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Bliauts, Broad Skirts and Belled Sleeves: making the court dress of 12th century Western Europe

Bliauts, Broad Skirts and Belled Sleeves: making the court dress of 12th century Western Europe

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Published by B Maura Townsend
This is the class handout from a single session class I taught in recreating the court clothing of Western Europe in the 12th century. Includes sample layout diagrams and guidance in cutting garments to fit and assembling them on a modern sewing machine, as well as background information.

All illustrations are my own work.
This is the class handout from a single session class I taught in recreating the court clothing of Western Europe in the 12th century. Includes sample layout diagrams and guidance in cutting garments to fit and assembling them on a modern sewing machine, as well as background information.

All illustrations are my own work.

More info:

Published by: B Maura Townsend on Aug 02, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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08/11/2013

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Bliauts, Broad Skirts and Belled Sleeves: making the court dress of 12thcentury Western Europe
Bliauts, Broad Skirts and Belled Sleeves: making the court dress of 12thcentury Western Europe
About the class
This is intended to be an intermediate-level class, however, I will touch on geometric cutting andconstruction theory for those who may be new to it. The class will detail the differences between courtdress and everyday clothing, cover appropriate fabrics and ornament styles, and we will cover measuringand planning cutting layouts for court garments for both men and women.This class will be presented in six segments of approximately 15 minutes each. I have scheduled a littleextra time incase we run over, and you are welcome to stay after and discuss what is presented. The class segmentsare:
1. Introduction,
discussion of what a bliaut is for the purposes of this class, and a short overviewof related fashions.
2. Contemporary sources3. Construction and style variations; Fabrics, ornament, and accessories4. Geometric construction; Measuring techniques
; Demonstration and practice
5. Layout, cutting
, calculating yardage; Demonstration and practice
6. Review
and question and answer period; “Show and tell” and open discussion
Handouts:
There are a total of nine handouts for this class, including this one. Some are multi-page. The list of handouts (in the long version of the PDF, these are sections of one document) is as follows:
1.General defining characteristics of “bliauts” or 12
th
century West European Court Dress2.Overview of evolution towards 12
th
century court dress (1p)3.Contemporary artwork and archaeological artefact examples (2p)4.Construction variations and sample cutting diagrams for men and women(4p)5.Geometric construction overview (1p)6.Fabrics and ornamentation (1p)7.Measurement worksheet (1p)8.Graph paper to chart your cutting layout based on your measurements (1p) (not included as apage, please download it as a standalone document)
Instructor:
This class is taught by Branwen M. Townsend, known in the SCA as Lady Marguerie de Jauncourt. I'vebeen in the SCA for eight years. I have been studying and re-creating historic clothing for twice that long.My area of special interest in the SCA time frame is 12th Century clothing, and its evolution from earlier forms, as you may have guessed. I have been tracking the elusive
bliaut 
(French court gown) for over seven years, and will share the results of that research, plus a few theories, with you today.
Copyright ©2004-2010 Branwen Maura Townsend. Please email for permission to reproduce. jauncourt@gmail.com
 
