Red Velvet Sideless Surcot
Bright red rayon (viscose)-velvet sideless surcotte (or surcoat), trimmed with dark grey faux fur around the armholes and hem and decorated with a blue and gold trim.The surcotte was made because I wanted something more 'fancy' medieval, but not too royal looking like the golden gown. Also, it needed to go over the Blue Bourette
Silk Dress, but also to be worn with the cream/gold underdress or with any other - it's kind of an allrounder ;-)
The pattern used for this was McCall 3653, with a few alterations. It's actually a good basic pattern for the medieval look (the view on the rightl....the left one is rubbish).
If you use correct fabrics, pattern layout (the fabric would have come in smaller widths as the looms were smaller, so a dress like this would have had a lot of gores to
achieve the width and also probably some more horizontal seams where the farbic was pieced together) and sewing techniques, this will make a fine 13th or rather 14th
century surcotte (they tended to be less wide in the 13th).
The fur is originally one used for cat scratching trees *lol* Yes, really. I looked for ages for a proper fur and couldn't find any, and if, it was just too expensive. Next, I tried to look
for (faux fur) plaids in order to cut them and use the stripes as fur trim, but I couldn't find any that I liked. So, after much research, I came across this grey cat scratching tree fur fabric.
I ordered a swatch, and what can I say? It looks great! Sure, it could look even better if I used a $300 snow leopard plaid, but hey - I like the overall look of this. The color is okay for
the time period (it could be wolf), and if you don't inspect the fur too closely, i.e. brush aside the hair and discover the net backround, you'll never guess that this is cat scratching tree
fabric. And the best is, 3 yards of this was enough for the whole gown. I still have plenty left....
I bought the trim on location at a medieval fair because I liked it so much - originally, there was no trim intended for this gown, but it adds just that little extra to it - though it's not a
historical trim whatsoever. It just looks nice.
By the way, the gown is too long intentionally. Actually, that was kind of fashionable during the time, and sometimes a noble ladies' gown was so long that she couldn't walk properly
but would always step on it if she didn't gather it up - which would then expose the underdress in a fashionable way.
And if you think that bright colors like that weren't in use in the Middle Ages, here's proof that they were indeed:
This image is from the Codex Manesse, a hand-written and illustrated collection of medieval poetry, dating from around 1300. It's the largest collection of medieval poetry in the
world and is beautifully illustrated throughout (I already was lucky enough to see and touch it in person). Notice the lady to the right of the main figure? Yes, she's wearing a bright red
surcotte, probably made of linen or velvet, over a blue gown with tight sleeves, probably made from silk. And you can also see that the gown is over-long and she's gathering it up on
one side in order to be able to dance.
Just for the purists ;-)
Some more photos (with both the blue and the cream underdress), in one pic also with a short hooded cape that I haven't made myself and that's just there because it was cold...
By the way, if you're going to wear a belt with this type of gown....here's how to wear it correctly ;-)
Put it _over_ the surcoat in the back and lace it through the armholes, close it in front _underneath_ the surcoat and turn it so the buckle and knot will show through either the left or the
right armhole. Don't have it go around the front of your surcoat.
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