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  • JL Badgley
    So it s been a while since I ve bothered with a houppelande, but considering we are trying to get a group started in Thailand (!) and the Thai participants are
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 23, 2009
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      So it's been a while since I've bothered with a houppelande, but
      considering we are trying to get a group started in Thailand (!) and
      the Thai participants are really psyched about Western clothing and
      customs, I thought I'd get back into one of my favorite outfits; after
      all, anyone who knows me knows I have a penchant for large, overblown
      sleeves. :) The problem is that I left my nice houppelande at home,
      since Thailand is a bit hot for something as heavy as that. I'm
      considering, in fact, if I want to make a "haincelin", as I've seen
      the short houppelandes called.

      This brings me to the question of patterns. My first houppelande was
      made from Cynthia Virtue's pattern:


      It came out, I admit, looking rather like that big blue houppelande
      being demonstrated, and I'm generally pleased with it except for a few

      First, there tends to be a bunching between the legs that is
      uncomfortable and does not seem to be born out in the pictures I'm
      looking at. Second, though I like her general approach that the folds
      fall from shoulders (and even the inset gore in the back, to get the
      round neck) I'm still leery of a few details that I'm seeing in the
      pictures that I'm unsure about.

      Take a look at this picture, for example:


      I'm first concerned about whether it is open in the front and held
      with clasps or not--I tend to believe not, as the clasps would likely
      show /somewhere/ in the visual evidence, and so far, I've yet to see
      it. Therefore, it would seem to me that the high collars are probably
      pieced in, and the end of the black on the green houppelande (and the
      end of the ermine on the orange) would actually be where the collars
      end, likely having been pieced in separately. This is an assumption
      based on other garments that I've seen. There may be a clasp up near
      the throat, however, covered by fur, but I'm not entirely sure.

      Down further, we see a slit on the orange houppelande. I've seen
      similar things elsewhere:

      This appears to allow movement and likely would show off the wearer's
      chauses and legs. I have a problem with the CV pattern here, as I'm
      not quite certain I see how the expanding quarter-circle would allow
      for this kind of a drape at the hem, but perhaps I'm just not seeing
      it, yet.

      Then there is the side of the green houppelande, where there is hardly
      any pleating at all. While this is not always present, it is clear in
      a few other pictures I've seen:


      Is that merely the manner in which it is pleated? Or is it indicative
      of something else? Unfortunately, I think we all realize the problems
      that arise from looking merely at the pictorial evidence, but to my
      knowledge there are no surviving houppelandes--at least not men's and
      in a suitable condition.

      So I'm gathering opinions as I work out a pattern. Currently, I'm
      going with the idea that Cynthia is basically correct about the drape.
      It needs to come from the shoulder in order to work properly. It
      probably needs to expand outwards, but does it need to do so in both
      directions? Could it be that the centerline is straight, and then the
      side slopes out, perhaps to the length of the fabric. I could add a
      gore from the underarm to the hem along the sides to increase it
      further, but I'm wondering if this will accomplish what I hope for.
      Splitting it above the knee to further down (or just doing a shorter
      haincelin) is another consideration.

      Finally, there will be fabric to consider. I've been told that, if I
      go through our Thai friends, we can get dyed linen for as little as 20
      Baht (<$1USD) per meter. Silks are also very reasonable--I believe 4
      meters of silk (about 40~45" wide) went for approx. 250 Baht, and our
      friends might do better. Wool I'm not so optimistic on, as Thailand
      is not really known for their sheep industry. Cotton or silk damask,
      however, should be little obstacle. I'm thinking a damask for the
      outer and a linen inside, maybe with some silk or faux fur around the
      sleeves (I'm leaning away from the fur simply because this is Thailand
      and even just decorative fur can really add to the heat of a garment).

      Thoughts, comments, leads on other patterns? So far, CV's pattern is
      the only one that gets the top "right" for me, but I'm still not quite
      in love with the pattern and hope that by working it through with some
      cheaper stuff, first, I might be able to come up with something that
      looks more like what I'm seeing in the paintings.

      -E. Godric Logan
      aka Ii
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