[Northkeep] Fabric gurus

Jennifer Carlson talana1 at hotmail.com
Wed Dec 1 19:41:47 PST 2004

Houppelandes were indeed made of heavy but soft stuff.  It has to be soft to 
have the right drape, and heavy enough not to look flimsy.  Think a heavier 
dress weight, or a trouser-weight.

Wool and silk are the fibers they used.  There are some modern cottons that 
have the right drape, if you'd rather use a modern material.  I have a 
corduroy houppelande that has served me well for many a year.  A houppelande 
is the garment for showing off a cool brocade pattern, or yards of velvet.  
It has the virtue of looking good on ANY body type, since it is essentially 
fitted only at the neck and shoulders.  It's also extremely easy and quick 
to run one up.

There are tricks to getting the "right" drape in the period sense, but an 
A-line garment, cut as full as your fabric can manage, will do.  Be warned - 
the hems run from enormous to ridiculous.

There were a slew of different sleeve patterns used, though the bell-cuffed 
"angel wing" style was most common.  The cuffs provide a great opportunity 
for worked a dagged edge of scallops, points, oak leaves, or what have you.  
Mine has an arrowhead pattern.

Angel wing sleeves should be lined, usually in white, though other colors 
were used as well.  No bare arms, though - the houppelande was always worn 
with an under garment with fitted sleeves.  You can cheat and sew nice 
fitted sleeves onto a t-shirt, if you want to reduce bulk.

Add a rich belt (worn at the waist or low on the hip for men, right under 
the bust for women)  and a good hat or headdress, and you're set for the 
fifteenth century.

In servicio,


>From: "Graue, Chris" <Chris.Graue at benham.com>
>Reply-To: The Barony of Northkeep <northkeep at ansteorra.org>
>To: "The Barony of Northkeep" <northkeep at ansteorra.org>
>Subject: [Northkeep] Fabric gurus
>Date: Wed, 1 Dec 2004 10:27:20 -0600
>Is there a particular type of fabric that was generally used to make
>houplands? They seem sort of heavy, but soft... is that just what people
>have chosen to make them out of or were they made from that type of
>fabric in period?
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