21 July 2009

Sleeveless surcoat, first fitting

The sleeveless surcoat is shaping up quite nicely, thanks to the wonder of rectangular construction. Here I've got all the main seams just pinned together so I can check the fit.

My main inspiration for this project is the attendants in these two images from the Manesse Codex, and also this one from the Luttrell Psalter. The Luttrell Psalter is a somewhat later manuscript, and high fashion has clearly moved on to the iconic sideless surcoat, but the older, more generously cut style is still seen on this working woman. For comparison, the Manesse Codex also has many images of contemporary but somewhat higher-status versions of the sleeveless surcoat (e.g., 1 2 3).

Although I haven't cut the shoulders or the neckline yet, I think it's already looking pretty good, at least when belted. Hanging straight down, it looks a little skimpy, because the fullness is concentrated at the sides. The extra material hanging off the front and back main panels is enough to do front and back gores, although they won't be quite as wide as the side gores, and the piecing will unfortunately require a horizontal seam. However, I think it's the best option, and it will use every available inch of material.