14th century Meridian Cross Cyclas / sideless surcote,  14th century projects,  Applique,  Embroidery,  Hand-Sewing,  Medieval Embroidery,  Projects

My new “Meridian Cross Cyclas” – a Manesse inspired 14th century cyclas / sideless surcote .2

My new “Meridian Cross Cyclas” – a Manesse inspired 14th century cyclas / sideless surcote And today I have some pictures of my new 14th century cyclas / sideless surcote with the completed “Meridian Cross” appliqué work for you. 🙂

I still didn’t find the time to put on my new 14th century cyclas / sideless surcote and to take pictures of me wearing it but I can assure you that I didn’t forget about it and that it is still on my to-do-list.

Unfortunately the last weekends were far too busy and as soon as my sweetheart comes home from work, there is no daylight left for proper pictures… However, I already had the possibility to wear my new 14th century cyclas at the last Magna Faire event and it kept me nicely warm during the whole event. Not only that, several kind ladies at this most recent SCA event assured me that they really liked my new dress…

My new 14th century cyclas made from lovely thick wool is indeed a great addition to my wardrobe and I really wonder why I didn’t have the idea to make one much earlier… And when I think about it, I might make at least one more cyclas for my wardrobe as I am always cold and this garment helps tremendously in my quest to stay warm… *lol*

And now let’s take a look at the pictures I just took for you – enjoy! 😀


As you can see on the picture above, my 14th century cyclas is based on a very simple pattern. I cut one rectangle for the front and one for the back and joined both parts at one side (at the shoulder line, hidden underneath the white appliqué of the top part). Then I cut one big triangle and two smaller ones (which sewn together match the big triangle) out of another rectangle fabric piece for the side gores.

Besides the neckline and openings for the arms I didn’t do any further fitting for this dress project as it’s main purpose is to be worn over other layers of clothing and too much fitting would actually work against this purpose. Furthermore lets not forget that a more or less thin “layer” of air inbetween the cyclas and the top layer of the garment underneath has also a slight insulating effect.

I did the fitting of the armholes and the neckline for the cyclas by myself in front of a mirror – always cutting away a small strip of fabric after another at one side until I reach the point where I consider the fit perfect. As you can imagine – this can only be done for the front part of the armhole when you are working by yourself but it’s quite easy to copy this cut to the other side of your dress and to adapt this cut for the backside once you take off the garment again.

The backside of the armhole, as this part of the body is missing the curves which you have at the front of your body, doesn’t require the same amount of roundness at the bottom as the front – therefore I reduced and flattened the curve at the backside of the armhole by about 2cm / 1inch and slightly adjusted it later. However – if you have the time, you can always leave a little bit more fabric – try on the garment, check the fit and adjust the cut when needed until it looks right to you.

Btw. the neckline is just big enough to get my head through when I take off my glasses. Well, yeah, I always forget this fact when I put on this extra layer which can be quite funny for everyone who watches me… 😉

And you might have already thought about it – what does this cyclas / sideless surcote make it a 14th century one and why is it not a 12th century one? Well, the answer is rather easy – the fitted armholes make it a 14th century one. All drawings I know of which are showing a 12th century cyclas indicate that its 12th century cut is rather simple with straight, unfitted armholes.

This makes quite sense to me when I think about the sewing patterns I normally work with for 12th century sewing clothing, which also seem rather basic, easy and to a certain extent also very geometrical. And here two pictures from the “Codex Manesse” which inspired me concerning this 14th century cyclas: “Der von Kürenberg” & “Herr Gottfried von Neifen

Btw. here a picture of a sideless surcote from 1230:


Source: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain;
Page: 1200–1300 in European fashion;
More details:  “Villard de Honnecourt – Sketchbook – 27-right.jpg” 

And here a picture of my appliquéd “Meridian Cross” at the front of the dress:


…and a close up picture of the appliqué work for the middle part:


I hope you enjoyed the new pictures of my 14th century cyclas / sideless surcote. 😀

Best regards Racaire