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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jun, 2007 5:38 am    Post subject: Sewing styles in the middle ages (surcoats specifically)         Reply with quote

I am by far not a person who can sew. When I was at the Armour Archive months back, I remembered a lot of talk about how the stitching on several different garments was incorrect. Two examples I'm interested in specifically are the surcoat and the brigadine.

I'll use the surcoat as an example, as the bradine would likely be similar in make to it. As far as I am aware, a surcoat has open sides. There may be and likely are exceptions to that but I am unaware of specific examples. Which of the two drawings below would be how it is sewn?

Behold my artistic wonder!

M.



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Jonathan Blair




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jun, 2007 6:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, some were open on the sides and some weren't. Some had sleeves, others didn't. Surcoats can be fitted garments, not just "blankets with a hole in the middle." Basically, the surcoat (or surcotte) was a loose, robe-like, outer garment worn by both men and women during the 11th through 14th centuries. For a man-at-arms, a surcoat was worn to keep rain and sun off his armor and to identify him while wearing a helm/helmet. Attached is a picture of two knights, the one on the left wearing a surcoat which is not open on the sides.


 Attachment: 81.7 KB
Surcoat.jpg


"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
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Johan S. Moen




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jun, 2007 6:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as I know, extant garments that are of a surcoat-like nature have separate front and back panels.

If you look at http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/cloth/type5.html and http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/cloth/type6.html you'll have descriptions of extant garments of the type you are after, with and without sleeves.

If you go to the overview page http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/cloth/tunics.html the garments under the two different types might give you some ideas.

But, a surcoat and a brigandine are pretty far apart when it comes to construction. I would think that the fabric pieces for a brigandine would have a more complex/fitted cut than those of a surcoat, especially when it comes to the tailoring of the main panels.

Johan Schubert Moen
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Mikael Ranelius




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jun, 2007 7:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Incorrect stitching? I'd say all seams and stitches that can be done by hand is correct (although some stitch-types are more suitable than others)
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Steven H




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jun, 2007 12:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you are serious about making a surcoat yourself then I highly recommend getting a good book or two on the subject of Medieval tailoring. I personally recommend The Medieval Tailor's Assistant by Sarah Thurston and several other books out there have good reputations. If you search here, Firestryker or Armour Archive for sewing books you should get some good info.

One of the reasons I say this is because if you have no prior knowledge of sewing then there are some important basics, such as how to do a backstitch, that you need. A simple 'stab-stitch' will not produce good results.

I highly recommend researching first, then making mocks out of cheap cloth and then making the final garment. The end result is much better.

Kunstbruder - Boston area Historical Combat Study
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jun, 2007 3:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I may well commission a friend of mine to sew it for me, if she's up for it. I might make 2 -- one for armoured surcoat and the other for unarmoured.

M.

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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2007 6:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What period are you looking at?

My 13th century surcote is made in the same way as my tunic, but without the arms. It features gusets in the side and front.


BTW;
A surcote that isn't stiched in the sides is a tabbard, and belong to a later period.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jun, 2007 1:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Likely the 13th or 14th century -- rise of the longsword and the emergence of plate era.

M.

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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jun, 2007 4:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So, you are basically looking to be a longsword-toter in mixed mail and plate?

As the 14th century progresses, the surcotes becomes shorter and more tighter fitting (like the civilian tunics)
They are , however, tailored.

Since the garment is shorter, you do not need the front split gussets, which 13th cent overachievers (me) have.
you still want shaped arm openings, and most likely side gores, if rather narrow ones.

You could also skip the gores, but the tailored arms are still recomended. its not that much extra work.



 Attachment: 13.13 KB
QND surcote.jpg


"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jun, 2007 8:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What are goers? And by tailored arms, do you mean matching it to the slope of my shoulders?

M.

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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jun, 2007 9:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
What are goers? And by tailored arms, do you mean matching it to the slope of my shoulders?

M.


Gores are the orange bits on the side Wink
And, yes, I mean matching it to the slope of the shoulders. If you leave them square, and don't curve in the arm openings, you will end up looking as if you're wearing a sack.

A more snugly fitted garment will mark you as a style concious gentleman, who has made his research, and has the practical skills and initiative to make a good costume.

This again impresses young ladies, who will be in no time be placing themselves in distress close to you, in the hopes of being rescued by such a prudent and dashing knight.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Steven H




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jun, 2007 10:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling Polden wrote:
[This again impresses young ladies, who will be in no time be placing themselves in distress close to you, in the hopes of being rescued by such a prudent and dashing knight.


Such optimism!

Kunstbruder - Boston area Historical Combat Study
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jun, 2007 10:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steven H wrote:
Elling Polden wrote:
[This again impresses young ladies, who will be in no time be placing themselves in distress close to you, in the hopes of being rescued by such a prudent and dashing knight.


Such optimism!


Nah... It becomes tiresome after a while...
But that's what you have squires for...

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jun, 2007 11:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hah!

Goers serve a function or are they just for style? It explains to me why the effigies in surcoats tend to have a puffed out appearance.

M.

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Johan S. Moen




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PostPosted: Fri 08 Jun, 2007 3:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
Hah!

Goers serve a function or are they just for style? It explains to me why the effigies in surcoats tend to have a puffed out appearance.

M.


Gores make any garment more form fitted, or expand areas that need stress relief. In the case of the surcoat, the gores widen the skirt of the garment so that you are actually able to walk in it!

If you were to take two fabric rectangles that correspond with your shoulder width, and sew them together all the way down, you would have a hard time moving. Add 2-4 gores, and presto! A free flowing garment that won't make you fall over.

Gores are also more economic on the amount of fabric you need. Cutting "integral" gores that are a part of the main panels can waste fabric like no tomorrow, while separate gores can be placed together or placed on smaller pieces of fabric that won't do for anything else.

Oh, and gores are also there to make you curse every time you try to sew the upper point on them....

Johan Schubert Moen
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Fri 08 Jun, 2007 4:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Makes sense Mark. I had forgotten the fact that it's not an open sided garment (I associate that with surcoat easily).

M.

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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jun, 2007 7:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Johan S. Moen wrote:


Oh, and gores are also there to make you curse every time you try to sew the upper point on them....


A good trick is sewing the gores to their respective front and back pieces, and make the side seam continous.

Thus, you get a smooth transition from the front pieces to the gores. (or arms)

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Johan S. Moen




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jun, 2007 8:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling Polden wrote:
Johan S. Moen wrote:


Oh, and gores are also there to make you curse every time you try to sew the upper point on them....


A good trick is sewing the gores to their respective front and back pieces, and make the side seam continous.

Thus, you get a smooth transition from the front pieces to the gores. (or arms)


Well, that's yer theory, but it depends on the seam used...

Johan Schubert Moen
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