13th cen – ur doin it rong?

I had a mildly upsetting experience last weekend in chatting about fibers and dyeing with someone.  She asked about my persona, and I told her I was 13th c. Welsh.  “Oh, so you’re not dressed it today, then,” she said.

!?!?!!! I said.  I thought I was!

So, dear readers – help me out here.  Am I, in fact, doin it rong?receiving service grail  from TRH Rustam & Suvia at Bar Gemels XXV Here’s a photo (taken by Lady Diana de Winterton – click on photo for full size) of what I was wearing – that’s a pink linen gown, geometric construction, and a head wrappy thing (yes, that’s the technical term).  You can’t really see it, but I’m also wearing a narrow leather belt – not much else in the way of accessories.

A photo of a coif from the Maciejowski bible (click on image for full size) – mine is not exactly like this, but I think it’s reasonably similar (it’s just cheaty and easier, since I have yet to actually make a St. Birgitta’s coif for myself).

Women from the Maciejowski bible (again, click photo for full size).  My dress is lighter weight than that, and not quite as long – both primarily for practical reasons, as it’s springtime and I walked all over the place and didn’t want to trip.

The one thing I really wasn’t replicating is body type – all the Maciejowski girls (and from what I’ve seen many 13th c. women in illumination) are really tall and skinny with no breasts or hips.  This does not describe me and probably will never describe me.

Other than that – what do I need to fix?


20 responses to “13th cen – ur doin it rong?

  1. Ok, couple of questions. Are the girls in the picture “maidens”, and that’s why no hair covering?
    Looks to me like their sleeves are way tighter. I’m assuming you have documentation for pink? shrug.
    I’m SURE there are serving girls with much shorter skirts 🙂 I always use that excuse, grin

    • yes, the picture is depicting the mourning of jepthah’s daughter and her handmaidens, before she goes back to let her dad kill her.

      the sleeves are definitely tighter. this is a good point.

      i think i’ve seen pink in there somewhere, but i didn’t look for it when choosing the gown color. that said, if you can do red, you can do pink. 🙂

  2. OK, i have a (well, machine sewn and a little bit off) st birgitta’s coif, and having worn both it and a “headwrappy thing”, the silhouette is *entirely* different, so that would help. Really, if you don’t insist on the fancy/embroidered/handsewn one, and just want one to have, it’ll take you 2 hours – mine took that long and that was at the tail end of Pennsic sewing when I was crispy last year.

    The most distinctive thing between what I know of 13th and the picture you post, vs. what you were wearing, is sleeve silhouette (and to a lesser degree gown fullness. First of all, if you look at their sleeves, they’re very full at the top, but skin tight from elbow to wrist. I seem to recall some poetry specifying “sew your sleeve on”, that level of tightness. So that’s very different than your gown. 2nd is that even though you do have a different silhouette than the Maciejowski girls, you might try making a slightly fuller gown so that you do have something to pull in to get the distinctive wrinkles/pouching at waist level. I don’t know that this would be *flattering*, but it would be closer to what’s shown in the picture.

    Not my period, of course, but that’s just what I see in comparing the pictures.

    • oh, i have every intention of doing a birgitta’s coif. just haven’t yet, primarily due to sewing room mess.

      sleeve tightness = yes, good call.

      fullness is an interesting idea. imma ponder this.

  3. Speaking as a fellow mid-13th C. dweller with the Maciejowski Bible as a favorite guidebook and an overly impressive collection of ring-brooches for any occasion, f*ck that sh*t.

    Yeah, I do dark colors and long “pool over the feet” length dresses and, not being married, I pretend to be maidenly and tend to not wear anything on my head but a circlet and hair unless sun is out…but I see NOTHING off in what you wear. nothing. Nope nope nope.

    …and, if you point out the people who said this, I can even bitch them out in 13th C. Dutch 🙂

  4. The only differences I see are the tighter sleeve and possibly a smaller neck, although it’s a little hard to tell since you are faced away in your picture. I would not worry about the body type. Women have come in all sizes since we first stepped foot on the Earth. It’s possible that they are maidens or that it was a popular style of depicting women at the time. Out of curiosity do you happen to know which passage of the Bible the picture is depicting?

    Could it be that the person you were talking with is possibly not as familiar with 13th Century fashion as they are with other eras?

    • everyone’s pointed out the tighter sleeves, and everyone is right. and i don’t worry about body type, it was just an observation.

      bible passage = the mourning of jepthah’s daughter and her handmaidens.

      totally possible that she’s not familiar w/it! like i had said, not really upset, just wondering if there’s something else i should be doing.

  5. My first guess would be the person is not that familiar with 13th century Welsh fashion.

    While I agree about the lower part of the sleeves, I certainly wouldn’t say that you weren’t dressed 13th century.

    I personally think the comment was a bit rude as we are all here to make an attempt. And I think you made a very good, close attempt. I would kind of like to know what she considers 13th century Welsh clothing.

    • oh, i don’t think she was being rude, i think she didn’t see it as 13th c and was assuming that i was wearing not-my-period garb, which i and of course many of us do with some frequency. 🙂

  6. maybe the pink threw her, so many people still seem clueless on that!!

  7. Oh my gawd I think this was me! I’ve already emailed a privately but think I should do a public apology too.
    I’ve gotten to know Rhienwylydd in garb to match our current Prince and Princess which is Persian and I just jumped to a wrong conclusion because of head wear. If I had even bothered to really look I would have known better.
    She really did do the garb fine for that time period. It was me being unobservant.

    • it was late, we were all sleepy, i at least was not so sober… lots of reasons. 🙂

      and when i do persian, it’s really obvious. it’s silk and uber bright and i wear funky makeup. and not a turban, actually. =D

  8. yea and actually I rather like you in your Welsh personna. Looks good on you

  9. Re: Loose Sleeves

    While most of the sleeves on women’s garments in the MB do have a tighter fit in the forearm, there is at least one picture of an unfitted sleeve.

    Sure, it may be pajamas, but it’s a loose sleeve, dernit!

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