I'm getting ready for my next sewing project (other than the blasted hose, which hardly rise to the level of a project IMO, except in the whole finding-help-with-pattern aspect of the thing), which will be a kirtle. So far the plan is to do this in linen, as linen is less expensive than wool, will be comfy at Pennsic, and I have some I am willing to commit to a gown at my current size.
Anyway, I've pretty well decided to go with the waist-seam method of doing this, with trapezoidal skirt panels similar to those shown in the MOL book, as that will be much easier to fit on my self with minimal-to-no outside help. Which brings me to the questions. The bodice. I've been looking at paintings to get the best idea I can of where all the seam lines should be and have run across something strange (to me anyway). In nearly all of the artwork there is a facing or something around the neck that I don't tend to see included on the reproductions of these gowns. You can see it quite clearly here, in a detail from Rogier van der Weyden's Descent from the Cross:
It also looks like there is a small raglan-type seam at the arm. I can't be quite sure if it's just in the facing piece, or if that's actually actually how the sleeve is shaped. It (the raglan-looking seam I mean) would actually make sense if the facing bit was a narrow shoulder strap extending from the back, or cut separately and attached to both front and back, rather like what you see on some later period bodices. In a larger view of the picture, you can see the same angled seam front and back. One thing there clearly is NOT is a seam at the top of the shoulder. Again, this isn't the only place I've seen this sort of seaming in paintings, it seems rather more typical than exceptional, though I've found examples showing a regular shoulder seam as well. (the other thing I really like about this picture is that is appears she's using both eyelets AND lacing rings, with the transition between the two at the waist)
Here's a good back view of this sort of gown, another van der Wyden, this one a detail from "The Presentation at the Temple." Here you can see that the angled seem goes down all the way into the armscye at least:
So, what does all this mean? Is it a sort of raglan sleeve? Or just a separate strap bit? Is the seam around the neck a facing or just a line of stitching or something else? If the strap is separate, I can see where the extra bit around the neck opening would be helpful (it would be helpful regardless really). Should I try this? Or just do the easy seam-over-shoulder bodice?