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European Female Civilian Clothing

Minimum Equipment Set of Clothing and Accessories. Europe. Women

The social state of your clothing depends on the fabric quality,

color and paint and decoration more than on the cut or ‘design’.


The simplest option is a Commoner/Peasant

Set: 1. Underwear shirt (chemise) looks like the one on the blonde in this picture (Bede, Prose Life of Cuthbert):


The chemise is made of crude white linen or cotton

here a description of the cut and sewing pattern (Tiffany’s blog).

The complete shirt looks more or less like this:

You can also use the cut of Thomas Becket’s shirt from here, just be sure to make a neck hole in the front pane and not on the side

Chainse (The outerwear). The XXXX is made of crude linen fabric

of natural coloring which is neither white nor modern over-vivid colors. It looks like this picture from Navarre Bible, Pamplona, Spain, 1197 AD.


here the cut and sew instructio


Make sure you didn’t forget the wrist folds that used to be popular at that period.

You can also add ribbon decoration along the neckline and the sleeve rims while it’s not mandatory.

Here’s the complete dress:

Headwear: use a scarf which is just a large piece of white fabric as in this picture from the Copenhagen Psalter (Kongelige Bibliotek, England), 1175-1200.

Here you find the pictures of modern copies and the instructions of how to tie it.

Hose (chausses). You can make them of crude linen or cotton while for marching, wool BROADCLOTH is preferred since it prevents both heat and cold and wears longer. Here’s the instruction of how to make them (Try your best and you might even understand it in Russian):

If you already got used to read Russian refer to our club forum for further discussion on the underwear:

Here’s what they look like when complete:

Footwear should be appropriate to the epoch and your best shot is to order it from someone who has a skill of a shoemaker. If you want to roll your dice you might try it yourself using this link (We suppose you’re already used to read Russian after studying the links above).


IMPORTANT! Our landscape which is rough and rocky cross-country makes PATTENS inevitable for your survival during the march. The pattens are additional soles featuring several layers of thick leather you put on your shoes. You might want to use the heeled version of those.

The belt woven using the card technique or weaving loom. Your can also use a cord or a rope made of authentic material like hemp or jute etc.

Bread bag: Use this simple pattern to make it:


Bend the yellow part to create the front part, the bottom, the back and the flap. The green one makes for side panels and the long shoulder strap. On the shoulder level, pad the strap with several layers of fabric to prevent it from cutting into your body.


You will need water and you will need it on the march. Ergo – you need water capacities holding at least a liter of water. The best option is a lentil-shaped leather flask but you can also use a pumpkin or ceramic flask, a keg or a wickered bottle (as a last resort for a novice).

Eating tools: a bowl, a spoon and a cup made of authentic material. You might want to make several bags to carry your travel ration.

Cloak-blanket: a piece of thick wool fabric you use as heat barrier or a blanket.


Camping provisions: Put everything you don’t use on route in a canvas bag or a basket: your wool bedding or matting, spare clothing. Leave it in the baggage train. The things you need most you can take with you in a bread bag or a basket (another one).


Here’s what it looks like:

Another option for simple female clothing is a Townswoman Set.

The set includes three clothing layers: chemise, chainse, and bliaut. The chemise and the chainse are made in the same way as for a peasant’s set. (See numbers 1 and 2 above) In our climate which is described most exactly as “hot as in hell” two-layer set is acceptable as well: chemise and bliaut.

The bliaut should be made of silk or high quality linen. The length of the sleeve’s width might depend on your country of origin (before Outremer) and differs quite a lot: it may be wide, knee length, or floor length. Here’s the shape of bliaut from Navarre Bible:

You could find a cutout instruction here:

The picture shows what the complete dress looks like:

You can add a fabric ribbon as a decoration on the rim, the sleeves and the neckline.

You should use a woven belt made by card technique or a weaving loom or a leather belt with cast-in decorations.

Chausses and footwear are similar to those in Peasant’s set. Chausses can be made of linen or fine wool cloth.


The most suitable headwear for our weather is veil. The veil covers your neck shielding it from the sunburns and casts a shadow on your face (which prevents your nose from being red and peeling after the event). The veil includes the following parts: barbette – linen ribbon about 6 cm wide tied around your head from chin to top, fillet – the same ribbon tied around your forehead horizontally, and the veil itself – square or round piece of fabric you put over the fillet or under it.

Here’s a sketch:

The round veil with fillet and barbette:

There is another option suitable for our weather: it’s a wimple.

The wimple is a scarf which looks like a very long extended trapeze. While on your head it must look like this picture from Navarre Bible

(The two ladies on the right).

Unfortunately, usually there is a gap on the neck between the neckline and the scarf so you will still need a veil. Here.’s a further instruction on the wimple.


Bread bag: See number 7 abov

Cloak or wool blanket for bedding: put on the ground and cover yourself at night. This picture from Navarre Bible shows original look of medieval cloak

Cloak cut: Cut a semicircle from wool cloth. Make a crescent neckline. Same goes for lining which is made of linen – sorry for the quibble. Sew the two parts together ‘face to face’ leaving the neckline open. Turn the thing out through the open neckline and close it using blind stitch or a bias tape. Mind the picture: the neckline of the pictured cloak is square shaped but the semicircle is more comfortable.

The size of the pictured cloak is apprx.140 X 260 mm

Here’s the complete set:

Clothing Set of a Noblewoman

Please remember that the clothing of nobility differed from those of the commoners with quality of fabric and decoration and number of layers rather than cut or style. 

Chemise is made in the same way as its previous versions from fine cotton. Cote is made as described in number 2 above. The bliaut is made as described above using figured silk and decorated with embroidery instead of ribbon.

See the pictures:

The first picture from the Psalter from Normandy (Fécamp) shows decorated rim and figured fabric. The second one, coming from the Archive of Santiago de Compostela shows Urraca of Catile in a bliaut dress of rich fabric with exquisite decoration of rim and sleeves.

This Byzantium XII century mosaic from the façade of Santa Maria in Trastevere church (Rome) also shows a choice of female dresses. Do choose ;)

In real world, this dress might look like this Gown of Empress Matilda. Empress Matilda (c.1102 –1167), also known as Matilda of England:

The cloak is an essential part of the clothing. See above for instructions. The lining can be made of silk.

For headwear, choose a veil with a wreath or a crown:

The hose should be made of silk and embroidered. Here is a XII century example from the collection of Imperial Regalia at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Weltliche Schatzkammer. Red silk, golden emroidery.

The footwear should be more elegant and more open than the two versions above. Here’s an example:

(Ankle boots — 12th cent. From London museum shoes and pattens book):

Usually, the footwear is ordered from a skilled craftsman. Noblewomen don’t need pattens since they ride (as a rule).

Use a woven belt made by card technique or a weaving loom, or a leather belt with a pouch like pictured:

Pouche 12th century, Musee Alfred Bonno, Chelles, (Sein-et-Marne) France.


Your water flask, your ceramic or metal bowl, spoon, cup (also ceramic or metal), spare clothing set, wool bedding and all the other things the noblewoman needs most are carried by your loyal servant. So you should find a servant first of all. Or, you can attach all this stuff to your saddle and make the servant’s life easier.

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