Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

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Clarenceboy
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Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by Clarenceboy »

Just wondered if anyone had any evidence or images of kirtles or doublets with cut underarm gussets? The sort of thing im talking about is seamed and intentional not rips or anything? I have seen some re-enactor clothing like this and just wondered if it was correct or a modern thing to allow more movement of the arms on a slightly less fitted garment?

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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

Yes but not English.
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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by Colin Middleton »

IIRC there isn't much evidence for it and as Marcus says it's not English. Mostly it's because we don't get the fit on our clothing correct.
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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by Handbag »

I do 14th C - this may or may not be useful to you.

the Moy bog gown normally attributed to late 14th century has gussests but not in the place most re-enactors place them - this construction really allows for freer movement and also a good tight fit several people have done dress diaries on this - here is one
http://matildalazouche.livejournal.com/

the Herjolfsnes finds in Norway offer a different approach to underarm tailoring - see here http://www.forest.gen.nz/Medieval/artic ... 8/H38.html

the pourpoint of charles blois also has arm gores to help with movement - another link for you http://www.forest.gen.nz/Medieval/artic ... blois.html

finally - the bocksten bog man (sweden) has construction with underarm gores - and once made (i have made several of this pattern) looks almost identical to tunics in the luttrell psalter and holkham bible so one could infer that a similar construction was used here too....
http://silverstah.com/parker_bocksten_tunic_2009.pdf

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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

Although my doublets are well fitted they just have sleeves that are then partially attached or tied in place because that's an Italain fashion, not because my wife is lazy. I don't know why it was a fashion, I did think that it might be ventilation in that Tuscan sunshine but I notice no difference in oakster freshness for wearing them. It was sugested to me that on men it was to mimic arming doublets but that sounds dodgy to me. I just think it was to be different.
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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by Friesian »

Just a question to Marcus & Colin specificly & others in general ;

What is an English style ?
There is so little evidence to go on (even the Eaton Collage wall paintings were carried out by foriegn artisans ), I have always (perhaps wrongly ?) assumed that this so called English style was, at best, as achievable as finding The Holly Grail !
I would consider it far safer to look at North European , (The very small amount of English sources together with French & Burgundian ), fashion as a whole rather than try to define an English style in its own right (?)

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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by Colin Middleton »

I did say "mostly"! :roll: If you're going to do that weird foreign stuff, you're going to be an exception! :wink:

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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

I did kinda assume that the "english" style was essentially Franco-Burgundian. I portray an Italian (and I know that there is no Italy so I have gone for a mix of Florentine and Venetian styles as they had the largest contingents visiting) and so the tight high collared doublets of germania and France and the padded shoulders of Flemish Burgundy are not part of my wardrobe. Hence my first post.
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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by wulfenganck »

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:......and so the tight high collared doublets of germania......
Hmm, maybe misunderstanding you, but you have quite an amount of german doublets without a high collar or any collar at all from around the 1450s onwards. Not the majority but a significant amount of illustrations.
I'd say the main difference between german and italian (and french, burgundian/flemish, english etc.) doublets are the arms: although you'll find lots of arms with open armpits and a laced slits from wrist up to the elbow or even higher, the sleeves always fit tight on the arm, neither puffy french or burgundian shoulders, nor loose fitting (upper) arms like italian doublets. Apart from that the majority of german doublets are laced in front, not buttoned. From the 1450s onwards there are examples of doublets with only a pair or three laces in front, leaving the doublet partially open to show the underwear. That turns into the "standard" southern german fashion of having the V-shaped doublets-front from the very late 1460s into german Renaissance of the 16th ct.

Concerning the underarm gussets on doublets in general: I'd say that better moveability is one of the reasons for doublets with open armpits.
Most doublets seem to have been cut in one piece, but that's only due to illustrations where there's always some doubt left. I came across a record about the orices for different garments by the council of Nuremberg around the 1450s (I'm at work, can't check it); there is a lot of variety in prices, which obviously points at a clothing range from rich to wealthy to average to poor etc. I find it quite logical to use as much fabric as possible to sew a cheap piece of clothing. Therefore a gusset or "multi-pieced" garment parts in general for a low-budget garment seems plausible to me.

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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by Adam R »

Marcus Woodhouse wrote: It was sugested to me that on men it was to mimic arming doublets but that sounds dodgy to me. I just think it was to be different.
Hi Marcus, To add weight to your counter argument - what evidence of laced sleeves on arming doublets are there? Most of the pictures I have seen (Northern European and "Italian") have sewn on sleeves (presumably to better support the arm harness which is tied to it). I suspect that the tying of sleeves was simply a fashion and allowed for less ripping and a good close fit!
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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

V shaped doublets which open to show the shirt are also quite common in northern italy from 1460 onwards, I bow to your better knowledge of germanic clothing omae.
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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

