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New braies method!

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  • Sarah Michele Ford
    OK, I think if I don t post about this Kass might explode or something... My ongoing pet project is to get 13th century braies RIGHT. My pattern has been
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 6, 2005
      OK, I think if I don't post about this Kass might explode or something...

      My ongoing pet project is to get 13th century braies RIGHT. My
      pattern has been through a number of permutations, most of which
      involved a garment that looks like the lower half of a capital H when
      assembled. I also tried the method described in The Medieval Tailor's
      Assistant (which, by the way, was an utter trainwreck).

      A couple of years ago I took Maitresse Aenor d'Anjou's braies class at
      Pennsic (her course materials are available on her website, here:
      http://www.angevintreasures.com/aenor/index.htm). While I don't agree
      with her overall pattern (not enough bulk in the crotch/seat area, too
      much fabric used, and seams in places where I don't think there shoudl
      be seams), I agree with her on one thing: the legs of this garment
      MUST be on the bias for them to hang the way that they do in the

      I recently had a flash of inspiration about how to construct braies
      such that the legs were on the bias. The idea was to take a
      relatively narrow strip of fabric (I've been challenged by my Mistress
      to come up with a braies method that uses no piece wider than 22")
      rotate it 45 degrees, and wrap it around the leg. I would then cut
      off the point of that piece and use it as a gusset to form the
      crotch/butt of the garment. That whole thing would be attached to a
      waistband of some sort, et voila!

      That was the original idea - the execution turned out to be slightly
      different, but in all I think I've really hit on a way to make 13th
      century braies look *RIGHT*. I used a strip of fabric that was about
      20" wide and maybe a yard to a yard and a half long (I was just using
      scrap, so I'm actually not sure how long it was). I wrapped that
      piece around my leg from the outside to the inside (so that the seam
      will be in the back of the garment) and pinned. I cut off what I had
      intended to be the triangular gusset. I unpinned that leg in order to
      cut the other one, and in re-draping it I inadvertently turned it
      upside down. This gave me a "point" of the sort that would be found
      on a pair of separate hosen. As it turns out, this was a
      serendipitous mistake to make, because everything fell into place.
      The leg just HUNG RIGHT. It was easy to wrap it snugly around my leg
      as is necessary when wearing hosen. I could tie it up in a number of
      different ways. After I'd put both legs together, I looked in the
      mirror and realized that the idea of using the cut-off triangular
      pieces as gussets for the crotch and butt wouldn't be feasible - they
      wouldn't be big enough to cover oneself, much less giving the drooping
      diaper look that is so characteristic of this garment. Instead, I cut
      another strip of fabric and attached each leg to it - this gives the
      bulk and sag necessary. On this first version I flattened out the
      tops of the points and attached a wide waistband to the whole top of
      the garment. I think in the next iteration I will just pretend that
      those points are the tops of skirt gores and form the waistband by
      making the crotch piece longer and sewing some short side seams (which
      of coruse means that the combined widths of the crotch piece have to
      be enough to get over the wearer's hips, but since these are a man's
      garment, I'm not too worried about that).

      In all, I'm THRILLED with the way this worked out. IT JUST LOOKS
      RIGHT! I don't have anyting formal written about this yet, but there
      are pictures and very brief comments at
      http://snowplow.org/sarah/pers/braies/ if you want to have a look. It
      conveniently turned out that the scrap fabric I found that was big
      enough was gingham, so you can easily see what's on the bias and what

      Alianor de R
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