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Ísleifur Helgason




Location: Iceland
Joined: 18 Feb 2016

Posts: 22

PostPosted: Tue 01 Mar, 2016 3:08 pm    Post subject: Buying medieval clothing?         Reply with quote

I was thinking about buying from these guys; http://www.revivalclothing.com/accessorizedli...drobe.aspx

Their medieval outfits look promising. I would be very thankful however for any opinions from experienced collectors regarding the clothing's accuracy and quality. If these tailors do not stand up to re-enactment standards, then i would gladly welcome any advice on where to buy the best medieval clothing for 14'th century re-enactment/collecting.

Thanks
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Gregory J. Liebau




Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

Posts: 669

PostPosted: Tue 01 Mar, 2016 9:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know that a lot of people can tell you good things about Revival Clothing. They are very popular in the United States among living-history reenactors, and have a solid reputation for service and quality. I personally never worked with them, preferring to purchase from Historic Enterprises, which offers a similar diversity and quality of clothing. This was a choice I made based on knowing one of the owners prior to purchasing any clothing, and then I stuck with them for years because I trusted them to deliver.

In my opinion you could not go wrong with either of these vendors if you are seeking reproduction clothing from the United States. If you are interested in European vendors, there are at least another half a dozen manufacturers that can provide you with similar products to those from Revival or HE. Cheers!

-Gregory
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Eric Allen




Location: Texas
Joined: 04 Feb 2006

Posts: 207

PostPosted: Tue 01 Mar, 2016 10:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Revival Clothing and Historic Enterprises are the "Big 2" for decent period clothing.

Having been exposed to both company's products, I prefer Historic Enterprises. There's just something about Revival's clothing that just seems off to me. I think it's the color palate, it just looks too... chemical? I can always identify a tunic or hose from Revival based on color alone.

That said, when I was buying my first couple sets of braies and chausses, my decision of which company to go with boiled down to Historic Enterprise's listed dimensions for their standard sizes more closely matching the measurements of my leg.

Both companies, unless you go bespoke, look like they came off a rack. But, at least they're using the right shapes, right patterns, and right fabrics. Which is leagues more than say for most off-the-rack period clothing suppliers out there.

Since clothing for reenactment is always a multivariate balancing act between cost, "authenticity," availability, time, personal skill, and personal time investiture, if your solution for that equation falls in the "purchase rather than sew it yourself budget-friendly with moderate authenticity" part of the spectrum, than yeah, either company will do you fine.
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Ísleifur Helgason




Location: Iceland
Joined: 18 Feb 2016

Posts: 22

PostPosted: Wed 02 Mar, 2016 6:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply guys, but do you know which of these tailors make better gambesons for sparring?
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Jonathan Blair




Location: Hanover, PA
Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Likes: 4 pages
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 479

PostPosted: Wed 02 Mar, 2016 6:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The big issues to keep in mind with Revival Clothing and many other modern manufacturers for reenactment use is the colors, the cut of certain clothing, and the use of linen as an outer layer.

Color was a sign of status. Richer people could afford clothing made from fabric dyed in certain colors that poorer people might not be able to afford. Certain reds especially were very pricey. Also other colors were hard to get right in period compared to modern dyes. The deeper the color, the more expensive it was in period because it took more dye to get that deeper color. Revival Clothing's colors are a bit intense and limited in scope. So, research what your portrayal could afford.

Many of the modern medieval clothing manufacturers make the clothing based on finds, adjusting to make it more "comfortable" for the modern person wearing it. The feet of chausses and hosen are a good case in point. In period, most chausses/hosen feet were joined on the bottom in a cross shape (see attachment). This feels unusual to some, which has prompted the modern manufacturer to create a modern foot style, with a gore in the instep and a full footprint sewn to an upper. This is typically hidden by the shoes, but just keep it in mind if you take off your shoes in front of an audience if you are reenacting to educate or you wear shoes that have a low cut to them. Another accuracy issue is sleeves. Modern clothing has an angled joint between the torso piece and the sleeve, whereas the in-period sleeve was square (see attachment). The modern sleeve feels "comfortable" to the modern wearer and sometimes creeps into the modern made medieval clothing. Most of these issues of comfort are just getting used to wearing it that way rather than any true discomfort, so don't let the modern stuff fool you.

