[HNW] ?14th century needlework

Pixel, Goddess and Queen pixel at hundred-acre-wood.com
Wed Nov 5 14:28:57 PST 2008

There are 14th century sumptuary laws that restrict or ban embroidery on 
garments. I can find mentions of embroidery in the sumptuary laws from 
14th c. England, France, and Zurich, and 13th c. Castile. 14th c. 
Nurenberg forbids the use of pearls or trimmings of cendal, gold or 
silver, which is not embroidery but does tell us that they were decorating 
their garments in 14th c. Nurenberg.

'Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince' mentions a doublet made for the 
prince which had shellfish embroidered on it, 14th c. French prostitutes 
were forbidden embroidery or other ornaments on hoods, and in 14th c. 
England embroidery was forbidden to the women of households with incomes 
less than 200 pounds per annum. In Zurich, only unmarried women were 
allowed gold, silver, or jewels on their dresses and no woman was to put 
embroidery on 'any cloth, veil, silk, or linen'.

So in Europe in the 14th century they're doing *something* with garments 
and embroidery. You also see bezants and pearls used as garment decoration 
during this time. I don't have a whole lot on the Germanic states during 
this time, but you could conceivably decorate a garment "in the French 
fashion" with embroidery. Common stitches are stem stitch, split stitch, 
and apparently in German areas, herringbone and an interlaced stitch.

If you nudge me about it I can look for more specific references.


On Wed, 5 Nov 2008, Chris Laning wrote:

> Halla wrote:
> >I am wondering if any one has information about 14th century German
> >needlework that would have been used on clothing?
> >
> >I have found a few pictures of German clothing but they have been
> >paintings and I am not able to find anything about the needlework. 
> >I do not know if I was looking at stamped work or embroidery type
> >of work.  Any help in this area would be greatly appreciated.
> The 14th century is not my area of expertise, but my semi-educated guess
> would be that if you see decorative motifs on 14th-century clothing, they
> are probably woven into the cloth rather than embroidered.
> I know that the 13th-century clothing I usually wear is notable for the
> complete absence of any embroidered motifs or trim anywhere -- not at the
> neck, or wrists, or hem, or anywhere else you'd expect to find it. I know
> this is often a surprise to people who research clothing, but there do
> seem to be entire centuries when people simply did not use needlework to
> decorate their clothing in this way. Instead, luxurious or fancy clothing
> was made from fabrics like brocades, which have the decoration already
> woven in. (Church vestments may be exceptions to this, but they don't
> follow the same trends as ordinary clothing.)
> If I remember correctly, some of the 13th-century illustrations do show a
> line of contrasting color at the neck and wrists, but there is
> considerable debate whether this is a deliberate decoration or whether
> it's just a bit of the lining peeping out accidentally.
> Hopefully people who know more about the 14th century specifically will
> chime in here and correct me if I'm wrong.....
> ____________________________________________________________
> 0  Chris Laning
> | 
> +  Davis, California
> http://paternoster-row.org  -  http://paternosters.blogspot.com
> ____________________________________________________________

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