Medieval Times What Was Clothing Like in the Middle Ages? In the Middle Ages the tailoring business developed and fashion as a concept was born. There wasnt much difference among the distinct social classes in the way the clothing were cut, the differences became evident mostly in the colours and materials. The country folk prepared their fabrics themselves and the nobility and the bourgeois had the possibility to buy their own imported fabrics. What Materials Were Used to Make the Clothing? The domestic wool was revised into cloths of different strengths -durable, felt and carded fabrics. The most expensive, the finest and the most colourful cloth was an extremely important merchandise imported for example from the Netherlands, England and Germany.
Preparing the fabrics and the threads was a time-consuming and valuable craft. Fabric was extremely valuable despite whether or not it was homemade or imported. The medieval threads were spindled with a distaff (an early part of a spinning wheel). For one whole dress where the density of threads was 12 threads per centimetre you needed as much as 15 000 metres of finished thread; i.e. 30 kilometres of one-filament thread.
The thread had to be tightly woven and very durable. The clothes were used all the way to the end — the parts that were worn-out and broken were mended and patched. When the piece of clothing was totally worn-out, the good parts were used again. This might be a reason why the archeological findings are mostly church textiles. The looseness of the clothes was received by the using of gussets which were triangular inserts used to expand clothing.
This way you could also save the valuable fabric. The colours were important to the contemporary people and by lifting the coating the colours of the underclothes and the lining could be shown. The working cloth of the country folk was a linen shirt. Long, dragging clothes were typical in the Middle Ages especially for the rich. Height was emphasised in clothes as well as in architecture. Buttons were first used in the 14th Century, however, they were more used in mens than in womens clothes.
Armorial bearing shapes and mi-parti outfits (two different colour halves of clothing) were typical in the Middle Ages. What Did Women Wear? The quantity and quality of medieval woman’s clothing depended mostly on status. Queens wore elaborate, exquisitely detailed gowns while peasants wore ill-fitting hand-me-downs. Noblewomen and the wives of wealthy merchants could afford more costly garments. A good example is Margherita Datini.
A detailed list of Margherita’s clothes from 1397 reveals what the average outfit would contain. The only undergarment consisted of a long dress, or shift. Since it had to be worn against the skin, this garment was usually made from a soft cotton or linen. This would be covered by a wool or fur petticoat during the winter months. Over the petticoat would be a long-sleeved gown. The surcoat covered the gown, but was sleeveless.
The average wardrobe of the period contained very few gowns, but an assortment of surcoats made from various material. Margherita had a wide array to choose from; blue damask, taffeta, Oriental damask, and silk are only a few. Some of the surcoats had detachable sleeves, making the outfit versatile and adaptable to the seasons. Women also wore capes, cloaks, and shawls as wraps. They could be made from wool, fur, silk, or velvet. Some of these garments may have included hoods, but there were other types of headdresses. Margherita and other women wore wimples, which were cloths that covered the head, neck, and under the chin.
The wimple was sometimes covered by a fur or cloth cap, or straw hat. Ladies wore shoes that were carved wooden bottoms with leather laces. Slippers might be made from silk, but were more often made of leather. The heel was shaped either from small blocks of wood, or from layers of leather. Other accessories included linen undersocks, long wool or silk hose, veils, purses, fans, and handkerchiefs.
Lower classes of women had an extremely limited wardrobe. Most pieces were handed down through the family, or were the cast-offs from the lady of the manor. She may or may not have the linen undergarment, and the dress was usually made from as a rough wool. In cold weather, she might wear a wool cloak or mantle. It would be difficult for peasant women to have access to finer cotton, linen, or woolen fabrics. Although the spinning wheel made the production somewhat easier, few families were able to raise flocks of sheep.
Even fewer had the.