For the Golden Egg challenge, I made a warm, woollen coat. The purpose of the coat was to make an over-garment from sources that would be warm, practical and fitting for the period. After using it for half a year I am very satisfied; it is such an easy garment and yet it looks great, is comfortable and versatile. I use it as part of the outfit, when the weather is cold or wet, as a robe when visiting the bathroom early in the mornings, as a picnic blanket…
I drew you a basic pattern outlay if you want to try it out for yourself.
The small gores F1 and B1 are just to save fabric, so the main pieces are 2 fronts, 2 backs and 2 sleeves. If you have a toile or mock-up that works for you, you can use that as a base and then just draw out the lines from the sleeve/neck as I did on the pattern.
The fabric I used was 310 * 150 cm, if you are taller or need a size large or above, consider adding some extra fabrics for lengths and sleeves. You don’t really need as much width as I have, but it will give you a very nice drape and look.
The cut and pattern are based on paintings and what pattern instructions I have found from the period. I think it is a possible take, though I have seen outer garments with S-sleeves, sleeve gores and more intricate patterns and constructions. The side seams can be found in some pictures, as well as in patterns of outer garments from later periods.
When you have cut out the pieces needed, pin/baste and sew the coat together in the following order:
- back seam
- shoulder seams
- side seams
- insert the sleeves in the coat
- hem the coat
- put in a closure at the front neck.
I used unbleached, waxed linen thread and a running stitch, folded the seam allowance to one side and fastened it down with whip stitches. The hems were finished with whip stitching too.
I also trimmed the neck and sleeves with fur, since that seems to be common in contemporary art. To avoid dipping the sleeve hems in food, I made the sleeves wide enough to be able to fold the fur inside the sleeves when working- this turned out very practical!
The coat is made in warm, thick wool twill, with a rich, deep brown colour that would have been quite expensive to dye. Other good colours could have been walnut brown, red or black.
Linen thread for sewing, since this seems to be common in most finds from the period.
Rabbit fur for trims, because that was the only fur I found that was up to my ethical standards about how you should treat animals (eco, small family garden breeding, killed and tanned in the area without chemicals). White fur to match the paintings. If you don’t want to use fur a folded down hem would do just fine!
The clasp is based on a find from the period and is made in bronze
You can wear the coat loose, or close it with a belt. I often wear it with a belt, as it is more practical. If you want tips on sewing a fur trim on a garment, check out my tutorial on the subject!
Historical sources and why I did a coat
The outer garment could be a dress as well, as there are lots of warm dresses lined with furs or fabric in sources. I chose the coat as I wanted a practical garment, and know from experience that the second layer of wool dress would not be versatile enough for what I needed. The sources I have used are from the second half of the 15th century, in today’s Germany. The Golden Egg outfit is based mainly on the period 1470-1490, but the coat belongs to the end of this period rather than being the “choice of all women”. So now you can decide if you should go for the practical coat or the more common dress when making your outfit!
Sources: if you want to check out some sources on 15th century clothing, I recommend some of these links: