A MEDIEVAL WOMAN'S LIFE - AT HOME
- BIRTHS - WEDDINGS - DIVORCE - DEATHS - MANNERS - EDUCATION - EMPLOYMENT
CLOTHES - ITEMS OF CLOTHING - DRESS ACCESSORIES FABRICS & SEWING BEAUTY, HEALTH & HYGIENE MY TALKS MY SEWING MY ARTIFACTS BIBLIOGRAPHY LINKS
Medieval Clothing Embellishments & Embroidery
JEWELLED BANDS & HEMS - EMBROIDERY - SPANGLES - PRESSED METAL SPANGLES
The finishing touches to a woman's garment defined who she was or in many cases, who she aspired to be. Sumptuary Laws fought alongside the clergy urging women to dress moderately and not above their station in life, but this was largely ignored by the rising merchant classes who were eager to mirror the fashions seen at court and worn by their social superiors. The upper classes, therefore, trimmed their clothing even more richly to combat this trend.
bands and hems
Many surcotes, like that shown in Campin's The Nativity, at left, painted in 1420, show a similar band at the sleeves and on the deep V of the neckline. Both of these appear to have a gold, metallic band with many small gemstones attached. The Nativity painting appears to show what could possibly be pearls edging the band also. A garment such as these would be worth quite a sum and certainly set a wealthy woman apart from the less well-off woman who might have a garment cut the same but without the trim.
on medieval clothing
Embroidery was used to provide finishing touches to almost any garment. A kirtle neck band, sleeve edges or hem or the edges of a mantle. Veils might also be embroidered at the edges. Popular art shows many surcotes with embroidered bands. Popular motifs included heraldry, mottos or phrases of love, animals, flowers and botanical themes and religious scenes and characters like the Virgin and Son or a patron saint.
The detail above from the 1445-1450 painting by Rogier van der Weyden of Saints Margaret And Apollonia shows embroidery, possibly gold thread, around the neckline of the garment. Another detail at right from the same painting also shows the bottom edge of a mantle with its heavy gold embroidery. The kirtle underneath and brocaded surcote can clearly be seen also.
are very few existent fragments of medieval embroidery remaining. A
beautiful sample of can be seen below at left, on an embroidered band.
The embroidery was sewn onto a separate strip of fabric which was then
stitched to the garment. Dated at the 13th century, it is a band of
fantastic animals in roundels embroidered with gold thread on silk twill.
The image at left shows small metal decorations sewn onto an altar cloth.
Copyright © Rosalie Gilbert
All text & photographs within this site are the property of Rosalie Gilbert unless stated.
Art & artifact images remain the property of the owner.
Images and text may not be copied and used without permission.