MEDIEVAL WOMAN HOME PAGE
BASIC CLOTHING PATTERNS &
Common Stallholder Clothing Problems
The same concerns about wearing proper
medieval clothing at a stall or as a food vendor or as a musician or
performer crop up again and again. This page will address the most common
complaints about wearing and working in medieval clothing.
Medieval clothing is uncomfortable
and not practical. I hate the big sleeves and the corset is too tight.
I can't work like that!
You're not expected to! Big, wide sleeves were generally worn by
the upper classes, which you are not. Your sleeves would be tighter
fitting from the elbow to the wrist or wide enough to roll up. In
the middle ages, both men and women wore looser fitting tunics and
dresses that pulled on over the head and tightened at the waist with
a long, thin belt. The armholes were a little roomier at the shoulders
to permit workers full movement without restricting clothes. Think
of those comfy kaftans of the 70s and you're heading in the right
direction. You may like to lace your tunic up at the front for a tighter
fit, but you certainly don't have to. If you are lacing up,
you must lace your garment entirely closed, not with the wide criss-cross
lacing you might see in Disney movies. Corsets are completely not
medieval, so you won't be wearing one.
Shown above at right is Mickey, wearing
a plain white tunic with a shorter overtunic in a contrasting blue colour
which still leaves the hands free for working. Most medieval outfits
had at least two layers. If you are wearing two, this is another chance
for you to brighten things up with your colours. A blue dress over a
green one. A red dress over a brown one. A colourful hood! Your options
are almost unlimited!
I feel and look really stupid in a
Why should I wear one?
Ladies, no decent working class woman would leave her hair uncovered
in public! Not only was it regarded as unseemly, it gets tangled as
you work. Your veil or headscarf will not only enhance your overall
look, but will protect you from sunburn or cold. Food vendors, you
need something to tie your hair back with anyway to meet your workplace
health and safety guidelines, so a veil or scarf is just perfect for
that! You might feel silly at first, but as the compliments about
how much of a real medieval woman you look like start coming, you
may change your tune.
Shown at right is Annette, looking feminine
and keeping the elements off in a veil-and-wimple combination. More
hat, hood, headwear options and veil tying ideas can be found on the
I'm not wearing tights!
Men, if the thought of fitted hose doesn't appeal to you, try plain,
fitted drawstring trousers which are much like pyjama bottoms. For
the more adventurous, actual hose really isn't much more than that.
Good medieval colours for hose are black, navy, blue, green, brown,
burgundy and red. Red was by far the most popular choice. Men, check
FOR MEN page for
Having an outfit made is really expensive.
I'm on a budget here!
Think back to that comfy 70's kaftan... made in a light linen blend
or homespun cotton in a nice colour, it'll cost less than you think.
A very basic one for a man or woman has only two side seams. Spotlight
sells cotton/linen blends in nice colours for about $12.99/m and you
only need a couple of metres. You can possibly make one yourself or
talk a friend into it once they see what your pattern looks like.
It isn't as complicated as the ones you buy from the shop, which are
mostly fantasy. There are patterns and tutorials on the BASIC
CLOTHING PATTERNS & TUTORIALS page.
outfit looks boring.
What can I do to make it look better?
You can do exactly what real medieval people did. Put some thought
into your colour combinations and add some accessories- a coloured
leather pouch, an apron, felt hat or veil and why not some jewellery?
Both men and women wore cheap pewter badges, and so can you.
right, a 14th century hawking badge which sells for about $15.
you like, you can add a wrap-around cloak and fasten it with a brooch.
Your cloak can be just a rectangle, nothing fancy. Simple and yet fantastic-looking!
You can wear it year after year and it will last for a very long time.
Keep your mobile phone in a colourful drawstring leather pouch and choose
a colour which contrasts with your outfit. You can use a contrasting
colour for the drawstrings.