Linen was more commonly used against the skin for a shirt and braies than for an outer layer, like a tunic, doublet, chausses/hosen, cote/gown, because wool is more rugged for daily use and linen would tear up easier. Linen was a throw away material, cheap and plentiful, which is why it was worn against the skin, as to absorb sweat and be easier to replace than the wool outer wear. Dye also doesn't fix very well to linen, so after awhile, that nice blue linen tunic will have faded. Good wool is just as nice as any other fabric. Most business suits are made of wool or wool blends. Many people who think they are "allergic to wool" are just irritated by coarse wool. Wool was the go to fabric for outer wear. It is warm in the winter and cool in the summer, especially coupled with linen. Avoid clothing made from a wool blend if the blend is with something not available in period, such as modern fabric like rayon or polyester. Cotton was available but prohibitively expensive due to the processing method in period (there's a reason why Ely Whitney's cotton gin was so important to the fabric industry). Now for arming clothes such as what you show in your link, linen is fine because maille would stain the fabric and wool would get nappy rubbed up against the maille all the time.

My point is simply this: buyer beware. If you are looking for a costume piece for the local renaissance faire, then buy the bright red linen tunic. But if you are looking for accuracy, do your research, get the closest approximation in the right colors and fabric, and be prepared to alter the clothing when you get it.



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"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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Ísleifur Helgason




Location: Iceland
Joined: 18 Feb 2016

Posts: 22

PostPosted: Wed 02 Mar, 2016 2:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Blair wrote:
The big issues to keep in mind with Revival Clothing and many other modern manufacturers for reenactment use is the colors, the cut of certain clothing, and the use of linen as an outer layer.

Color was a sign of status. Richer people could afford clothing made from fabric dyed in certain colors that poorer people might not be able to afford. Certain reds especially were very pricey. Also other colors were hard to get right in period compared to modern dyes. The deeper the color, the more expensive it was in period because it took more dye to get that deeper color. Revival Clothing's colors are a bit intense and limited in scope. So, research what your portrayal could afford.

Many of the modern medieval clothing manufacturers make the clothing based on finds, adjusting to make it more "comfortable" for the modern person wearing it. The feet of chausses and hosen are a good case in point. In period, most chausses/hosen feet were joined on the bottom in a cross shape (see attachment). This feels unusual to some, which has prompted the modern manufacturer to create a modern foot style, with a gore in the instep and a full footprint sewn to an upper. This is typically hidden by the shoes, but just keep it in mind if you take off your shoes in front of an audience if you are reenacting to educate or you wear shoes that have a low cut to them. Another accuracy issue is sleeves. Modern clothing has an angled joint between the torso piece and the sleeve, whereas the in-period sleeve was square (see attachment). The modern sleeve feels "comfortable" to the modern wearer and sometimes creeps into the modern made medieval clothing. Most of these issues of comfort are just getting used to wearing it that way rather than any true discomfort, so don't let the modern stuff fool you.

Linen was more commonly used against the skin for a shirt and braies than for an outer layer, like a tunic, doublet, chausses/hosen, cote/gown, because wool is more rugged for daily use and linen would tear up easier. Linen was a throw away material, cheap and plentiful, which is why it was worn against the skin, as to absorb sweat and be easier to replace than the wool outer wear. Dye also doesn't fix very well to linen, so after awhile, that nice blue linen tunic will have faded. Good wool is just as nice as any other fabric. Most business suits are made of wool or wool blends. Many people who think they are "allergic to wool" are just irritated by coarse wool. Wool was the go to fabric for outer wear. It is warm in the winter and cool in the summer, especially coupled with linen. Avoid clothing made from a wool blend if the blend is with something not available in period, such as modern fabric like rayon or polyester. Cotton was available but prohibitively expensive due to the processing method in period (there's a reason why Ely Whitney's cotton gin was so important to the fabric industry). Now for arming clothes such as what you show in your link, linen is fine because maille would stain the fabric and wool would get nappy rubbed up against the maille all the time.

