Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fencers sleeves

The subject came up this weekend, "How does a fencer gain full range of motion, without restrictions or binding?" 
My first suggestion is to make the arms eye as small as possible and shift it slightly forward, giving more fabric on the back. Making sure that the shoulder ends at the point of the shoulder will also give a more full range of motion.
The shirt underneath can also cause binding, especially if the sleeve is "extra billowy" or has a large arms eye.
Lastly the modification to the sleeve cut will give just a couple of inches when reaching forward for a lunge or long point.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Finally finishing the Leine experiment.

Here is the layout that I came up with and the basic construction method.  Edges can be rounded and scraps used elsewhere.  This design fits snugly through the body, and hangs to the right length and allows for complete freedom of movement.  I highly recommend it as an exercise in square cut constructionget some register tape and cut it into 27 inch long stripes (10 inches paper = 1 yard real world) and then have them make leines from 20 inch wide, assuming a 5'8" person. It was quite fun. This is all that I had left from the 9 yards, and I managed to use some of that in the underarm gussets in the next version. Below is a pic of how it hangs, and I am not a small guy. So lots of fabric if cut using mostly rectangles.
This is the part that I think will cause the most controversy. I have a Hypothesis about how they closed their sleeves.  Allow me to begin by saying that All we have is drawings and a painting or two from the period, no extant examples remain as far as I have been able to determine. 
When I looked at the images, I eventually noticed what I think is a pattern.  When the sleeves of the leine are hanging the sleeves of the ionar are as well.  when the sleeves of the ionar are being worn then the sleeves seem to hang in a bunting like fashion.  So my hypothesis is that the Sleeves of the Leine would unsupported hang at the side reminiscent of a Houppelaunde from earlier centuries, but when held up they were fastened to the wrist by the sleeve of the ionar.  Again I have only a pattern recognition and little other supporting evidence, but this seems to work.  I would welcome thoughts on the matter and be delighted by counter evidence.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Leine Experiment

Leine Challenge

The challenge is to make as historically accurate a 16th century leine as possible using ~20 inch wide fabric and following the sumptuary laws (which limits the shirt to 9 yards) using as close to a historical cut as possible. Machine stitching will be used on the long seams but will not be externally visible.

Assumptions made:
  • The width of the fabric was homemade and the width of the person weaving it about 20 inches.
  • They would use standard square cut construction to avoid waste.
  • Fewer larger pieces are better in construction.
  • The sleeves are large and full and hang to around the knee, when hanging, the arm exits the sleeve just below the elbow facing forward, allowing free movement and leaving the forearms free.
  • The opening through which the arm extends can be faced and embroidered.
  • The neckline is either a boatneck (more common) or a simple keyhole.
Constraints on construction:
  • The leine length is to mid-shin on the man wearing it, and would be flared enough at the hem to allow free walking strides.
  • It could be pulled up to thigh length and be belted at that height, creating a bloused look but adding as little bulk to the waist as possible. This position should also create a Very pleated look.
  • The shape and construction of the piece must have a historical precedent in earlier and contemporary clothing from the region.
  • The sleeves are also capable of being attached or contained when the Ionar sleeves are buttoned up at the wrist, causing the sleeve to drape like bunting below the arm.

The sources that I will use for this are all drawings and paintings since there are no extant leines from this time period. Artists include Derrick, de Heere, the unknown artist responsible for “Irish chieftains after the Quick,” and Durer. There are also many literary references to the dress of the Irish, these describe the clothing in mostly general terms like full sleeves and lots of pleats. I am trying to remain with period sources (painting and drawings during the time) these are technically secondary sources which causes problems itself.
Upon starting this experiment I heard a lot of talk about how unreliable these sources are since most of them were taken from second hand sources or from first hand but months after seeing the clothing. The complaint was also raised that the drawings were made by the English to make fun of the Irish. This all may be true, the problem is that even if all of that were absolutely true and many other things besides, it ultimately doesn't matter. We have no other sources. There are no extant leines, only a couple of extant Ionars. So unless someone finds a surviving leine then we must use these and attempt to determine what the leinete of the period looked like based on the commonalities of these images. We simply cannot ignore them and claim that they are based on imagination. Distorted through a cultural lens they almost certainly are but they are all we have.

