Wide Belt for 15thC Gown

Making, Pictures, Queries, Resources

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
Cecily
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:24 pm
Location: Surrey

Wide Belt for 15thC Gown

Post by Cecily »

I've made a flared 15thC gown in (blue) wool (with v. dark brown collar & cuffs). It now needs a wide belt to wear under the bust. 1)Does anyone have any 'authentic' ideas on how to keep it up? I'm tall & my waist is smaller than my ribcage so a fake leather belt I've tried out keeps slipping down! 2)I'm planning to make a fabric belt with proper metal clasps. Would it be right to use the same material as the trims on the gown? (I may eventually embroider a simple pattern on another) And how long should the belt be? Sarah Thursfield's Medieval Tailor's Asst P 217 says it should reach the ground, but I wonder if that's a misprint. 3)Also I would like to wear the gown this weekend if it's chilly at Cressing Temple -MSS event- so does anyone have any suggestions for acceptable (temporary) fixings other than clasps? I thought of lacing points at the back or side, or even plain brass pins, though I wonder if they might be a bit of a liability. THANKS!

User avatar
Karen Larsdatter
Posts: 462
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 8:56 pm
Location: Virginia
Contact:

Re: Wide Belt for 15thC Gown

Post by Karen Larsdatter »

I'm not 100% sure which type of 15th century gown you mean. I'm going to assume you mean one of the styles with the V-shaped collar (what we typically call "Burgundians" in the U.S.).
Cecily wrote:1)Does anyone have any 'authentic' ideas on how to keep it up? I'm tall & my waist is smaller than my ribcage so a fake leather belt I've tried out keeps slipping down!
The belt should be fabric, as far as I know; I haven't seen examples of this style of belt in leather. http://larsdatter.com/belts.htm has links to some examples, and http://www.larsdatter.com/paston.htm features descriptions of "girdles" from the Paston Letters.

Soper Lane offers a booklet on weaving wide girdles. Gina B has some of her work in this style online -- see http://www.et-tu.com/ginb/gallery/g3.html and http://www.et-tu.com/ginb/gallery/g8.html and http://www.et-tu.com/ginb/gallery/g9.html
Cecily wrote:2)I'm planning to make a fabric belt with proper metal clasps. Would it be right to use the same material as the trims on the gown? (I may eventually embroider a simple pattern on another) And how long should the belt be? Sarah Thursfield's Medieval Tailor's Asst P 217 says it should reach the ground, but I wonder if that's a misprint.
Again ... I'm not 100% sure I'm thinking of the same kind of belt that you mean. If you mean the kind I'm thinking of, they do vary in length, from just a little more than the actual waist circumference (like this portrait) to quite a bit longer than that. Hard to really say what's exactly "right."

I wouldn't use the same fabric, or even the same color; these seem to be done in a color that contrasts from the gown (although sometimes the same color as the fur). You'll find the illustrations at http://cadieux.mediumaevum.com/burgundi ... rence.html to be helpful for ideas.
Cecily wrote:3)Also I would like to wear the gown this weekend if it's chilly at Cressing Temple -MSS event- so does anyone have any suggestions for acceptable (temporary) fixings other than clasps? I thought of lacing points at the back or side, or even plain brass pins, though I wonder if they might be a bit of a liability.
Lacing on the gown seems to appear in some of the illustrations at http://cadieux.mediumaevum.com/burgundi ... rence.html
Last edited by Karen Larsdatter on Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Cecily
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:24 pm
Location: Surrey

wide belt for 15thC Gown

Post by Cecily »

Yes, you're right; I do mean a Burgundian gown with a deep V neckline. Thanks for all that info; Gina's weaving and the buckles etc are beautiful! I shall have to opt for simpler weaving and plain metalwork as I'm not supposed to be quite so wealthy, but I understand more of what the Pastons were corresponding about now that I've seen those pictures.
When I spoke of lacing/points I was thinking of using them on the 'temporary' girdle rather than the gown. One of the paintings seemed to show a very wide belt with side lacing so maybe that would do until I can sort out a woven one.

User avatar
Colin Middleton
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2037
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:31 pm
Location: Sheffield
Contact:

Post by Colin Middleton »

I recall some-one on here mentioning references to a belt 'lined with leather' or something like that. This implys that such belts may be stiffened. I suspect that the friction between the fabrics should keep it in place, just don't take deep breaths :wink:

Good luck.
Colin

"May 'Blood, blood, blood' be your motto!"

Image

Fair Lady Aside
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:57 pm
Location: New Hampshire
Contact:

Post by Fair Lady Aside »

Gina Barrett made a lovely tablet woven silk belt for me.

This the one it's based on:

http://fair-lady-aside.blogspot.com/200 ... rming.html

This is the completed woven piece. It's drop dead gorgeous.

http://fair-lady-aside.blogspot.com/200 ... plete.html

My biggest issue right now is the buckle. I ordered a custom one from Bractea back in September. It was supposed to be done in December, then March, and well now it's April and still no buckle. It's been started, I just don't know when it will be completed. At this rate, I could have waited for the fellow that Gina had initially mentioned.

Gina's Silkwork Shop
Jenn Reed
Fidelité jusqu'au bout

GinaB
Posts: 129
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 10:07 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Post by GinaB »

Sorry I missed this thread (death in the family).

You would be best to have a fabric girdle; woven is ideal, but you can see in some paintings what appears to be a very nice piece of brocade or damask fabric made into a girdle. This is (in my opinion) obvious as being a cut piece of larger fabric because the pattern is 'cut' at the sides, as opposed to being part of an integral design. Of course for this, you have to assume that your status can afford the silk, and is able to wear it :wink:

You can use a simpler piece of fabric; such as a velvet or a silk, in a plain colour, which would work for most levels - there are many depictions of girdles where the weave type cannot be discerned, although extant items tend to be woven in one piece.

