Friday, April 8, 2011

Time to sew!

My person in the the SCA was created all because of a painting, which is as good a reason as any I suppose but does sort of limit my clothing options if I want to be true to my inspiration.  It's all about the 1430's style houppelandes.  I was lucky enough to take a wonderful class on houppelandes at the last Atlantia university where I learned about an actual, real live extant houppelande!  No more of this theorizing about full circles with holes cut into them (which never made sense to me and didn't work right when I tried it anyway), now we Know.  Well, we Know at least how one was made, which is something.  See the houpeland of Jan Zhorelecky.  There is a line drawing of the pattern here which was included in the class handout but I'm not really sure where this originated as I can't find it in the Czech website.  Oh that I had a Tardis to translate all these languages for me!

Anyway.  Here is The Madgelen Reading, which I include because she is reason for my persona (late 14th cen/early 15th cen Flemmish):

A full length of the view of the dress I am currently aiming for:

A close-up view of something similar showing a possible collar option:

The thing to note here is that these gowns are clearly all wool or velvet.  And fur-lined. Totally unsuitable for wear in Virginia in the summer.  So.  Not so much going to be doing that.  A tropical wool would be perfectly comfortable, but I would have to line it in pretty substantial linen to get even close to the right drape, so rather than have a double layer and it still be too thin I'm just going to make this first experiment with the pattern in linen.  The lady in red's dress does not seem too substantial, so I think if I use some nice heavy-ish linen I already have and do a nice deep hem facing I should be ok.  Not perfect and not 100% authentic, but neither is wearing a houppeland in Virginia humidity.  The linen is a nice blue color, and I think I will do a collar and cuff facing in black velveteen.  That will give me some more bulk, look a little richer than more linen, and still be washable.

All that's left is to get myself a nice wide belt.  I have a black leather belt with nice pewter belt that I can use, but that's technically my husbands.  He doesn't wear it often, but I really should have a nice belt of my own for this.  Besides, it gives me an excuse to tablet weave something and go belt fitting shopping.  I've just got to decide what size silk to use, or if this silk and wool blend that I already have will work well for a belt.

Now I shall bust out my handy graph paper and figure out how I will cut this thing out. 

* updated to add that I got the cutting layout sorted out but I am now cranky at whoever at the local Hancock did my fabric cutting.  The 6 yards I had bought, which would have been enough, was cut so crookedly that I really only have 5 1/2 yards of fabric, which is barely enough.    Grr.  I think I can do this still.  If the measurements given for the original panel widths are correct, all will be well.  Otherwise I will end up with lots of narrow blue triangles.  And no sleeves.  I really do think a 204 inch hem is enough though.


  1. The drawing...supposedly there's an article being translated from Czech but I haven't seen it.
    James, Bryan. "Prague Style Houpelande". 2009. February 21 2010. .

  2. Ack! the link got stripped! (Copied it straight from documentation, which was MLA format and thus had brackets around it, which blogspot decided were meant to be html...)

  3. Or... I'm an idiot and didn't notice you already linked to it. Serves me right for being helpful. :)

  4. Thank you! I figured that's where you got the diagram, or the same place they got it. The Czech site has an English version but I still can't find any details about the houppeland I'm still sort of stunned that all those triangles are only 10 inches wide at the bottom, at least according to the measurements James cites.

  5. I think it makes sense. The one I did extrapolating from that pattern only had 8 pieces, so they were larger, but it still had a 226" hem...

    So if you're doing linen, are you doing anything to "stuff" the pleats? as that'd be my one hesitation on that front, is that the front is NOT going to lay right, not so much the hem...

  6. I think I'm going to flatline the top somehow to give it a little more body. This is pretty much a mockup of the pattern, the linen is pretty heavy but I know it's not going to be quite right. Right now I'm trying to decide if I should flatline each itty bitty wedge, or do the front and back in quarters. I suspect it won't fall quite right if I do it in quarters, but it would be ever so much easier. Either way, I think that should give it enough body to behave well enough to see where I need to modify the deign to work on me and still have something wearable this summer.