Square Cut Construction:
The construction technique used in this is called Square Cut, and for those unfamiliar with it a short description follows. Square cut construction is a historical technique that uses mostly squares and triangles to construct clothing. As a result of this there is very little waste but there is also very little tailoring, as a result these techniques are used either as a starting point from which further tailoring to bring the garment closer to the shape of the body in employed or it is used on undergarments as is the case here.
Square cut construction can be confusing at first to a person used to working with modern patterns as it really does not use a pattern per say, but it uses a cut diagram based on somewhat generic measurements that are changed if necessary based on the individual. While slightly confusing at first I would HIGHLY recommend that people wishing to recreate historical clothing really assimilate this into their thinking. It helps explain some of the "strange" shapes and seemingly weird seam placement in period clothing. It also uses the fabric most efficiently which keeps materials costs down, but be aware that it can increase construction time or complexity, especially if using a sewing machine. I think that it is worth the effort, I hope that some of you will agree. If you want more information I would recommend:

Layout & Cutting:
This is laid out for a man about 5'8" and the leine is intended to end mid shin when down. Most of the measurements will work for a few inches of height to either side of this height, then adding a few inches to the length or taking a few off.   

Friday, April 20, 2012

Looking at Fete at Bermondsey

Lets play" Name that UPO" That is Unidentified Painted Object! While Looking at this image the other day for evidence that men's sleeves were tied in (no luck, thank you Daniel Rosen now I have to rebuild most of my wardrobe) I noticed several things that I could not identify for sure. In

File:Joris Hoefnagel Fete at Bermondsey c 1569.png

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Joris_Hoefnagel_Fete_at_Bermondsey_c_1569.png There is a yellow dog, two children and a woman breast feeding, between them is a man with an object on his back. My first thought was that this was a large straw hat tared or dyed black/gray, then I thought Buckler (huge one, perhaps a shield) when I thought that there was a spike in the center of the crown/boss depending.

As I pondered what that object was I looked further at what he is holding in his hand resting on his shoulder. Again at first I thought that it was a sword, that he was holding by the blade (hopefully scabbard-ed) then I saw that he had a rapier at his hip. So what is that thing? There is apparently another one on the shoulder of the man in the background walking next to the couple on the horse. If it is a walking stick then why is the walking man not using it? A torch? Why carry it around? A club? At a Fete? A spindel? Why are two men carrying them at a party?

So I though I would poll the audience and see if anyone can come up with an identification of the shield/hat or the other ball on a stick thing. What do you think?

After discussing it with many people on the Elizabethan costume page, I think that Daniel Rosen has hit on the solution. That the large circular objects are Shields (giant Bucklers if you wish) and the men are servants (presumed partially due to their being in blue) and that they are holding the sword of their Master, standing next to them. Sort of a cross between a bodyguard and a man servant.  Here is an example from another painting.

Thoughts or comments?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Slight Digression

For my Celtic Comrades

Converting the Doublet pattern into an Ionar.
Image Stolen from Clan McColin - the people that this post is mostly for.

This is the Celtic version of a doublet.  It covers the upper body, has Sleeves (sort of) and a sort of skirting around the bottom.  So I think it fits roughly into the category.  That’s my story anyway.

So begin by following the directions for a Basic Doublet (search Doublet or doublet in a week) until you get to step #12 then follow these steps to finish out.  With a slight change in step 2.

You will need to make the following changes to the measurements as given for doublets:

Front LengthFL, should now only go to the belly button (for big guys) or a couple fingers above (for little guys)
Back length BL, you need to make sure that this ends in the small of the back.  Usually a couple of fingers above the belt line.
Waist W, moving the other measurements up means that the waist needs to move up as well.  So the Waist is more the Belly (natural waist) than where your jeans go.  So go around through the bellybutton and the small of the back.  Seriously quit sucking it in.

Step 2 – Instead of making line EF 2-3 fingers lower than half of BL make it 1/3 up from B to raise the waistline.
Follow the rest from this modification. Until step 12

Step 12 – Instead of putting point K 2/3 around the armseye put it about at the bottom.

