Advanced Entry, C3 Entry, Female

1400 CE French Woman’s Gown

Title: 1400 CE French Woman’s Gown
Entry #: GGA2021.040
Alternate Names:  
Year: 1400
Time range: 1400s
Era: Late Medieval
Gender: Female
region: Western Europe
Countries/cultures: France
Maker: Kristine Nic Tallier
From: Axed Root, Calontir
Difficulty: 4
Confidence: Image Examples

These entries are taken from the participants in the Calontir Clothing Challenge (C3) which ran from 10/1/2020-1/31/2021. The C3 challenged artisans to make a 4-layer outfit over a four month period, three of which were clothing layers and the fourth an “accessory” (widely defined to include anything that displayed a non-sewing skill), while documenting their work. Entrants ranged from beginners making their first outfits to experienced members.

Because of how these were received, they will be in a different format to other entries.


Project Update Blog: Stars and Garters

About Kristine: I joined the SCA in middle school when my mother started taking us to meetings. I wasn’t always as excited about it in the beginning, but when I found tablet-weaving, I was hooked. I met my fiance, Vincent, as well as all my closest friends in the society.

Vincent and I came to a deal a long time ago that he would make our garb, since he enjoys it and it just puts me in a foul mood…. but since I’m spearheading this challenge, I feel like I have to put my money where my mouth is and participate. Wish our household luck!


Years ago, I came upon one of the images below and felt like I fully understood the woman wearing it – and I love her apron. I can’t just make the apron, right? I have to make the whole outfit to go with it. These images are all from the same illumination and are a little later than my usual time period (I’m usually mid-to-late 14thc Scot) being earlyish 15c inspired by images from The Book of Faiz Monseigneur Saint Loys. So, My plan is to make all the layers shown, a chemise, a supportive kirtle (stretch project of additional pin-on sleeves), a silk cotte with embroidery, and a wool over cotte with embroidered embellishments. My accessory will be a tablet woven belt, though I’ll also be making the aforementioned apron. I have other wacky ideas on extra accessory layers, but we’ll see how it goes!

Her final thoughts on her C3 Experience: Well, I knew that running the challenge and getting my own outfit done at the same time would be a challenge. I didn’t get to the final overcoat layer like I’d hoped (which would have been blue wool with a red lining) but I’m pretty happy with the four I did get finished.

My favorite completed pieces are the belt (layer 4) and the apron, which was the inspiration for the whole thing.

Overall, I have reaffirmed that Vincent will do all the construction sewing from now on, but I’ll happily help out with hand-finishing. Good to know since we have wedding garb to finish next!

C3 Level:

Modern Recreationist/Intermediate

Complete Outfit Images:

Inspiration Images

Layer 1

My layer 1 consists of a chemise and a St Birgitta’s Cap. Both are made of white linen and are of machine base construction and hand finished with linen thread.

The chemise is based off the general late period pattern which has been theorized was used in the early 15th century. As I’m in the modern recreationist category, I took a step from what I could document and added a simple embroidered pattern around the neckline and tablet woven trim around the base. The trim is of cotton, as it’s what I had on hand, and was woven by me – the first of many tablet woven projects which will be incorporated into this outfit.

The cap is of basic construction and went MUCH better than my first cap I attempted years ago. It went so well that I’m considering making a second one with some decorative elements.

Layer 2

This short sleeved kirtle is made of linen, with a wide V-front design to allow for changing sizes. The lacing here is tubular tablet weaving I made during the project time. Machine construction, hand finishing

Including the eyelets! This was my first time hand-sewing eyelets and I think they turned out alright.

Layer 3

This layer really tested my patience, let me tell you. We have a rule in my house, as mentioned above, that my fiance (Vincent de Vere) does all the sewing in the house and this dress proved once again that that’s a great policy for us. I tried on this dress and it fit great but there was a little too much on the back, so I took it out. Then I tried it on again…. and it was too small by exactly that same amount, so I had to piece it back in. There’s no reason it should happen, but it did.

Anyway, this is a green/black dupioni silk and I just love the color. Based on information from the Medieval Tailor’s assistant, I chose to make this layer side lacing to alternate with the underlayers. Rather than embroidering, I wove bands for the bottom as I’m a tablet-weaver and that seemed a lot less onerous for me while I was running this challenge. I will eventually go back and embroider in words as is seen in my inspiration images.

This, too, is machine sewn and hand finished, including all the eyelets for the side closures.

Layer 4

I’m a tablet weaver (if you couldn’t tell from all the tablet weaving I snuck into my other layers) so my layer four is a tablet woven, brocaded belt. The main layer is a red 30/2 silk with a mylar metallic weft (because who can afford real gold for these things?) Patterns are self-designed and generically geometric.

I like to have a supportive backing layer on my belts because I’m not very easy on them. It offers a little extra support. The backing band here is a linen in a simple pattern which was woven separately and sewn to the decorative band.

Belt ends are purchased.

  • Farmhouse Cheddar – Cheesemaking techniques haven’t changed much since medieval times. I’ve made two cheddar rounds, one smoked (ok, burned. I scorched the milk. But I already had the yeast and rennet in it by then, so I went ahead and finished it. Who knows?) and one regular. They’ll age until January when it’s time to take pictures
  • Beeswax – The beeswax was processed from the yearly rent paid by the bees who live in my yard. The hive shaped piece is mine for the challenge and the bees went out to people from my local group who have taken up the challenge as well.
  • Embroidered Apron – the whole reason this was my to-do outfit! The originals had religious sayings but, not being religious I wanted to switch it out for something else. “Vox Nihili” – roughly meaning “saying Nothing” seemed amusing and appropriate. Linen embroidery on lined fabric, with a linen tablet woven band at the top for tying.


Version: 1.0
date: 1/2/2022
Source of Period Pic:
Model: N/A
Photographer: Kristine Nic Tallier

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