Wednesday, February 9, 2011

12th Century Clothing

It's harder than you think.

Unless, of course, you've attempted to study and recreated it yourself. I'm not sure quite how long it's been a dream of mine to have a historically accurate "Marian dress"--but it's been awhile. As I hope my readers know, lovely as she is, this person is going to be of no help whatsoever.

And these might be of some help, but the truth is I couldn't for the life of me create a pattern from these pictures, and to be perfectly honest, the Robin Hood legend should not be known for complete accuracy (so really, the BBC deserves no flak at all for ignoring historical accuracy altogether).

After a really long wait, I finally have this lovely pattern from Patterns of Time. I was surprised to find that the instructions were in French. Luckily, they are also translated to English. Aha! So I now have all I need to get my heart's desire.

But considering my stickler instincts, I now have discovered that I have yet more research to do. Knowing that there were ridiculous sleeves isn't enough. Now I have to somehow come up with the appropriate fabrics from modern stores. Because, like the wonderful directions these are, they have instructed me on which fabrics these clothes would have been made of.

To quote Fortinbras, the sight is dismal. I visited a local fabric store and found that the silk selection probably has a grand total of 15 whatever-they're-called in and there's probably only 3 or 4 100% linen ones. As one might imagine, the color options are therefore not that great.

So, I must become an expert on silk, and possibly linen. Because I'm likely to be buying it through the internet. And maybe dying it as well.

The color options at the store also got me thinking about what kind of combination I'm going to want. I like red and green, because they're both colors I see Marian wearing in Forest of Lies. But I think blue would also be acceptable. Anyway, I need 5 yards for an outer garment, 4 yards apiece for two undergarments (if I decide to make both), and something like 4 yards for a mantle (cloak). The pattern suggests colors that are "bright, lively, and uniform." I'm also prompted to mix colors.

I visited the library with my mother, and discovered something: right next to the books about how to get into colleges, smash ACTs, earn scholarships, and the like, is the fashion section. And, in this fashion section, are some lovely historical books explaining clothing of the western world, complete with coloured pictures. Score!

After dragging my booty home, this ensues on my floor (well, the picture is on my bedspread, but I did really open them up like this on the floor).

Ah, compare and contrast and absorb...and does the research never end?

I have a feeling this is going to take awhile.



Cobalt said...

As far as color goes, have you seen this book?

It might be worth looking into, if you want a historically accurate color. (It's mainly about blue, but I'm sure it would have a chapter or so on the twelfth century.)

Nairam said...

Wow, that's neat! I wonder if my library has it...

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