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I got a lot of work done on my leine last night. As long as I can figure out how to gather up the neckline to keep it from being positively obscene, it should be done and lookin' good some time tonight or tomorrow.

In order to get it looking just right, I've been doing a little research to see what techniques were really used on these garments in period. Somewhat to my dismay, I'm finding out that some rumors I've heard about the modern leine's authenticity are true.

First of all, it's interesting to know that sumptuary laws around the time of Henry VIII required that the Irish not wear any more than roughly 8 yards of fabric in their shirts. Apparently, this was a great hardship, and was considered evidence of the Englishman's desire to keep the Celt down, man. But, seriously! The one I'm making is huge-sleeved, and pleated and gathered all over the place, yet contains only about 5 yards. I'd consider this evidence that period leinte tended to be very, very full and voluminous.

Here's the thing, though: the distinctive, pleated sleeve reenactors have come to associate with the leine was apparently never gathered or pleated in period. Every source I've read says that the gathers (and more recently, the draw-string, like I'm using) originates from Ren Faires in the 1960s and 70s. It was just an expedient little anachronism to keep your sleeves out of the way on hot days at Faire.

But check out this drawing from the Tudor period, of Irish infantry soldiers. Look at the guy on the left. Doesn't that sleeve look pleated to you? If it's neither gathered nor pleated, I'd like to know how those guys kept their sleeves from seriously inhibiting their sword-arms.

So far, I can find no explanation for how these enormous garments kept from sliding down all over the place. I will keep searching for information, and I'll post again when I know. I'm sure you all will be on the edge of your seats until I find the answer!


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 8th, 2005 03:14 pm (UTC)
Not boring. :)

Sleevewise, it could just be a convention of the artist to draw the folds on the sleeves that way, but I'd go with drawstring m'self
Apr. 8th, 2005 04:06 pm (UTC)
Yeah. Draw-string it is. I like to do the reading, and then go make things the way I want to, anyway.
Apr. 8th, 2005 03:17 pm (UTC)
I'll need to figure out which book it's from; but they ran string or ribbon from the neck through the sleeves and back around the outside. Steve & Slash have used at faire, I'm not certain where the pics are.

I love the fact that you're doing the research, but if Beltaine goes completely authentic then I will miss one of the only chances to wear my roman.
Apr. 8th, 2005 03:45 pm (UTC)
Re: slleves
Fear not, Beltane will always be costume-optional (encouraged, but optional). Going 100% authentic is just nevva gonna happen...
Apr. 8th, 2005 04:05 pm (UTC)
Re: slleves
I'll need to figure out which book it's from; but they ran string or ribbon from the neck through the sleeves and back around the outside.

Right. Precisely what I'm doing with mine, and I've always assumed that was the traditional way. I mean, it results in a garment that sure looks just like the pictures from the period. But I've recently read a number of sources claiming that the gathers and draw strings are a brand new invention, and were never used in period.

But, looking at those drawings, I figure I must be missing something. Any wisdom you could impart would be greatly appreciated.

And, like E said, fear not about us going totally authentic at Beltane. I don't feel I should inflict my personal obsessions on others. I might like to, but I don't feel I should :)
Apr. 8th, 2005 04:20 pm (UTC)
Re: sleeves
I'm not expalining this well.

NOT drawstrings or gathers. The ribbon is in no way attached to the garment. It just runs inside the sleeve along your arm, the end sticking out of the neck and the end sticking out of the wrist are then tied up to shrink teh length of the sleeve in front. i'll see if I can find those pictures this weeknd.
Apr. 8th, 2005 04:49 pm (UTC)
Re: sleeves
Ohhhhhh! I think I get it. That makes sense, and come to think of it, I believe I've seen some of our peeps wear that sort of arrangement. Thanks, hon!
Apr. 8th, 2005 03:48 pm (UTC)
ahahahahahaha the thing i really like about that drawing is how one guy is actively trying to stab another, and yet none of the rest of them are doing diddlyshit about it! *snrrkle*

but yeah, it (the sleeve) at least looks like it's pushed up, and i can't for the life of me see how they'd keep them up without some kind of gathers and/or pleats. or even drawstrings. i bet there were some innovative soldiers out there who figured out how to tie them back. >:)
Apr. 8th, 2005 05:01 pm (UTC)
Kitty mentions a common method above. And I think Jack has a point about fabric width. Ultimately? I'm usin' a draw-string.
Apr. 8th, 2005 04:38 pm (UTC)
I read somewhere, and I can't recall where so take this cum grano, that the whole 8-yards leine thing is a total misunderstanding. It doesn't take into account the small width of the fabric at the time, or something like that. They were still big and drapey, but not so huge as to require tying up.
Apr. 8th, 2005 04:59 pm (UTC)
Ah, right. The width of the fabirc makes a very big difference.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 8th, 2005 04:58 pm (UTC)
Perhaps that is the secret of the Scots and Irish: the could never break free of England because their sleeves kept getting in the way?


I reckon that must be it. Also, IIRC, the Germans' solution to excessively drapey under garments was always just to bind them up into lumpy, unattractive bundles under tight over-garments. No time to find pics to support that right now, but I'm pretty sure that's what they did.

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )



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