Leather is not ideal for the wide girdle. Fabric will stay in place; my waist is also smaller and I have never had any trouble with a TW girdle. If you use a cut piece of fabric you may like to stiffen that with an interlining of coarse linen - but only if you are having a 'short' girdle - ie one where the ends meet. (I've never seen a depiction which made it obvious that the girdle was lined, so if any were, it is only where it can't be seen). There's not usually the need to stiffen with leather (in fact the tablet woven girdles usually don't need any stiffening at all, but some body shapes may find it neccessary). However, there is evidence of a girdle lined with leather, but as it is left to a man in a will, it may well be that this is a sword girdle and the leather was neccessary to carry the wieght of the sword or something similar.

I do know of an extant wide girdle in Copenhagen which is leather; however this is assumed to be the type to go with the earlier houppeland type of gown which is much fuller, and the belt worn a little differently. (It may also be more of a regional look). Other wider girdles of this type which survice are all woven.

I have seen lacing in depictions of narrower, waist girdles (worn over the kirtle), but these do still seem to have metal fittings which the laces are then threaded through. (Do you have the reference to the image you mean? - I'd love to see it!).

I think, that for a temporary measure, you'd be good to go with a wide girdle made of a nice piece of fabric - plain or a damask-type if black or very dark, judging from the status I think you are looking to portray at this point. Interlined with a coarser fabric if you need to - this will help the friction too. Measure it up, and fasten it with hooks and eyes, sewn so that they aren't seen, and the girdle ends meet. (If you give yourself some excess on the fancy fabric, folding it back for now, you can then have enough for when you have a buckle and end plate to fit.)

This should be fine to give a good general look to your new gown, and not be glaringly out, as from any angle it could be that you are wearing your buckle in a different place - I have seen them worn at the front, back and sides.

I agree with Karen; don't use the same fabric as your gown trim. The most common colours seem to be black, blue or red. Of course, other colours are seen. Lighter colours are seen more towards the end of the century, including medium and paler blues, greys, creams and whites. But it's worth checking some of these, as from memory I seem to think that most of these lighter girdles are worn by very rich women.

I hope this has been of some help.

Fair Lady Aside
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:57 pm
Location: New Hampshire
Contact:

Post by Fair Lady Aside »

Broad belt buckle for ladies belt. This is the one that Bractea made for me.

Gilt Silver.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
Jenn Reed
Fidelité jusqu'au bout

User avatar
lidimy
Post Knight
Posts: 1799
Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:37 pm
Location: Flitting between the centuries.
Contact:

Post by lidimy »

How's that big spike going to fit through the silk without damaging it? :shock:
'As long as you have a coif on, you're decent.' Image

Fair Lady Aside
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:57 pm
Location: New Hampshire
Contact:

Post by Fair Lady Aside »

The eyelets will be inserted ever-so-carefully into the silk to protect it from damage.
Jenn Reed
Fidelité jusqu'au bout

User avatar
lidimy
Post Knight
Posts: 1799
Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:37 pm
Location: Flitting between the centuries.
Contact:

Post by lidimy »

Fair Lady Aside wrote:The eyelets will be inserted ever-so-carefully into the silk to protect it from damage.
Ohhhhh that's ok then. Just had visions of galumphing great metal bits sending silk flying in all directions... :o

Tis VERY pretty!!
'As long as you have a coif on, you're decent.' Image

Laffin Jon Terris
Posts: 199
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 11:32 am
Contact:

Post by Laffin Jon Terris »

Those fittings are beautiful!

Very nice, do show us the finished article!

Jon
Knowing is only half the battle.
Image

Lena
Posts: 99
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2005 9:10 pm
Location: Oxford

Post by Lena »

Beautiful! Can't wait to see the whole belt.

User avatar
Cecily
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:24 pm
Location: Surrey

Wide Belt for 15c Gown

Post by Cecily »

I definately think it was worth the wait; it's gorgeous!
I've ordered a tablet-woven girdle (two narrower braids to sew together, which was & is cheaper) but so far have no buckle. I'm a little more lowly in status; so I'll need a plain one. I must get it sorted out.

Fair Lady Aside
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:57 pm
Location: New Hampshire
Contact:

Post by Fair Lady Aside »

Thanks everyone. The buckle should be on its way to the States this upcoming week. Once everything is assembled, I will definitely post a picture. I can't wait to finally have the whole thing together.

I can see why these things could be used as a means to ransom people. I have my husband looking for the reference, apparently the women of a Low Countries town used silk girdles to pay a ransom for the men.
Jenn Reed
Fidelité jusqu'au bout

User avatar
Cecily
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:24 pm
Location: Surrey

wide belt for 15thC Gown

Post by Cecily »

Wow! I never knew that, though I can see what you mean.
You wouldn't get a 21stC man wanting to admit he'd been ransomed by his wife's girdle though! (I caused a stir the other day when I innocently started talking to my Bible Study group about the girdle I'd ordered; I hastily added the words 'medieval belt'!)

Fair Lady Aside
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:57 pm
Location: New Hampshire
Contact:

Post by Fair Lady Aside »

The buckle just arrived. Let me say that the photo does NOT do it justice.

It is :shock: Amazing! :D :D :D :D

I haven't attached it to the belt yet, but OMg, it's going to look AWESOME. I'll take a pic when I get my camera back from a friend.

(Jenn does Happy Dance!!!)
Jenn Reed
Fidelité jusqu'au bout

Post Reply