Step 13- measure from the backline ¼ of the new waist (Belly) Connect this point L to point K.

Step 14 – Measure the same distance ¼ Belly to point M, if this does not cross point L (thin guys) then continue to Step 16.

Step 15 – Optional Big guys – Point M and L crossed, Erase point L and M land be glad because you just removed a seam from your Ionar, and made it closer to the Dungiven doublet.  The ionar will now be cut as a single piece.  Measure along BC ½ Belly, to new point N’. 

Step 16 – Measure from G’ down to point N, connect M to N with a line.  If you followed Step 15 then you may need to move point N’ a bit to make it match N

Step 17 – Draw a gently curved line from point N to point G, this will cut off point G’
Here is the what Step 17 will look like for the Big guys

Finished ionar pattern
Finished Large ionar pattern
Step 18 – Along the selvedge edge of your wool, cut a strip 3x’s the length of the Belly measurement and about, a full hand width (or more to account for seam allowance) wide.  If the selvedge is the same on both edges you can use both sides and cut the pattern from the center.  This is the skirting that will be added to the bottom of the Ionar.  This will be pleated into the bottom edge of the ionar.

Step 19 – Collar edging, According to both the Ashmoleum woodcut and the Derrick woodcuts there is a small collar on the edge of the ionar that runs up the front and around the back of the neck.  Like the skirting this appears to be a thin strip of straight grain fabric, perhaps even a selvedge edge, that is added to the edge and lays flat creating the standup look in the Durer watercolor.  So cut a piece that is the length 2xNG + 2xHA and 3-4 fingers wide (that includes a finger for seam allowance) along the straight of grain.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Preview - Tomorrow

Tomorrow we Cut Fabric so you can get a head start by pre-washing anything that you intend to wash as a garment.  For me that generally means washing everything but silk, in cold or warm water gently.  For linen and cotton warm and dry hot.  I want them to shrink as much as then are going to, before the garment is made.  For wool I wash in cold with a bit of baby shampoo and dry gently.  I don't want to raise that much of the nap, unless I am going for the peasant look, in which case wash warm and dry hot.  Buy extra if you are going to do this as you will loose about a 1/4 yard for every two yards in length.

Doublet in a Week - Day 2 Tabs

Tabs and skirting

Doublets generally have either Tabs or Skirting at the bottom.  Early Elizabethan period tended to be skirting as Doublets evolved from the coats of Henry VIII that had longer skirting.  As time when on it go shorter and shorter until at the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign it was around 3-4 inches wide and divided into 2-3 pieces.  As Her reign went on the skirting was split into more pieces and those pieces changed shape sometimes adding small tabs Leicester was very fond of tiny little tabs added to the bottom of either the Skirting or the Doublet itself.  Until towards the end of the reign there were commonly quite a few 9 or more large tabs or dozens of small (less than 2 inches across.)  There was another type, loops of fabric that also showed up midway through the reign.

The shape of the tabs varied from round to almost diamond shaped, depending on the look that the individual is looking for.  Tabs were usually attached as separate pieces but the skirting was often a part of the doublet body.  Tabs often overlapped and were ornamented to match the doublet. 

Adding the skirting to the doublet pattern is actually quite simply a matter of extending the pattern.  It is a matter of personal preference as to how long the skirting is but I recommend that it be at least 3 inches. 

1. Extend and redraw a smooth curve around the bottom of the doublet pieces. 

2. Make the bottom edge longer, so that it can flair.

3. Angle the front and back of the skirt by 2-3 fingers from both ends.

If you choose to make the skirting separate pieces then the shape changes a little. 
The top edge curves down about 1-2 fingers and the shape evens out, having less of an S curve and more a simple curve.

Tabs – suggested shapes

Make sure that you have enough to go all the way around the waist line of the doublet, I recommend that you make a couple extra and pick the best looking ones to use.

*Note that the tab shapes all taper inwards at the top and thus spread out at the bottom, allowing for spreading. 

Add a fingers worth more to the top end of the tab to account for tucking in to the doublet.

If you are going to over lap the tabs, then make sure that you start at the back and space them evenly around the waistline.  The overlap should be symmetrical from the center back.