12th century dress - grey,  12th century projects,  Hand-Sewing,  Projects

My new grey 12th century dress – maunches and first sewing steps…

2016 04 - Racaire grey 12th century dressDuring the last days I was busy working at some calligraphy projects but I also did some hand-sewing and finished a good part of the sleeves for my very new 12th century dress project.

While packing for the big Gulf Wars event in Mississippi, I decided that I definitely have to enlarge my own as well as my husbands 12th century wardrobe by several new pieces as soon as I come back. This should ensure that my husband and I will have enough clothing for the next long war.

Not only that, it will also give me much more 12th century dresses to chose from for the next events and the great opportunity to try out new pattern ideas for maunches and other things… And furthermore I also decided to take the chance to make some matching clothes for my husband and me, inspired by so many other couples in the SCA which just look adorable in their matching outfits…

Needless to say that my husband absolutely doesn’t object to it – he is very happy with whatever reason I have to make him something new to wear and can’t wait that I start doing it. Yeah, I love my man… *lol*

And now let’s take a look at my most recent 12th century project, my a little bit different maunch cut for this dress project and the hand-sewing progress so far… – enjoy! 😀


Well, yes, the dress looks a little bit boring at this early stage of construction but unfortunately dress projects seem always to have this kind of sad appearance during the early project stages – regardless how great they look when they are finished. The main thing is now to not to give up on the project and to power through this stages as well as the next ones, to create something that looks much more like an actual dress… 🙂 

However sad this project might look like at the moment, you might actually find my steps which lead up to this progress quite interesting. Regardless if I am working at a dress for me or a tunic project for my husband, I nearly always start with measuring and cutting the sleeves and the main body part first. When all the cutting is done, I start right away with the work at the sleeves.

This doesn’t necessary mean that I finish the complete sleeve during this next step – I just sew the sleeves together to a point where they already show a good part of their final shape – with a special focus on finishing the part which will be sewn to the main body of the dress/tunic during the next step.

Concerning the maunches, (the special 12th century style sleeve which you can see on the picture underneath, I finished the whole seam at the bottom of the maunch including the small rectangular gore for the armpit in one step. But when it comes to fitted sleeves for underdresses I work a little bit different. To make fitted sleeves I always just finish about 3 or 4 inches of the seam, starting at the armpit/shoulder point – this gives me the possibility to fit the sleeves properly as soon as I put the dress on and have the sleeves at their final position on my arms…


2016-03_Racaire_new-12th-century-dresses_Gulf-Wars_2Btw. something more about the maunches which you can see on the picture above – the overlong maunches which I made for my new 12th century purple dress worked out so surprisingly well that I decided to try overlong maunches again – but this time with a slightly different cut.

If you compare the two pictures with each other, you will see that the maunches of the purple dress have a very straight cut and the new maunches of the grey dress are cut in an angle…

Well, I can’t say yet how this new maunch cut will influence the final look of the sleeves as the added fabric and embellishment to the border might influence the appearance quite a lot. But as soon as the new dress is finished, we will be able to make a direct comparison.

Well, I think that was enough about my new maunch cut – let me summarize my steps till now:

  • First I measure and cut the sleeves/maunches and the body part.
  • Then I assemble the sleeve as described above.
  • Then I attach the sleeve to the body part.
  • Then I cut the neck-hole which allows me to put the dress on and to fit the sides of the dress.

Yeah, I admit it, I am slightly OCD when it comes to sewing steps… 😉

…and here a picture of the very basic and rough neckline cut which I normally make for a dress or tunic in preparation for a later keyhole neckline:


I always try to keep this neck cut as small as possible. A simple measurement from one side of the neck to the other side with the measuring tape gives a great starting point for the basic width for the cut and then the front slit just needs to be extended until the head can be put through rather comfortably… Then I leave every further adjustment to the step where I actually start working at the neckline as it doesn’t really alter the fit of the dress.

Btw. you can see that I already cut the top part of the neckline in a slight curve. Well, years ago I normally started with a straight line but then I started to adjust the straight line more and more to a slightly curved one as it takes some tension out of the back part of the neckline when I put the dress on which is otherwise a little bit uncomfortable… And maybe another interesting detail for you – I make most of the cuts like this while the dress is folded in the middle – how I fold it depends on if I want to apply the cut to front and back on both sides or just front or back – this ensures that I always have the same cut on both sides and not need to worry about it anymore…

And last but not least a close up picture of the fabric I am using for this new 12th century dress project as well as a picture of my seam finishing in progress:


I hope you enjoyed the progress pictures of my very new 12th century dress project – more about it soon… 🙂

Best regards Racaire