1490s overdress

Back to 1490s again.  Time to examine first principles of my goals and actually decide what I’m doing.

So.

  • I want to make an overdress of some sort.
  • I like the idea and look of fur-lined sleeves.
  • I don’t really want to make a fitted bodice or a pleated skirt.
  • I want it to show off my gamurra.
  • I’d like it to be easy to put on, with a full front opening if possible.
  • Ideally, I want to be able to fight in it, should I choose to, so it should have good arm and shoulder mobility and not get caught on stuff too easily.
  • I don’t want to completely overheat if I wear it indoors; doing the fur as trim or as a partial lining may help with that as long as the shortcut doesn’t show on the outside.
  • If it’s going to be fur-lined (or just trimmed), it should probably not have open sides like a giornea.  That seems wrong.
  • I want it to be based on a garment shown in a document from the right time period.  If that garment is gold brocade with brown/tan and black leopard fur and worn over red, so much the better, because that’s how mine’s going to be and it’s good to back that up with documentation.

With all that said, I’m pretty sure I can’t have all of those things.  Here are my candidates for dresses from period pictures.

Continue reading “1490s overdress”

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1320s dress

And now, something else completely different: in which I research a costume that isn’t for me.  (Update: I’m not sure the images linked to bigger versions before; I believe I have now fixed that.)

800px-ms_i-33_32r

Royal Armouries MS I.33, also called the Walpurgis Fechtbuch, is the oldest extant European treatise on combat.  The thing that really makes it memorable, however, is the page shown here, in which a woman, called Walpurgis (on the left in both pairs), is learning swordfighting from the priest who seems to be the master of the book.

So… if one wanted to dress like Walpurgis, where to begin?

The manuscript is from Germany in the 1320s.  Unfortunately, that’s far enough back that it’s not as easy to focus on a specific decade, but in this case I’ve already got a leg up in having a specific image to start from, rather than a person or event.  So I can say off the bat, based on Walpurgis’s shoulders and sleeves being different colors, that I need to find out about long-sleeved underdresses (cottes) and sleeveless but not sideless surcoats (or surcottes).  They’ll have full-length skirts; Walpurgis is sporting a lovely calf-length look because, like the priest, she has tucked her skirts up into her belt to keep them away from her feet.  (Fun fact: tucking robes up for swordfighting may be why Robin Hood’s clerical friend was called Friar Tuck.)

So.  I know what she’s wearing, but it would be nice to have more pictures, especially showing the torso area where all the complicated sewing will happen.  And anyway, look at that priest’s arms; would you trust this artist on fine details of fashion?

As it happens, I’m in luck: there is a manuscript from the first quarter of the 14th century which is about German writers of love songs.

800px-codex_manesse_311r_alram_von_grestenThe Codex Manesse has lots of pictures, many featuring women in sleeveless surcoats and long-sleeved dresses of contrasting colors.  Here’s one of a woman with similar fashion sense to Walpurgis: she’s added a headdress that is actually a fillet or gebende and not at all called a “pie-crust hat”, but she has the same sleeveless overdress and long, curly hair.

There are a bunch of examples of this style in the Codex, showing the fashion in different postures, in motion, and so on. There is also some variation in the arm-hole size in the sleeveless surcoats.

Also let’s just look at a lot of pages because this has to be the most adorable medieval manuscript ever.  Sure, war bunnies on snails are cute, but… look at these couples! (Click through for more pages, and a selection of reconstructed dresses and useful links.)

Continue reading “1320s dress”

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Yearbooks, late twentieth century

After the terrifyingly tall hair styles of the 1950s and 1960s, I enjoyed the 1970s more than I expected to, although felt less need to capture much of it.  The teachers suddenly look younger (closer to the students) in their mid-thigh skirts and bell bottoms.  Giant orange plaid is nicer looking than I expect.  And the 1990s… Well, they have their own charm. Anyway, I didn’t get a lot of pictures of the late century, but here they are. Continue reading “Yearbooks, late twentieth century”

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Yearbooks, 1930s

After I read through four copies of 1930, I found out I didn’t need to read multiple copies of the same year once I’d determined there was a complete and intact copy.  Also, I wanted to increase my speed, and fewer pictures caught my eye, and also yearbooks without page numbers left less idle focus for sightseeing when I was trying to determine completeness by alphabetic continuity. Yearbooks with page numbers I could buzz through very quickly if I wasn’t also doing costume research, so the decades I don’t expect to be reenacting went by pretty fast.

So… After the thoroughness of the 1920s, here’s the early 1930s.  Hair gets less interesting to me, but the necklaces get pretty excellent.  (This trend fading is a lot of what made my interest wane.) Continue reading “Yearbooks, 1930s”

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Yearbooks, chapter 2: 1920-25

The early 1920s.

I think I mentioned, my focus in these was mostly looking for 1920s hairstyles (for young and stylish people that aren’t theater or folly performers) that might be useful for my medium-length non-curly hair, in a decade when the fashion is for short and super curly or artificially waved. So if these seem not quite like the classic flapper ‘dos you were expecting, that’s why! Continue reading “Yearbooks, chapter 2: 1920-25”

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Yearbooks from a small town

For work, I had to read through a whole lot of yearbooks, to make sure the collection was complete and ready for digitizing. I snapped pictures of pages that caught my eye, but I generally did so quickly so as not to slow down the process too much, so the quality varies. At least in the earlier years, much of my focus was on styles for longer hair, as personal costume research, although I also paused for interesting jewelry, especially nice-looking people, and interesting text.

Here are my selections from before 1920– the collection actually started in 1914, but I guess I hadn’t thought of taking pictures yet. (1915 and 1919 are missing.) Continue reading “Yearbooks from a small town”

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