Friday, March 21, 2014

Moselund Kirtle

The Moselund Kirtle

Top, Extant Garment; Bottom, My Reconstruction

Crafted and documented by Tiarna Bránn mac Finnchad

The Find
The Moselund gown was discovered in a bog 1884, in the Moselund Region of Central Jutland (Denmark), on a male bog body.  The body is stated to have been 180cm (6 feet) tall, and has been radiocarbon dated to between 1050-1155AD.  It does not seem like there has been much in the way academic studies on the findjust about every page I have found refers to Ancient Danish Textiles from Bogs and Burials by Margrethe Hald[1]. 
The original museum reconstructionsince the threads had dissolved and the garment was in all of its separate pieceswas as some kind of strange trouser suit with a matching cape[i].  In 1938-1939[2] it was re-examined and sewn together in its current configuration. 

Central Jutland
The Moselund find is a tunic, corresponding to Nockert Type 2[i] or Nørlund Type Ic[ii], with front and back slits.  It is a fairly loose fit, though with close shoulders, and semi set-in sleeves (complete with S sleeve heads).  It appears to be mid-calf in length (approximately 49 inches in length, according to my calculations).  There appears to be little to no signs of wear before it ended up in the bog, with its unfortunate wearer.
It has been declared as the only surviving example of the blaðakyrtill (of the Icelandic Sagas)[iii].  Looking into the term, kyrtill does mean kirtlenothing odd therebut blað means leaf, blade, or skirt (of a kirtle).  Blaðra can also mean to flutter to and fro, which may be an apt description of the skirts of this garment when being worn in the wind or whilst riding.[iv]

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

16th Century Irish Brat

Shaggy Brat


Photo From McClintock's

The brat was one of the quintessential garments of the Irish.  For a while now I have been wanting to make the shaggy variety with the thick layer of fringe at the neck and along the straight side.
Description of the 16th Century Brat
This form of brat, or cloak, is semi-circular(ish) or rectangular, and has a layer of fringe along the straight edge, with the fringe being thicker towards the neck.  It seems that it was also often either dagged or ragged along the bottom edge, in addition to, or instead of the fringe.  Something I noticed (after finishing mine) was that the fringe in at least one case appears to be set on the inside, and the fabric is turned back while it is being worn.  The length of the brat seems to have run the gamut from barely knee length, to nearly brushing the ground.
Photo From McClintock's

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Wound Man

The Wound Man Illustrations
The Wound Man is a form of illustration which appeared in late 15th through 16th century medical texts.  This poor, illustrated fellow is covered in various injuries—arrows and swords stuck in him, clubs and hammers imbedded in his skin, and spears perforating various parts of his anatomy—all of which were (theoretically) treatable by a learnéd surgeon.

The Wound Man, from the Feldtbuch der Wundartzney by Hans von Gersdorff, 1517.  Oil on Canvas.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Henrican Men's Shirt, 1530s

Henrican Shirt, 1530s

This project is creating a new men’s shirt for Etain.  She’s after something from the later Henrican period, and likes the tall, pleated collar with small ruffles.  I finally found a excellent article on the subject of how to make these shirts (first in the bibliography), allowing me to have more options than the one Elizabethan style I used previously.
Portrait of a Young Man, 1530s, Flemish.  Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, Belgium
           The style is characterized by having a standing collar with a substantial amount of fabric pleated into it, and sleeves that were not pleated into the cap (but were at the wrist—usually).  They may or may not have had the pleats sandwiched between two more pieces of fabric, and small ruffles at the top, although the ruffles are more common now than they were previously.  The sleeves are drawn up, almost to the neckline.  The neckline is open in the front, although also at this time, and earlier, a side (or no visible) opening was common.

Often there was some form of embroidery, usually blackwork (whether it was actually black or not, there are examples of red, and gold) worked embroidery at the collar.  Other types used would have been pattern darning and forms of smocking.  If the embroidery was stitched directly onto the shirt, the individual pleats would have been used instead of individual threads for the counted work.

Leather Costrel Documentation

Leather Costrel

A leather costrel embellished with the West Kingdom populace badge.  Submitted for judging in the Heraldry in any Mode Competition at Oerthan Winter Coronet, AS 47.

A costrel is a barrel shaped bottle used for carrying liquids—water, or possibly wine and beer.  Costrels were often made of leather and sealed with wax or pitch; although ceramic examples have been found[i].  Examples exist from the late 1300’s at the latest, and was used up through the 18th century, at the earliest.  They ranged in size from tiny ones holding maybe a cup[ii], to gigantic versions which may have been used to collect wine taxes[iii].

In addition; the Oxford English Dictionary has this to say about the costrel: “A vessel for holding or carrying wine or other liquid; a large bottle with an ear or ears by which it could be suspended from the waist (whence the antiquarian designation “pilgrim’s bottle”) or small wooden keg similarly used, in which sense it is still in dialect use.” The earliest reference to costrels in the OED was by Sir Ferumbr, in 1380.