I think it's preferable.See my pattern here.
Once again, this is my
pattern, not a generic pattern, so unless your measurements match mine, adjust before cutting.Assembly:
I put together the entire gown with French seams, so all the edges are finished. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, for a French seam you sew the seam with the wrong sides together, then press the right sides together along the seamline, and sew another seam, so the raw edges are completely encased; see this article
, which also covers flat-felled seams, another period finish. The necessary folding can sometimes be complicated, so the order you sew things in is important. Here's how I put it together; each seam was sewn both times before I went on to another, unless otherwise noted.
- I sewed the sleeves. I did the underarm seams, then went ahead and did the cuffs just because it's easier to do those when you haven't got the whole garment to manipulate out of your way.
- I put the gores together. I sewed the smaller triangles to the rectangles, then sewed the resulting trapezoid to the bottom of the big triangles.
- I attached the gores to the front panel, where the gore went on a seam. I sewed each gore to the appropriate front panel, finishing the French seam, and tapering it down to almost nothing at the top; then, I sewed the seam between the gores and the seam between the remainder of the two top panels as if that were one long seam.
- I attached the gores to the back panel, where the gores went into a slit. I clipped the tip off the gore a couple of inches down, just outside where the seam allowances overlapped, and cut the slit to end about 1/2" below that point. I sewed the outside edges to the slit first, then sewed the seam between the two gores, adjusting the amount of seam allowance so the edges met perfectly at the top of the slit without puckering. The top of a gore set into a slit is a natural weak point, so I cut two small triangular patches, turned the edges under, and sewed them on the inside and outside over the tip to reinforce the area.
- I attached the shoulders and finished the neckline. I wanted a vee-neck, similar to the one seen on Bathsheba in the Maciejowski Bible, which was easy to do given the front seam, so I just clipped and turned under those edges and the back edge. Because the corners are on seams, not just the corners of a hole in the cloth, they're not necessarily weak points, but I'm not all that happy with them and might go ahead and add the binding here as well.
- I attached the sleeves and sewed the side seams. I turned the sleeves inside out and pinned them into place at the shoulder, pointing in to the gown, as that's the way you get wrong sides together for that seam. I then pinned the side seams as well. On each side, I sewed the first seam, first around the armhole and then down the side, and then turned it inside out, pressed it, and sewed the second seam first around the armhole and then down the side. This left a completely clean finish on the outside, and just one little bump on the inside, where the sleeve seam goes over the armhole seam and is caught by the side seam; I could clip the sleeve seam, but I think it's cleaner if it's caught, and this bump is very small and not uncomfortable.
- I hemmed the bottom of the chemise. One important thing I learned here to do is to clip the seam allowances where they're going to be caught in the hem anyway, to avoid having a large bump in the hem.
There are a few things I anticipate changing on future iterations:
- I will make the sleeves a couple of inches shorter than the 24"; that's a little long because the shoulder seams don't rest at my shoulders, but rather a couple of inches lower. I will probably actually do this by cutting them to 24" long and 8" wide, as that leaves the gores at a neat 4:1 ratio (24" x 6"), then cut back the outer 2" at the cuff.
- I will not seam the outer 1" of the sleeve, so that when the cuff is folded over, it doesn't have to be gathered in; if I sew the whole thing, it does, because it's slightly smaller at the end than an inch or so back.
- I think that if I push the undersleeve seam over to the side when I do the armhole seam, instead of allowing it to run down the side seam, I'll eliminate the bump where it comes over the armhole seam on the inside. I will have to try it to be certain, but I'm fairly sure that will work.
- I'll cut the big gores 9" wide instead of 10", so the angle matches the smaller gores when they're pieced in; they were slightly off this time, although not enough to be a problem.
The next thing I'm going to do is a robe. This will be made mostly the same way, except that I think I'll make it a little looser, and the neckline will be slightly different, straight across with a notch instead of a full vee.
I'll add photos sometime soon.
|Tuesday, January 15th, 2002|
|Medieval warm period
I had occasion today to discuss the medieval warm period (also referred to as the medieval climate optimum) on the SCA-Garb list
, and therefore to pull together some of my links on the subject, which are below.
The medieval warm period (MWP) was a period from roughly the 9th century to roughly the late 12th or early 13th century when the climate in Europe was warmer than it was during the little ice age (LIA) which followed, beginning somewhere around 1400 and lasting into the 1800s. There's some difference of opinion as to whether the MWP was warmer than the present climate; some say it was, while others say that it was as warm or warmer locally, for limited periods
but that overall it's warmer now. These differences of opinion tend to fall along political lines, with the pro-development faction saying it was at least as warm all over the place for a long time and the environmentalist faction favoring the localized-and-limited theory. Personally, I tend to favor the theory that it was widespread and long-lasting, because I feel the anecdotal evidence supports this, but I dislike how the pro-development faction likes to gloss over the other
evidence that says that what are now coastal communities were then, in many cases, under water. However, the current political debate over global warming really hasn't got much to do with how garb is affected by the MWP.
The MWP and the LIA can be detected in illustrations and paintings of the times in question -- clothing in the 12th and 13th centuries uses just a few layers of light linen or silk, primarily, with woolens added in the winter. In the late 13th and the 14th century, clothing can be seen to be getting heavier, with surcoats becoming more prevalent and fur trimmings becoming more common; the following styles, such as the houpelande, are heavier yet, and velvets and woolens receive greater play.
