The Gates of Hell

The Gates of Hell

So my post is dramatically named! (and will be explained)

I wanted to share a rather ambitious project that I’m embarking on. Mid-way through last year I discovered I was the owner of a sewing machine, and since then, I’ve been trying odd little sewing projects, such as an apron, a witch’s hat… and for a few months now I’ve been dreaming of tackling something much bigger.

Today, I went out to buy a heap of gorgeous red and gold brocade fabric, blue cotton and a strip of creamy faux fur. It was all very expensive… and I’m very excited about it all.

I’m taking my first step into the world of dressmaking. For a while now I’ve been a great admirer of medieval fashion, and especially female fashion from the mid to late 14th century. It is all so simple, yet elegant, and at the time beautiful fabrics such as silks and brocade were in vogue. Having always been a closet historical costume fancier I decided I would finally bite the bullet and make my own sideless surcoate. This particular garment was named ‘the gates of hell’ as the large, low slung armholes fell down to the hip and showed off the waistline displayed by the tighter fitting kirtle worn towards the end of the century.

The pattern (borrowed from wodefordhall.com)

I’m using a pattern and instructions I found on the website of a historical reenactor. This is my first project of this size and though the pattern looks rather simple, I’m more than a little nervous. Any tips from more experienced seamstresses out there would be most gratefully received! I’m planning on keeping updates here of how my project goes… wish me luck.

My fabrics: cotton, brocade and fur

A close-up of the brocade!

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