Lazy Herjolfsnes 63

A friend of mine requested a copy of a coat he already owns.  His coat is similar to the late 14th century Herjolfsnes 63 garment, although with far fewer seams, and simpler sleeve shaping (which is why I am calling it the lazy version!).  I have actually already helped him do that a couple of years ago, but this time I took pictures!  Here’s a walk-through for anyone hoping to make something similar.

So, we start with the base cote, as modeled by two handsome gents:

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

He gave me the green cote and the new fabric and I got started!

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

I started by laying the red wool fabric down on the floor, since this project is a bit too big for any of my tables.  With the coat spread on top, you can see the approximate shape of the front panel.  It’s a little bit away from the left edge because we are going to make it four inches longer than the original.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

See?  Four inches longer.  The white thing is a nifty chalk holder-marker thing I got from a local sewing shop.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

The bottom edge of the coat is slightly curved, so we follow that curve, staying four inches away.  Then we stop at the side seam, but add a half inch to account for seam allowance.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

Above, I have neatly folded the green coat right along it’s side seam, then chalked in the angle plus seam allowance onto the red.  Again, I have stopped just past the seam, in this case the armscye, and added a half inch for seam allowance.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

Then I fold back the sleeve to expose the seam connecting it to the body piece, and follow it as best I can, all the way until it hits the shoulder.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

Then we trace around the shoulder and neckline and then ta-da, our first pattern piece is done!

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

The front piece was cut out and then flipped around to make the back piece.  On this garment, the front and back pieces are nearly identical.  The back is only one piece rather than two, so the fabric is folded in half and the front is placed on the fold.  It stands out about half an inch from the edge (visible top left) to account for seam allowance.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

The back of the neck hole is a little higher than the front in most garments, modern or historical and this guy is no exception.  With the torso parts done, we can start on the sleeves.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

This is a funny piece to trace because it has gathers along the top.  First I started with the outer edge, stopping at the seams.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

And then stopping again at the fold, since folds do not need seam allowances.  I lightly marked where the fold was, since I will fold the traced piece in half to cut the whole sleeve.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

I followed the sleeve head as best I could, and neatened it up after I took the green sleeve away.  Keep in mind that the lightly marked fold line (left) must be straight.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.comWe cut along the chalk line and fold it in half.  I am cutting both sleeves at once.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

Yay pink fuzzy socks!

 

Using the folded half as a guide, we can cut out the mirrored other half.  Sleeves are done!

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

Tracing the collar piece was quick and easy!

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

All red fabric pattern pieces are then copied onto the grey lining fabric.  Now we have doubles of everything.

Always iron your fabric for best results, but especially when it has curled edges like this!

Always iron your fabric for best results, but especially when it has curled edges like this!

Once the body pieces have been sewn at the sides and shoulders, we can inset the sleeves.  These sleeves are symmetrical, which makes them a little easier to put in correctly.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

Start by folding the sleeve in half and putting a pin in the fold/halfway mark.  That point is going to connect to the shoulder seam of the body pieces.  The seam of the sleeve will match up with the side seam of the body.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

You can then start pinning the excess fabric of the sleeve head to the armscye evenly all the way around, or just around the top half of the sleeve as I have done here.  Sometimes it’s helpful to do a couple rows of gathering stitches and cinch the excess down before pinning.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

Sew those gathers!  I will usually remove pins right before they hit the sewing machine foot, but you can sew over them if you are slow and careful.  Repeat this process with the other lining sleeve, and the two red outside fabric sleeves.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

Sew the collar piece along the sides and top, but leave the bottom open so you can flip it right side out and iron it.  It was being a little fussy, so I pinned it flat before ironing it (be careful to not iron the pin heads if they are plastic!).

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

Sew the happy new collar to the neckline of the coat.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

Now we can start joining the lining to the fashion fabric!  In the picture above, I have the collar piece sandwiched between the lining and outer fabric necklines.  In cases like this, I like to sew down one side first and then the other so I am not dealing with too many wild seams at once.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

After every seam is sewn, ironing the seams open helps the final garment lay nicely.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

I have bag lined the front and top half of the coat, but I like to do the bottom edge differently.  Sometimes one fabric will ‘grow’ or sag over time and create an ugly pouchy effect at the hem.  I have hemmed the two fabrics separately, with just one fold although you can do two if your fabric is particularly fray prone.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

The two hems are then loosely joined with a fairly large whip stitch.  By large, I’m talking maybe two stitches per inch!  This stitch is basting the hems together so that if they must be adjusted later because of fabric growth/shrinkage, they can be easily separated and resewn.  Some folks will just do the two hems and then leave them be, but I like the extra stability of the basting stitch.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

The sleeves are sewn together at the edge/cuff with a quick bit of whip stitching.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

Buttonhole time!  There are many different ways to do this, but here’s one I like to do.  I will start at the same corner every time.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

I will stitch an outline to the buttonhole.  This time I did a split stitch, but I will sometimes do a back stitch instead.  I use a measuring tape or sometimes the button itself to measure each buttonhole.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

I mark the end of the hole with a couple satin stitches and then go back down the other side.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

Now I don’t need that pin anymore so I’ve removed it.  A couple more loops around the bottom here.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

I like using a seam ripper to open button holes.  It allows me to start my cut right next to the end bars, with no chance of accidentally cutting through it.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

I like to stitch my buttonholes with something I have heard called a ‘tailors buttonhole stitch’.  If you enter that as a search term, you can find a large number of diagrams showing it.  It isn’t much different than a blanket stitch (which people often use instead of a buttonhole stitch) just with an extra loop, which creates a slightly more sturdy edge to cover the cut threads of a buttonhole.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

The happy buttonholes are done and have matching pewter buttons made by Pembroke Historical (probably not for sale, as they are his personal badge).

The coat was completed in time to wear at the next event!

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

As I worked on this project, I couldn’t help but start saving images of similar medieval garments as I happened across them.  It’s a bit backwards, to make the thing and then research for something historically similar, but oh well!

Fresco by Pandolfo Lienz, 1350.  Photo by ANDREA CARLONI (2009).

Fresco by Pandolfo Lienz, 1350. Photo by ANDREA CARLONI (2009).

15th century (1416) France Stuttgart, Württembergische Landesbibliothek Cod. poet. et phil. 2º 6: (i.a.) Roman de la Rose fol. 1r - the Lover, accompanied by a dog and four rabbits, in a garden

15th century (1416) France
Stuttgart, Württembergische Landesbibliothek
Cod. poet. et phil. 2º 6: (i.a.) Roman de la Rose
fol. 1r – the Lover, accompanied by a dog and four rabbits, in a garden

Nouvelle acquisition latine 1673, fol. 27v, Récolte des choux. Tacuinum sanitatis, Milano or Pavie (Italy), 1390-1400.

fol. 27v, Récolte des choux. Tacuinum sanitatis, Milano or Pavie (Italy), 1390-1400.

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

Another Tacuinum sanitatis.

 

How to make a 14th century men's coat, on MorganDonner.com

Yet another Tacuinum sanitatis.

 

The billions of Tacuinum sanitatis images are pretty useful for finding this coat and variations on it, particularly in the sleeves.  I like the Nova 2644 version, although I am having trouble finding a link to the whole book.

I am pleased that the date of the Herjolfsnes 63 coat and the Tacuinum Sanitatis images match up nicely, approximately 1350-1400s.

Consider following me on Facebook, I have many more project posts coming up shortly!

 

I try to post my projects in an easy to read, dress diary type format. When I first started learning to sew historical outfits, I found dress diaries to be the most helpful learning tools. I want to contribute my projects in the hopes that they will prove just as useful for others.

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