Here are links to articles about the MWP and LIA:http://www.agu.org/revgeophys/mayews01/node5.html
-- a nice quick
-- a somewhat more
extensive summary, though focused more on the little ice age than the
medieval warm periodhttp://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/lia/index.html
discussion of how the climate change affected Viking settlement and
- summary and links to articles; note however that this source has a
definite agenda, namely to prove that greenhouse gases have nothing
to do with the current observations of climate change, so we might as
well go on pumping emissions into the air unrestrainedly; see http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/paleo/globalwarming/paleolast.html
contrasting view, with the opposite agendahttp://eserver.org/history/aurora-of-1192.txt
-- a study of a
particular marker that may have signaled the end of the warm period,
and some interesting speculation on causes
|Friday, January 11th, 2002|
Leaf from a Missal
, Paris, c. 1270-1290, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Accession number 1981.322Crucifixion scene
from a Dominican Missal, c. 1300, southern Germany, in the collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Accession number 23.66
|Some items from the Cleveland Museum of Art
Some pages from a Flemish Psalter, c. 1260Initial B with King David
, Accession number 1953.145.1The Ascension
, Accession number 1953.145.2The Pentecost
, Accession number 1953.145.3Massacre of the Innocents
, Accession number 1953.145.7
from Pisa, Italy, c. 1230-1240, Accession number 1995.5
A miniature of St. Catherine of Alexandria
from northeastern France, c. 1200-1210, Accession number 1997.12
|Thursday, January 10th, 2002|
Okay! This is my new journal space to use for keeping track of my research into the clothing of the 13th century. For a general overview of the type of clothing I mean, here are a couple of manuscripts from the time, The Maciejowski Bible
and The Murthly Hours
As you can see, this time period features fairly simple robes, with flowing lines. Clothing for women appears to be a shift or chemise, topped by a single dress, belted at the waist. Sleeves are fairly straight; some appear to be tighter on the forearms than the upper arms, with some evidence of lacing. Cloaks generally appear to be semicircular. Women's heads are generally covered, except where they are clearly unmarried women; there are a variety of hat and veil styles. Shoes have slightly pointed toes, but not the exaggerated points seen a century or two later. Men wear bias-cut hosen and braes beneath their robes, which are shorter than women's; women wear knee-length hosen held up by garters.
I have several lines of research I'm working on right now:
1) The general outlines of the dress. There is an extant garment from this time period, an undershirt which belonged to Louis IX of France, who later was canonized as Saint Louis. You can see a recreation of this tunic here
. I'm still doing some work on this point, but I feel there are some potential flaws in this recreation I should point out now, to be expanded on later. First, gores set into a slit are more difficult than this breezy treatment leads you to believe. Second, if you are doing French seams, putting the sleeves on before sewing up the sides and the underside of the sleeves leads to seriously ugly armpit seams; attaching the sleeves last works much better. Finally, I've got reason to believe that the neckline should have a strip of straight-cut binding, which is omitted here. More on these points later. For now, I'll just note that I'm using this shirt as the basis for creating a dress pattern. This is more practical research, based on what works and what looks right compared to the manuscripts, than book research, as so far I am not aware of any other extant garments or patterns from this time period.
2) History of knitting. There are some illustrations, including one of Ruth from the Mac' Bible (that's not in the part linked to above, unfortunately), which show women in what appear to be horizontally striped socks. This is really very hard to do with bias-cut cloth. It could
mean they were cut on the grain, possibly with felted wool which would give it some stretch. I don't think that's likely. Hosen cut without stretch don't work well, and I don't find the felted argument really plausible, as other people in the same scenes are shown stripped down, as though it's hot, this period is
still in the medieval climate optimum, which was at least as warm as it is today, not cold like the late medieval and renaissance periods, and felted wool is really
toasty. I think they're knitted, as knitted stockings behave nicely and are very easy to make striped. The difficulty with this is demonstrating that knitting was actually known in this part of Europe in this period. The evidence is sketchy; not surprising, really, as picking apart worn knitted items and reusing the parts of the yarn that are still good was a common practice during the times when we know knitting did exist. There are some extant items from Egypt which could
be knitting but could also be a form of nalbinding, which is a single-needle technique; if they are knitting, contact during the Crusades is plausible. There are reportedly some fragments of knitted items from Switzerland shortly before this time period. There are some slightly late knitted pillows from Spain, which show a level of sophistication that suggests the technique is not newly developed. There are some eclesiastical gloves which are probably knitted, but could once again be nalbinding; there are also reportedly some which combine the techniques. Once again, more on this later.
3) Undergarments. Specifically, breast support. I believe firmly that some sort of breast support was used. I think it's utterly impractical to suppose that women just went around bouncing; I'm never in favor of theories which assume that people were stupid and incapable of figuring out obvious solutions to obvious problems. Furthermore, the manuscripts uniformly show a flat-chested silhouette for fully-clothed women; even granting stylization, it's reasonable to suppose that such a silhouette was the fashionable silhouette for the period. Breast binding is an obvious way to achieve this. Also, I have some fragments of text, one translated from a period source, while another is a paraphrase of what a different source said, which mention binding the breasts with linen. I will be fleshing out this textual research later; right now I'm engaging in more practical research, experimenting with wrapped bands of bias-cut muslin (cheaper for experimentation than linen).
I've touched on a lot of issues here in a fairly short amount of space, including some implied ones like the climate variation from modern climate attributable to the medieval warm period. As I go on, I hope to put here references to the various sources I'm using for my research, and pictures of my progress. This way, when I get ready to do A&S documentation, I hopefully won't have to go scrambling about trying to figure out what I did with the sources I need. :)
There will be much, much more to come.