How To Make a Cotehardie or Gothic Fitted Gown THLady Medb ingen Echuid

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1 How To Make a Cotehardie or Gothic Fitted Gown THLady Medb ingen Echuid Introduction Cotehardie has become a widely used term to describe garments from the 14th and 15th centuries. In period, these garments were also known by other names such as cote, cotte, kirtle, or simply gown which seems to be the most common. Cotehardie appears to have been used more for a male garment. I believe gothic fitted gown is the best descriptive term for women, since gown can mean anything these days! I am more concerned with perfecting the look, but it is important to express what you are doing in a way that others can understand. As with many styles, this look went through adaptations and gradual changes. The look we are focusing on is really the second half of the 14th century and into the first half of the 15th century. There are many right ways to make a cotehardie or kirtle, and some depend on your exact era, region, and class. Here, the aim is to give you a basic pattern which you may use to create garb that is appropriate for you. These instructions will cover the 4 panel gown with basic sleeves. The 4 panel gown is widely present throughout period art, and you may later adapt your pattern into other styles if you wish. The gothic fitted gown, or cotehardie, was worn by all classes and all throughout Europe. It is a very versatile style, and with just a few subtle changes and with variable fabric choices and accessories, it was (and is) easily applied to many different lifestyles and environments. For working class, the later evolution of this look carried on well throughout the 15th century and was even worn underneath the later court gown evolutions. As a general trend throughout an entire era, the upper class would have the latest fashion and the working class would have older fashion, so you may keep this in mind when selecting your own look. Remember that fashion evolution progressed much more slowly than it does now, and many people would have newer gowns mixed into their wardrobe while still wearing some older gowns. Fabrics Fabrics used in period included a lot of wool, as well as linen and hemp. Based on what we currently know, wool was generally used as a main fabric, while linen was used for linings and undergarments. Silks and brocades were also used, especially for upper class and court fashion. When choosing your fabric, it is important to consider your comfort. While a fully lined wool gown looks really great, you might want a linen gown for summer in hot climates!

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3 *Neckline: Necklines varied and can be anywhere from off the shoulder up to the neck. *Sleeves: Sleeves were both short and long. Long sleeves were often very tightly fitted and could be made with or without buttons. Buttons are commonly seen going from wrist to elbow, though they are not always present. The Italians tended more toward voluminous sleeves, though long dangling tippets became popular in other areas as well. *Closure: This garment may close in front with buttons halfway down or all the way down (less common) or with lacing. It may also close on the sides or in the back. Buttons seem to be more common in the earlier part of this period, while lacing is more common later, though this is a gradual shift and not an absolute rule. The gown may have short sleeves or long sleeves. Many women are seen wearing separate pin on sleeves with their short sleeved gowns, though there are plenty of working women depicted wearing just the short sleeves over the undergown. *Colors: Cotehardies and kirtles existed in both solid colors and in parti colored variations. A parti colored cotehardie could have two colors, one on each side of the body, or it could be made as a quarter colored garment with alternating colors on each side and on each half of the sleeves. Prints and plaids are also present in period artwork, though not as common as solids. *Underdress / Shirt: The under gown is somewhat mysterious, but we know more about it during the later part of this period. It can be a type of chemise or shirt. It could be full length or shorter, fitted or more free flowing, so this is up to your preference. It is possible to wear a long sleeved cotehardie without an underdress, but the underdress will provide an extra layer to absorb sweat and preserve your previous gown. *Decorations: This is where you can really personalize your garment. Period decorations include embroidery, applique, beading, woven trim, and heraldic designs. You should look into the period and location you wish to replicate for ideas most applicable to you. Drafting and Cutting: When drafting, remember to add seam allowance. Standard seam allowances can be 1/2 to 5/8, though it can be as much or as little as you are comfortable with. It is also helpful to make a mockup before you begin your final dress. This will test your pattern and tell you where you should add or subtract any seam allowances. When referring to the following diagram, remember that this is 1/2 of the front, or roughly 1/4 the total width around your body.