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Marcus Woodhouse wrote:I did kinda assume that the "english" style was essentially Franco-Burgundian. I portray an Italian (and I know that there is no Italy so I have gone for a mix of Florentine and Venetian styles as they had the largest contingents visiting) and so the tight high collared doublets of germania and France and the padded shoulders of Flemish Burgundy are not part of my wardrobe. Hence my first post.
Thanks Marcus , I thought for a moment you & Colin had unearthed a stash of English sources that you were keeping to yourselves whilst grinning & pointing at the rest of us :D

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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by Colin Middleton »

Alas, no. But if you can find me one, I'm quite happy to laugh and point! :twisted:

Like Marcus, I work on the basis that English fashion was broadly like the northern French styles (though we appear to have had more of a taste for 'subdued' styles than the French). There are a few English sources floating around, but you they tend to be the odd one here and there. Also, many of them are produced abroad for the English market, which places further doubt on their use. We do know that there were fashion differences between England and France (such as the 'sunburst garter' design that the French liked to have on their hosen), but for the most part, they appear to be similar.
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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

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Colin Middleton wrote:Alas, no. But if you can find me one, I'm quite happy to laugh and point! :twisted:

Like Marcus, I work on the basis that English fashion was broadly like the northern French styles (though we appear to have had more of a taste for 'subdued' styles than the French). There are a few English sources floating around, but you they tend to be the odd one here and there. Also, many of them are produced abroad for the English market, which places further doubt on their use. We do know that there were fashion differences between England and France (such as the 'sunburst garter' design that the French liked to have on their hosen), but for the most part, they appear to be similar.
Hi Colin , I will dig out a quote from a letter writen by a foriegn diplomat about the English fashions of the 1460s .........Its quite interesting :thumbup:

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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

Is it the one about women kissing and going to the pub and men standing around bareheaded?
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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by wulfenganck »

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:V shaped doublets which open to show the shirt are also quite common in northern italy from 1460 onwards, I bow to your better knowledge of germanic clothing omae.
Now it's up to me bowing to your better knowledge if italian clothing!

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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

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Marcus Woodhouse wrote:Is it the one about women kissing and going to the pub and men standing around bareheaded?
No ! Your referance sounds far mor interesting !!!!

The one I was going to search for is in 'Chroniques d Angleterre ' .............Will have to look another time now as time has taken over

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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

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They both sound really interesting! :geek:
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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

I'll type it out when I have time its from a Venetian who is very much taken in with being kissed by lots of ladies (and a number of men), astounded at how much ale gets drunk (and at how bad the wine is) and deeply impressed at the piety he sees but confused by a lack of head wear being worn during Mass.
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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by Friesian »

Colin Middleton wrote:They both sound really interesting! :geek:
"And at this time the men also took to wearing clothes shorter than they had ever done ,to such a degree that one could see the shape of their buttocks & genitals , in the same way as people usually dress monkeys "

:lol:

It also goes on to condem how yeomen are dressing above their station ( wearing silk with pointy hats & toes (my words not his !)) .The passage can be found in an article by Ann Sutton called 'Dress & Fashion c1470 which was printed in 1998 as part of a collection of articles in 'Daily Life In The Late Middle Ages' ISBN0-7509-1587-0

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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by Colin Middleton »

Marcus, thank you.

Friesian, thanks for that, very etnertaining. I'll keep my eyes open for the book too.

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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

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From " A Relation of the Island of England" written by an unkown Venetian nobleman for the Papal court circa 1480.
"Women as well as men are as free with kisses as they are handshakes and will kiss the lips as soon as pat a man upon his back...for the most part, both men and women of all ages (are) being handsome and well porportioned... they (be) great lovers of themselves, and of everything that is belonging to them. They think that there are no other men than themselves and no other world but this England; when they therefore see a handsome stranger, they say 'he looks like an Englishman'; and when ever they partake of a delicacy with a foreignor, they ask him 'is there such a thing as great in their country?' and if a foreignor be of reknown they do say 'it is a great pity that he should not be an Englishman'...they take great pleasure in having a quanity of excellent victuals, and of also remaining at table for a long time, drinking vast quantities of ale but being sparing with their wine which is of not of the same quality of our own except when they drink it at another's expense(!)...Few people of means keep wine in their own household, but buy it from taverns of which there are many, this is not only done by men but by ladies even of distinction. ...They drink often outside thinking it can be no greater honour than to be seen confired or recieved than the inviting of others to eat and drink with them; they would sooner spend five ducuts to provide an entertainment than a groat in assisting him in distress.
...They all wear fine clothes, are extremely polite in all but language... they do have the incredible courtesy of remaining with their heads uncovered, with admirable grace, whilst they do talk to each other even when at church...They appear gifted with understandings, and are very quick at everything they apply their minds to, (although) few, excepting clergy and lawyers, are addicted to the study of letters. All attend Mass every day, with women showing great piety in carrying long rosaries in their hands and any who can (read) taking the Office of Our Lady with them."

