14th-15th Century, Garb/Clothing, Patterns

Conjectural late 14th/15th century men’s cotehardie pattern

This pattern will create a man’s late 14th/15th century cotehardie without a collar with a hemline falling at just above the knee. When drafted the pattern includes 1/2″ seam allowance on all edges. Because of the tight fit this probably needs some type of closure (rather than pulling it on over your head). I see buttons down the front in the image in UC, MS 1380 fol. 8r (link below). As mentioned on the Facebook group “Age of the Cotehardie“, the evidence suggests that the buttonholes are reinforced with a facing and that buttons are normally found at the edge of the garment for fabric buttons or very near the edge for shanked metal buttons.

In practice when turning this pattern into a mockup I’ve found that the shoulder length of C-S is too long. Normally I need to trim off about C-iij from the shoulder on the armseye edge on the front and back. I have NOT updated this pattern because I don’t want the shoulder seam to end up too short by updating it to the shorter measurement. My recommendation is to make this up as a mockup and try it on and adjust the seam length on the recipient.

Featured image from:
UC, MS 1380
Roman de la Rose
~1365(?) 14th century
More images: https://dlmm.library.jhu.edu/viewer/ Choose “UC 1380”
This pattern is for the garment on the man on the left.

The patterns provided are drawn using the bara notation described in The Modern Maker book series.  Please see “Bara notation” section for more information. This notation shows up in some tailoring manuals from the end of the 16th century.  I suspect this notation for sharing a pattern was not used in the 14th/15th century. That said, I’ve found it to be an elegant way to share scalable patterns.

Bara Method Notation
The bara method of pattern notation is described in “The Modern Maker” book.  As such I believe the bara method as described constitutes Mathew Gnagy’s Intellectual Property and I am not willing to fully describe the method in my handouts or on my website.  If you do not have a copy of one of the books and you are unfamiliar with the notation you can use the following key to help draw out these patterns.

C -Chest measurement with the tape pulled tight but not pinching.
W – Waist measurement pulled tight without pinching (ideally over skin with nothing modifying the measurement)
L – half of your height in inches

The measurements on the patterns are read like roman numerals. 
Qi = Q + i
iQ = Q – i

Each measurement on the pattern is represented as a proportion of one of the above measurements.  To find the correct measurement to create the pattern you will need to multiply the correct factor (listed in the table) by the measurement of the person for whom you are drafting the pattern.  So C-iiQ would be the chest measurement (C) multiplied by 0.2083333333 (0.25-0.02083333333-0.02083333333). 

Believe me when I say that using the bara method as described in the books to draft these patterns is MUCH easier than using the mathematical factors listed in the table.  I cannot emphasize how much I recommend buying at least one of the books from the Modern Maker book series.

If you are at all interested in late period clothing I highly recommend you get a copy of Modern Maker vol 2 which includes men’s and women’s scaled patterns for many different articles of clothing from tailoring manuals published from 1589-1640.

Long Story Short: Buy the books. Modern Maker vol. 2 https://amzn.to/2GRpmxy Just do it! You will thank me.

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