Bliauts, Broad Skirts and Belled Sleeves: making the court dress of 12thcentury Western Europe
Bibliography/Further readingWeb Sites
(all sites cited date as of June 20th 2004 unless otherwise noted)Asplund, Randy Chausses and Braies (men's undergarments and hose)http://www.randyasplund.com/browse/medieval/chausse1.htmlCarlson, I. Marc Some Clothing of the Middle Ages (a survey of archaeolgical examples)http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/cloth/bockhome.htmlCarlson, I. Marc Footwear of the Middle Ages (10th thru 13th century styles)http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/shoe/SHOEHOME.HTMDoyle, Sarah Clothing of Norman Women in the Late 11th and Early 12th Centuries (Norman English women)http://freespace.virgin.net/sarah.doyle/KIT.htmEustace hight Broom, Emrys Shertes, Trewes & Hosen (parts i, ii, iii, cited as of 6-30-04)http://www.greydragon.org/library/underwear1.htmlhttp://www.greydragon.org/library/underwear2.htmlhttp://www.greydragon.org/library/underwear3.htmlFolsom, Branwyn The Bliaut Files (instructor's website, detailed information on court and women's dress)http://bliautlady.50megs.comPayne, Grace The Beautiful Bliaut (construction of separate-skirt type women's court dress in detail)http://www.chateau-michel.org/belle_bliaut.htmSpies, Nancy Ecclesiastic Pomp and Aristocratic Circumstance (tabletweaving)http://weavershand..com/arelatestudio.htmlVirtue, Cynthia, ed. Extant Clothing of the Middle Ages (extant examples from museums, 11th-12th C pieces)http://www.virtue.to/articles/extant.htmlVirtue, Cynthia Introduction to Garb: A Seminar (overview of basic everyday clothing)http://www.virtue.to/articles/in_depth_garb.htmlVirtue, Cynthia Practical Worksheet for Tunic Construction (measurement worksheet and construction method)http://www.virtue.to/articles/tunic_worksheet.htmlVogt, Kelly Making a Keyhole Neckline (detailed instructions for installing this neckline)http://home.gte.net/kmvogt/kkeyhole.htmlWymarc, Richard A Stitch Out Of Time (10th-12th century examples and Costume for a 12th Century Lady)http://www.wymarc.com
Books
Benton, John F. (Ed) Self and Society in Medieval France: The Memoirs of Abbot Guibert of Nogent University of Toronto Press,1984Burnham, Dorothy Cut My Cote Royal Ontario Museum, 1973Boucher, Francois 20,000 Years of Fashion - the history of costume and personal adornment Harry N. Abrams, no dateBradfield, Nancy Historical Costumes of England 1066-1968 Costume and Fashion Press, 1997Carretero, Concha Herrero Museo de Telas Medievales Monasterio de Santa Maria la Real de Huelgas Patrimonio Nacional, 1988Cunnington, C Willet and Cunnington, Phillis The History of Underlcothes Dover, 1992Davis, R.H.C. The Normans and their Myth Thames and Hudson, 1976Dodwell, C.R. The Pictorial Arts of the West 800-1200 Yale University Press, 1993Egan, Geoff and Pritchard, Frances Medieval Finds from Excavations in London:3 Dress Accessories 1150-1450 HMSO,1991Grew, Francis and de Neergaard, Margarethe Medieval Finds from Excavations in London:2 Shoes and Pattens HMSO, 1988Hunnisett, Jean Costume For Stage and Screen Patterns for OWmen's Dress Medieval - 1500 Player's Press, 1996Kohler, Carl A History of Costume Dover, 1963Piponnier, Francoise and Mane, Perrine Dress In The Middle Ages Yale University Press, 1997Stoddard, Whitney S. Sculptors of the West Portraits of Chartres Cathedral: Their Origins in Romanesque and Their Role inChartrain Sculpture: Including the West portals Norton, 1987Tate, Georges The Crusaders: Warriors of God Harry N. Abrams, 1996Tilke, Max Costume Patterns and Designs Rizzoli, 1990Oriental Costumes, their designs and colors Berlin: E. Wasmuth, 1922 (e-text athttp://www.indiana.edu/~librcsd/etext/tilke/)Time-Life Books (eds.) The Divine Campaigns TimeFrame AD 1100 - 1200 Time-Life, 1988Waugh, Christina Frieder Well-Cut through the Body: Fitted Clothing in Twelfth-Century Europe Dress: the journal of theCostume Society of America , vol 26, 1999
 
Copyright ©2004-2010 Branwen Maura Townsend. Please email for permission to reproduce. jauncourt@gmail.com
 
Bliauts, Broad Skirts and Belled Sleeves: making the court dress of 12thcentury Western Europe
General defining characteristics of “bliauts”
The word “bliaut” has been subject to debate, both for its usage and its popular meaning. For the purposes of thisclass, I am using it to mean a specific set of high-fashion styles of court dress worn during the 12
th
century in WesternEurope.
Overall differences between court and everyday dress:
Generally made of opulent fabrics (silks, fine brightly dyed wools, fur linings)
Elaborately decorated with embroidery and woven bands
Garment styles impractical for everyday tasks
Much more jewelry worn
More hair shown by women, men had longer hair and affected beardsAll of these can be true of the garments in question. However, the “bliaut” as a subset of court dress styles needs to bemore narrowly defined.
 
Specific defining characteristics of “bliauts”:
 
Numerous types of ostentatious sleeves, ranging from wide pointed “angelwing” sleeves, to relatively modestgusseted points, and most familiar, long, tight sleeves with long, dangling cuffs (manches or maunches).
Snug fitting, often (but not always) laced to fit on one or both sides.
Some styles for women seem to have had the innovation of a pleated on skirt.
Some styles for men had side slits, some had front and back slits, some had only front slits.
Often worn with elaborately decorated, long, dangly belts (ceintures).Example images: 
Left: Herod and Salome from a Romanesque capital. Salome wears a tight fitting gown with long, tight sleeves and a full skirt. Herod seems to bedressed as a Byzantine nobleman.Right: Line drawing of the knight-and-lady embroidery on the Chelles Reliquary pouch. Both the lady and her knight seem to be wearingfashionably body-hugging garments, his is slit up the front and hers has long, dangling, decorated cuffs.Copyright ©2004-2010 Branwen Maura Townsend. Please email for permission to reproduce. jauncourt@gmail.com

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