More neglected bits


Today my husband unearthed another long-untouched half-way costume thing. This one I have even less justification for making than the bellydance costume. Yes, some years ago I made a mediaeval dress. The things that seem appealing when one has PhD candidacy exams to avoid researching…


Hand rolled hem along the neckline.

I don’t do historical costuming, generally. I find it both fascinating and annoying. Especially the obsession with “authenticity.” This drives me nuts mostly because, especially as you get past the last couple hundred years, the information we have about fashion becomes so intensely sketchy. Art, which may or may not be realistic. A few (very, very few) surviving extant pieces. How much variation in style, ways of doing things, might have existed at ANY point, with no surviving indication at all?


And yet, I totally get the obsession with what is actually documented and recorded. And with using authentic methods and materials. I totally get the urge to hand-sew an entire costume. This is not hand-sewn, although the hems are all hand-finished. Get a load of of my hand-worked eyelets. With spiral lacing. I was getting pretty decent at them by the end. Most of them were done while my husband was playing Dragon Age, if I recall correctly.


This was meant to be the under-dress with a surcoat. It’s cut from a zero-waste plan, using all rectangles and triangles, although I wish I’d done the godets in the skirt a little differently. I never did get the surcoat done. (My terminology is also about three years rusty… I did know the proper names for what I was trying to make at one point.)

I kinda wish I had an event to wear it to, but that doesn’t seem terribly likely to happen at the moment.


Front inset.


Sleeves: long and ruchy


There is actually a gusset behind the laces. Somewhere.


I pretty much suck at selfies, but didn’t have the brain-power for proper photos. And we don’t have regular Internet at the new house yet. So phone pics it is.



Filed under Sewing

13 responses to “More neglected bits

  1. chuleenan

    Love the lacing! You should wear it to some summer event. It’s be a shame to just leave it in the closet.

  2. LinB

    Hang on to it! Your girls may need it someday. Women in centuries past kept gowns for generations, passing them down to daughters and poor relations to be re-worked in whatever was the new style (that’s part of the reason there are so few actual garments extant). All the work to handweave that fabric was respected. Plus, now you know the need for all that lacing: bigger gals needed bigger dresses, but the same dress might have to fit a tiny relative, cinched way in and with lots of tucks in the hem of the skirt.

  3. YOUR HAND ROLLED HEMS omg. I’m just going to go oogle them some more.

    Also, I am going to send you my big burgundy wool coat and you can hand stitch the buttonholes for me, kay? ๐Ÿ˜€

    • I did the bound buttonholes on both the red and black coats I made a couple of years ago by hand, too… Not fast but less frustrating than messing it up by machine. Tell ya what, come hang out, I’ll break out the Bailey’s, we’ll do it together. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Wow. Just wow. That is a heck of a a lot of eyelets, and those hems! Color me impressed, and yes, I have the same thought about and issues with historical costuming.

  5. I am so impressed! I too made a medieval dress when I was at university and didn’t know how to sew. Mine was much, much uglier than yours however. In fact it looked so much like a sack that I added front darts. I then went to my first SCA event and was told quite promptly that darts weren’t period. Needless to say that I never really got into the scene and found a friendlier place to hang out. Your dress is just gorgeous. The lacing, eyelets and hems are lovely.

  6. Wow that’s impressive and definitely hang onto it as I agree your girls will probably use it for party or play or something. Or just go medieval revival-esque. Who knows.

    My folks are early music musicians so I wanted, longed for (etc) something like this and the dress it goes over (or whatever tis called) when I was a kid. Sigh. lol.

  7. Wow. Those eyelets, those hems, just wow. This is really beautiful. If it was mine I’d dye it some luscious color and just wear it on my gothy days. It’s lovely!

  8. Next time I hear about a medieval feast I am calling you up so you can dust that baby off. I am particularly intrigued by the “no waste cutting” and can’t imagine how you did that.

  9. I like its sackcloth look, defintely keep it, you never know when a medieval dress will come in handy.

  10. yentair

    I really, really, really want to know how many eyelets there are in total!

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