Late Medieval Fashion Redressed

History of this site

In late 2002 I dreamed of a website where I could write and teach about 14th century European clothing, a passion of mine. In early 2003 I gathered together a number of projects I’d recently completed and used Dreamweaver to cook up a plain site to host the information.

Original look and feel of La cotte simpleIn the beginning, I put up my photo essay comparing two fitting methods for achieving bust support with a tightly-laced dress. This was inspired by the teachings of Robin Netherton, a dress historian who had developed an exceedingly plausible theory for achieving the feminine silhouette seen in much of the figural imagery of the later 14th century. I had also written a paper about the basic layers of close-fitting clothing women frequently wore from the mid-14th century to the early 15th century. This had all been started by my casual search for evidence of a buttoned dress style I saw people wearing in the SCA, something I took to calling a “Scotehardie”, because it wasn’t nearly so common in the figural art as it was at SCA events. Finally, I published an ode to the embroidered alms purse of 14th century France, along with a brief overview of the one I had recently completed.

Later, I added an article about the grande assiette tailoring technique as well as the “elbow hinge” seen on the pourpoint of Charles de Blois. Over the years I added more content at a rather glacial pace; some years I added nothing. In more recent years (2010 to present), I’ve updated the content with further thoughts on the cutting methods used for the Charles de Blois pourpoint, a how-to for setting godets (frequently called “gores” in common parlance, but not strictly correct) into slits (a common tailoring technique used in the later medieval period but utterly alien to most modern-day sewers), how to sew a generic surcotte to be worn over early 14th century armour (and 13th century armour), an overview of martial surcotte styles seen from the beginning of the 14th century to the end of it in England and France, a dress diary on the making of a 1480s English noble woman’s outfit and crazy hat, a quick look at said hats in late 15th century brass rubbings, and a commercial pattern for making a pourpoint styled after the tailoring of the Charles de Blois pourpoint.

Look and feel of the new La cotte simple siteThat is the site that existed until Fall 2012, when I undertook a major overhauling of its appearance. I updated the layout again in 2022. I’ve added more content such as summary info about fur use in clothing and embroidery on clothing. I also have a FaceBook page for this site, but it’s not an active place for content updates.

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