4 Female: * Shoulder to hem * Waist to hem * Shoulder to shoulder * Armscye * Bust This is half of your front bust measurement. If you have a very large bust, you may want to try the dotted line extending the bust forward from the rest of the center front line. * Underbust * Waist * High Hip This is your high hip, found at the upper hip bone. * Low Hip This is the fullest part of your hip. * Shoulder to Bust * Bust to Underbust * Underbust to Waist * Waist to Low Hip

5 Male: * Shoulder to hem * Shoulder to shoulder * Armscye * Chest Optional: You may want to try the dotted line. * Waist * Hip This is the fullest part of your hip. * Shoulder to Chest * Chest to Waist * Waist to Hip

6 Sleeves: Sleeves can be drafted with a seam at the underarm or at the back of the arm. A seam at the back of the arm allows for an easier fit over the elbow and is best for buttons. For short sleeves, a seam at the underarm makes little difference. * Armscye * Bicep * Elbow * Wrist * Arm Length

7 Gores and Facings: Gores are not necessary but allow for a much fuller skirt. The following method is simple and results in little fabric waste. Use your waist to floor measurement to approximate the length of your gores, and cut a length of your fabric to this measurement. Fold your fabric in half lengthwise, then in half again. Cut this diagonally, and you will find that you now have three triangles and two half triangles. For a front closing kirtle, the full triangles will be your back and side gores, and the half triangles will be your facings. You may also use the half triangles as front gores. Gore placement is personalized, and you should place your gores where they flatter your body the best. Somewhere between waist and hip is the best area. The gores will need to be curved like the hem of your cotehardie. Measure the length from top to bottom and apply this throughout the gore. If you are creating facings, lay the half triangles across your front cotehardie pattern, with the wide part of the triangle at the top. You can then cut the facings to line up with the edge of your cotehardie. You will also need a facing for the back edge, which can often be cut from a scrap section. Sewing Instructions: These are basic instructions, designed based on my own sewing experience. As we are not sure of the order in which seams were sewn in period, we must default to the most logical and effective approach. 1. Sew fronts and backs together at shoulder seams.

8 2. Sew front and back facings together at shoulders and back facings at the back. 3. Sew facings to dress, right sides together. Turn and press. 4. If using sleeves with an underarm seam, attach them to the arm opening at this point. 5. Drape the cotehardie over yourself and confirm gore placement. 6. Attach each gore on one side. It matters not whether you attach the side gores to the front or the back, so long as you attach one side of each. 7. Sew your back seam, catching the other side of the back gore. 8. Sew your side seams, catching the other side of each side gore. 9. If using sleeves with a back seam, sew the sleeve seam. Leave the seam open below the elbow if attaching buttons. Then attach the sleeves to the dress. 10. Hem your sleeves. For buttons, you may want to include a facing. 11. Sew the front of the dress together. If you are using front buttons, make sure to allow some overlap for the buttons to line up when closed. 12. Mark buttonholes or lacing holes, and sew these. 13. Hem the bottom edge. Sources Boucher, Francois. 20,000 Years of Fashion: the History of Costume and Personal Adornment. New York: H. N. Abrams, Print. Cotte Simple: The elusive cotehardie as worn by women in the art of period. h ttp:// Cosgrave, Bronwyn. The Complete History of Costume & Fashion: from Ancient Egypt to the Present Day. New York: Checkmark, Print. Crowfoot, Elisabeth, Frances Pritchard, and Kay Staniland. Textiles and Clothing, C c Rochester, NY: Boydell, Print. Hope Greenberg: 15th cent. Dresses: A Portfolio of Images Netherton, Robin, and Gale R. Owen Crocker. Medieval Clothing and Textiles. Woodbridge: Boydell, Print. Newton, Stella Mary. Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince: a Study of the Years, Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Boydell, Print. Scott, Margaret. Medieval Dress & Fashion. London: British Library, Print.

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