Date: 20 July 2004
Subject: [SCA-AS] Links: Unmentionables!

Greetings, faithful readers (and welcome to new readers in Caid, and the portion of Drachenwald from which my personae hails, Ireland).

This week's Links List is all about underpinnings, smalls, hosen, corsets, and, well, unmentionables. I was highly pleased with the quality of material I found on the web on this subject. All snickers aside (and the Codpiece article is worth a good few), it seems like some very serious research has gone into this subject.

Before you continue on, reading the Links below, please take a moment to understand how THIS list works. I do not accept individual subscribers, since that would be too much for me to handle. I rely primarily on the good will of others to pay this information forward to those who would find it interesting (and to NOT forward it to those who don't care and will become annoyed at huge messages in their inboxes). If you don't read the Links Lists weekly due to lack of access, you can always find it on EK-south, Thamesreach, SCA-Aethelmearc, ArtsSciences, and at SCAToday. In addiiton it is cataloged at Stefan's Florilegium (under various subjects). In this manner, these Links list go around the world, sometimes more than once. I always enjoy reading where they go, so feel free to share that with me, and to mention subjects you'd like to see covered in future Links lists.

Parental Warning: If passing this information on to youngsters, please edit, delete or otherwise approve of two of the links below (which have warnings attached), as they contain information of a very frank nature about intimate body parts and functions. I'd probably let my kids read it, but you might feel differently. Since it's all fairly good information, I'm letting the adults judge for themselves if they wish to read it or not (librarian's habits die hard).


Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon
Canton of Riverouge
Barony of Endless Hills
Kingdom of Aethelmearc

Stefan's Florilegium--underwear-msg.
(Message Excerpt) One important factor in period underwear's favor is that certain types of garb require a specific silouette, which modern underwear cannot approximate. Therefore a period corset is necessary to give the correct shape. And some gowns, especially 15th century Flemish, have such low cut shoulders that a modern bra would show, front, top and back. Some people get around this by replacing their modern bra straps with velvet, and I've even seen one that faked the look of a smocked chemise.

Circa 1265: Braies information (Men's underwear)
(Site Excerpt) The picture shows that braies are large voluminous trousers that reached to mid-calf length. Whenever they are depicted they are always shown as white. (This is also the case for woman's headwear, male coifs and undertunics. The Maciejowski's use of colour seems to reflect real life, albeit one with a slightly limited palette). The braies hang and crease as if they were made of fine linen.

Sherts, Trewes, & Hose .i. :
A Survey of Medieval Underwear
by maistre Emrys Eustace, hight Broom
(Site Excerpt) The braies were cinched at the waist with a running cord or girdle which laced in & out of the rolled hemline. The hosen were originally tied to this (until the late 14th or early 15th c.). Additionally, the purse could be tied to this cord, and thus kept under the tunic, out of harm's way. Slits in long tunics allowed access to the purse without "hoisting the mainsail." (See also Underwear 2 at entitled "Sherts, Trewes, & Hose .ij. :Documentable Details" and also Underwear 3 at entitled "Sherts, Trewes, & Hose .iij. : Chosen Hosen" )

Midlaurel Medieval Undergarments and Accessories Page (list of links)

Reconstructing History: Your First Garb: A 15th century Shirt
(Site Excerpt) Well, here's a 15th century undershirt. It's not based on any extant pieces, but rather period illustrations. This garment takes an incredibly small amount of fabric. 2 yards of 60" wide material is all you need for a person with a chest less than 55" around. An additional ? yd is all you need to fit a man up to 80" around! (See also Your First Chemise

A Late 15th Century Italian Chemise Pattern
A brief how-to by Baroness Briana Etain MacKorkhill
(Site Excerpt) A chemise or shift was the foundation of most multilayered garments. As such it varied from utilitarian to decorative according to type of material used and visibility. It was used in various forms from early 10th century to 15th century Italian through to the end of our period. The neckline varied to fit most every lady's needs. This particular pattern came from Dress In Italian Painting and has proved invaluable. It is simple, easy to make, and looks quite good when finished. It has a drawstring neckline and optional drawstring, tie or button cuffs.

A brief essay on the leinte of early medieval Ireland
by Molly Kathryn McGinn (formerly N? Dana)
(Site Excerpt) Early period (up to at least the 12th century ce) leines seem to have been either sleeveless, or with fairly narrow or straight sleeves eased by a gusset. Dunleavy states that styles gradually became more fitted over time, perhaps from exposure to Norse styles. Gores appear to have been speculative before the 10th century - they might have simply hiked their leinte up over their belts when they wanted to move at more than a crawl. The big baggy sleeves many people are familiar with are a later fashion, though quite fun, and there's no reason not to make your leine with these sleeves if you want to, they'll just be 16th century rather than early period.

Chausses And Braies
Garments for the Medieval Leg
(Site Excerpt) Note: Since writing this article, I have become aware of some Viking bog and 14th c. English finds which do contain examples of chausses. There are web sites which contain archeological descriptions of them, including drawn patterns and scale, fabric type, etc. These chausses differ from mine in that the legs are single pieces which wrap around the front and seam up the back. They also differ in having a single foot top which wraps down to a seam along the bottom center of the foot to just before the heel. This is most clearly shown in the pair belonging to the Bocksten Bog Man. I suggest that you read my article to get an idea of the shapes and what you need to finish your set, then try making a set based on the archeological patterns. Use this article as a guide to help you through it. For SCA purposes and comfort, you may desire to use my version of the foot for its non-authentic padded sole. My instructions for pinning the leg to get a good fit will also be useful.