There is more but it doesn't touch upon what this thread has been about such as the wealth of the country, the number of churches and religious houses, the quality of the gold working, the number of theives and skill at arms etc.
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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by Colin Middleton »

Thanks Marcus.
Marcus Woodhouse wrote:they do have the incredible courtesy of remaining with their heads uncovered, with admirable grace, whilst they do talk to each other even when at church.
What do people make of this line? It sounds like we shouldn't be wearing hats as much as we think we need to!

Or does it mean that we should take them off for conversations as a sign of respect?

Many thanks
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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

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Well I have long pondered this as there are just as many images of men not wearing hats as there are with them wearing them, however its also apparent that while our anonymous venetian guest sees nothing exceptional with men chatting away and conducting affairs of state and trade whilst attending Mass (which says something about the religious attitudes of the time as well) he is quite astonished that they are not wearing hats when they talk to each other in public. That, to me at least suggests that it was something he found strange and therefore was not commonplace.
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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by Alan E »

Colin Middleton wrote:Thanks Marcus.
Marcus Woodhouse wrote:they do have the incredible courtesy of remaining with their heads uncovered, with admirable grace, whilst they do talk to each other even when at church.
What do people make of this line? It sounds like we shouldn't be wearing hats as much as we think we need to!

Or does it mean that we should take them off for conversations as a sign of respect?

Many thanks
Sounds to me like they removed their hats to greet each other and then (the unusual bit being commented on) did not replace them, but remained uncovered as a courtesy.

Removal of the hat (for men) is a conventional assumption that the other party is worthy of such respect, remaining uncovered signifies continued assumption of the other's higher quality ("incredible courtesy"); putting the hat back on is an assumption of equality ... I think?
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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

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Marcus Woodhouse wrote:From " A Relation of the Island of England" written by an unkown Venetian nobleman for the Papal court circa 1480.
"Women as well as men are as free with kisses as they are handshakes and will kiss the lips as soon as pat a man upon his back...for the most part, both men and women of all ages (are) being handsome and well porportioned... they (be) great lovers of themselves, and of everything that is belonging to them. They think that there are no other men than themselves and no other world but this England; when they therefore see a handsome stranger, they say 'he looks like an Englishman'; and when ever they partake of a delicacy with a foreignor, they ask him 'is there such a thing as great in their country?' and if a foreignor be of reknown they do say 'it is a great pity that he should not be an Englishman'...they take great pleasure in having a quanity of excellent victuals, and of also remaining at table for a long time, drinking vast quantities of ale but being sparing with their wine which is of not of the same quality of our own except when they drink it at another's expense(!)...Few people of means keep wine in their own household, but buy it from taverns of which there are many, this is not only done by men but by ladies even of distinction. ...They drink often outside thinking it can be no greater honour than to be seen confired or recieved than the inviting of others to eat and drink with them; they would sooner spend five ducuts to provide an entertainment than a groat in assisting him in distress.
...They all wear fine clothes, are extremely polite in all but language... they do have the incredible courtesy of remaining with their heads uncovered, with admirable grace, whilst they do talk to each other even when at church...They appear gifted with understandings, and are very quick at everything they apply their minds to, (although) few, excepting clergy and lawyers, are addicted to the study of letters. All attend Mass every day, with women showing great piety in carrying long rosaries in their hands and any who can (read) taking the Office of Our Lady with them."

There is more but it doesn't touch upon what this thread has been about such as the wealth of the country, the number of churches and religious houses, the quality of the gold working, the number of theives and skill at arms etc.
Nothing changes then !

Thanks for posting that for us to enjoy :P

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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

Is removing head wear a English tradition then?
Franco-Burgundian, Italian and Scadanavian pictures of peasents giving homage at the manorial courts or taking orders from bailiffs, reeves, stewerds, etc do not show them doffing theirs hats (if they are wearing them in the first place that is.)
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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by Alan E »

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:Is removing head wear a English tradition then?
Franco-Burgundian, Italian and Scadanavian pictures of peasents giving homage at the manorial courts or taking orders from bailiffs, reeves, stewerds, etc do not show them doffing theirs hats (if they are wearing them in the first place that is.)
It's a bit OT from under-arm gussets :$ , but for example ... the image of the miniature by Rogier van der Weyden (1447-8). Philip the Good of Burgundy and courtiers shown here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaperon_%28headgear%29 appears (to me) to show most of the courtiers removing their headgear as a sign of respect. One at least appears to be holding his hat in his hands?

Edit to add another example: Two men holding headgear respectfully in hands in the The Mérode Altarpiece at http://www.larsdatter.com/strawhats.htm. Adoration of the shepherds in same link shows a third removing his headgear.
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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

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Good enough for me.
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Re: Underarm gussets on kirtles and doublets

Post by narvek »

Eustache Deschamps was given right of not removing his hat while in presence of french king, due to his ugly baldness.

Not mentioned in the link, but true:) Source: http://www.kosmas.cz/knihy/108670/fortuny-kolo-vrtkave/
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