My point is simply this: buyer beware. If you are looking for a costume piece for the local renaissance faire, then buy the bright red linen tunic. But if you are looking for accuracy, do your research, get the closest approximation in the right colors and fabric, and be prepared to alter the clothing when you get it.


Thank you, this was wery informitive and i appriciate this information wery much.
But would you then say that Historic Enterprises are good enough for re-enactment quality for starters?, and do you know anyone who has sparred in their Fiore Coat?
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Gregory J. Liebau




Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

Posts: 669

PostPosted: Wed 02 Mar, 2016 3:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would point out that most of the nice "outer garments" sold by manufacturers such as Historic Enterprises and Revival Clothing are typically available in either wool or linen. If you prefer to use wool for nicer wear then it is an easy option.

I also cannot entirely agree with Jonathan's assumptions about linen's poor quality for maintaining dyes. A wide variety of linen textile fragments dating as far back as ancient times have survived in various biological conditions, and even after a thousand years dyes and fabric paints, both encompassing or ornamental, have held up remarkably well. To suggest that a new linen tunic would fade quickly strikes me as something that does not stand up to evidence. It is important to remember that our modern concept of washing clothing regularly and after minimal wear was not typical during the Middle Ages, and that the cleaning of fine fabrics would have been done by hand and with care.

-Gerhard
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Wed 02 Mar, 2016 3:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

An option is to buy garments in white linen and dye them yourself using a subdued color that is more period
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Mark Millman





Joined: 10 Feb 2005

Posts: 231

PostPosted: Wed 02 Mar, 2016 4:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear Ísleifur,

On Wednesday 2 March 2016, you wrote:
Thank you, this was wery informitive and i appriciate this information wery much.
But would you then say that Historic Enterprises are good enough for re-enactment quality for starters?,

Subject to the caveats above, I'd say that Historic Enterprises' clothing makes a good starting point.

Quote:
and do you know anyone who has sparred in their Fiore Coat?

I don't. I've heard many people discuss Revival Clothing's products, as they've offered padded fencing coats for some time. A search of the forum should turn up relevant threads. You might also look on The Armour Archive and Sword Forum International for more information. Possibly some of their members have fenced in HE's Fiore Coat.

I'm sure you've already noticed that the Fiore Coat doesn't seem to be padded, while Revival's Gambeson is, with cotton batting, which may affect your decision.

I hope that this proves helpful.

Best,

Mark Millman
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Jonathan Blair




Location: Hanover, PA
Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Likes: 4 pages
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 479

PostPosted: Thu 03 Mar, 2016 5:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gregory J. Liebau wrote:
To suggest that a new linen tunic would fade quickly strikes me as something that does not stand up to evidence. It is important to remember that our modern concept of washing clothing regularly and after minimal wear was not typical during the Middle Ages, and that the cleaning of fine fabrics would have been done by hand and with care.

-Gerhard

I never said linen would fade quickly, only that dye doesn't fix very well to linen. You might get a lot of mileage out of that nice blue linen tunic, based on how and how often you wash it and wear it. All dyed fabric will fade to various degrees, based on how the fabric is treated, but compared to other fabrics, linen doesn't hold dye as well.

I would not suggest washing linen or wool clothing unless the fabric was pre-shrunk prior to being made into a garment as both fabrics will shrink when washed (especially wool). Any linen or wool garments that are not of preshrunk fabric should be dry cleaned or spot cleaned.

"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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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Joined: 28 Dec 2006

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Fri 04 Mar, 2016 1:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Although I have a few revival items (their padded garments are some of the best outside of E europe) for other garments I tend towards Historic Enterprises. Their hose are by far and away the best on the market and stand up to a lot of hard use. I joust a fair bit as well as wear their hose on an almost daily basis and my company has scores of pairs, always serve me well. Their arming doublets are the best ioff the shelf I think and their doublets and coats excellent value. The cut is great, as is the value.
Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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