Tempus' Sewing: Codpiece (warning--some frank talk about men's anatomy)
(Site Excerpt) While visiting England, Duke Fabrizio of Bologna, dressing hastily after a quick romantic interlude, used the flap to contain (or perhaps restrain) his nether parts while appearing before King Henry VIII and Queen Anne Boleyn. Anne Boleyn Queen Anne, amused at the Italian's conspicuous bulge, remarked "Be that thine codling or art thou glad to see me?" Of course, "codling" is 15th century English for either a "small, immature apple" or "any of several elongated greenish English cooking
apples," so we may never know if the Duke's fruit was being ridiculed or complimented.

Markland Medieval History
Braies And Trousers
(Site Excerpt) Braies are short linen trousers over which are worn the hosen (long stockings). No medieval braies are known to exist today, but illustrations show that they were somewhat baggy, with a sort of "diaper" effect in the crotch, and the knees were gathered and tied. There was presumably a drawstring at the waist, and sometimes it seems that the waist was made extra high, and the excess fabric rolled down over the drawstring. A pair of points (laces) sewn inside the braies and hanging out over a waist roll would make effective and comfortable suspension for one?s hosen. Whether the waist is rolled or not, you will need some sort of points or loops to fasten the hosen. (See also this LARP site, with exact same verbiage but also pictures

How to make a Bumroll
(Site Excerpt) A Bumroll, which, as its name suggests, was a roll tied around the bum, was an essential piece of Tudor and Elizabethan underwear. It was tied around the hips to make a woman's skirt swell out becomingly at the waistline before falling to the ground. Like all items of women's fashion, it was the victim of scathing satire and clerical condemnation, but it was nevertheless used throughout the 16th century and into the 17th, and considered an essential aid to fashionable dress. Here is a 1590's satirical cartoon featuring a good look at the late period bumroll. (See also: Spanish Farthingale:; How to make an Elizabethan Corset ; Elizabethan Smocks and Chemises ; Handknit Elizabethan Hose )

Elizabethan Undergarments
Contains sections on Partlets, Corsets, Smocks and Chemises.

Elizabethan Geek articles: Did Women wear underwear in SCA period?
(Warning--site contains frank talk about women's bodily function and how that may have been handled historically)
(Site Excerpt) So the remaining part of the puzzle is some pictures we have from period of women wearing pants, plus one or two extant pairs of Italian drawers dated to ca. 1600 (and shown in Cunnington's "History of Underwear"). In the various discussions I've seen on other lists, people have said that women-in-braies iconography often has to do with stories about henpecked husbands... "She's wearing the pants" and so on. I'm not familiar with those pictures but it seems like a reasonable argument.

History of the Elizabethan Corset
by Drea Leed
(Site Excerpt) When people think of 16th century dress, the first thing that comes to mind is the corset. The corset represents a fundamental shift in the concept of clothing and tailoring; instead of shaping clothes to the body, as had been done throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the body began to conform to the fashionable shape of the clothing worn.

First Things First--Venetian Underwear
(Site Excerpt from Drawers section) From the Moors to the Spanish: "Unmentionables in our period were mentioned but not illustrated for the noble ladies of Spain. The Duchess of Alburquerque's inventory (1479) includes linen drawers and their white silk cords, presumably for tying about the waist. There are also 9 white ribbons carrying white and gold aglets that had belonged to drawers. The Empress had drawers of yellow satin trimmed with strips of cloth of silver, together with blue and white silk stockings....The Fact that the Empress's (Isabel of Portugal) zaraguelles were accompanied by stockings suggests that her drawers also reached to the knees, and that drawers and stockings may have been joined, perhaps with agleted laces as men's upper - and netherstocks could be joined."

Elizabethan Smock Pattern Generator
See also the Corset Pattern Generator at
Simply insert your measurements to get a fitted the pattern

Elizabethan Petticoats
(Site Excerpt) There are two distinct types of underskirts worn underneath the outer skirts of an Elizabethan woman: an underskirt gathered to the waist, decorated with bands of fabric or trim if decorated at all, known as a petticoat; and the often elaborately decorated a-line kirtle, gored and fitted to the waist rather than gathered, which was worn over a spanish

Making a Gored Kirtle Pattern
(Site Excerpt) The gored kirtle I wear beneath my flemish gown is based roughly on the loose kirtle, dated to c. 1570-1580, described in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 1560-1620. The placement of the seams around the body is the same, aside from an added side-back seam to eliminate wrinkling at the back waist and add fullness to the back skirt. Rather than hanging loose from the shoulders, however, it is fitted to the waist and flares out from there.

Everything you ever wanted to know about boning with hemp cord, but were afraid to ask!
(Site Excerpt) After posting my experiment with hemp cord boning in my Florentine Dress Diary, I was thrilled to get some wonderful feedback from other costumers who were interested in trying it out for themselves. If you haven't seen the diary, you might want to go back and check out the bodice construction page to get more of the background info on using hemp cords--the hemp stuff begins half-way down the page. You can also check out the finished corded Florentine bodice or my corded corset to see what this type of boning looks like in a finished garment. I decided to make this page to go through the process step-by-step, give links to suppliers, and share the work or other costumers who have made their own versions of bodices or
corsets stiffened with cord.