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My 14th Century Kirtle Homework

I had a really good time with this project, but definitely had my hiccups along the way!

The first thing that really struck me about this whole process was how tough a lot of the research was. As kirtles (also often called a cote or cotehardie) were made from natural fibres the only remaining extant examples of them are in tatters, or were preserved in an oxygen free environment that allowed them to be preserved (looking at you, Moy Bog gown...) and are still in pretty rough condition.

I dived into a research frenzy to figure out *what kind of kirtle* I wanted to make, because I didn't realise when I started this HOW LONG kirtles were a thing! They really did cover a massive time span and had a huge number of variations, so I wanted to narrow my options down.

I read some fantastic blogs from Handcrafted History and The Medieval Tailor, but it was reading through Marc Carlson's A Reconstruction of a Garment from the Moy Bog, Co. Clare, Ireland, Drea Leed's The Well Dressed Peasant, and Medieval Garments Reconstructed by Lilli Fransen, Anna Norgard, and Else Ostergard, that got helped me clarify my interest in going with a 14th century kirtle as my inspiration.


You know, kirtles before they were really cool... or something.


I found a web page with minimal information that talked about a kirtle called Herjolfsnes 38, but wanted more information. Thankfully, I was able to access a copy of Buried Norsemen at Herjolfsnes through my local library and could set to work!


Check out my video to see how it all came together beautifully (and looks NOTHING like the kirtle I used as inspiration...oops)


Links to the images of kirtles through the ages:

UC1380

Manuscript illumination 1350 (approx)

St John The Evangelist 1370

Weyden Family Triptych 1450

Meister des Marienlebens Visitation 1462

The Unicorn Surrenders 1495-1505

The Lute Player 1612