Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mens Medieval Undies

David and I finished up his medieval undergarments this week. I measured, cut and sewed and he suffered through measurement and fitting sessions and kept me company while I worked on finishing seams.

His underwear are a bit more involved than mine. Not only a shirt, but braies as well. These are made from a square and rectangle method and are extremely basic. Still, I did make a mistake with his braies and they ended up way too huge at first. I had to shorten them by a good six inches and take in 8 inches in girth before David was happy with them. But, at last, they are done. Both shirt and braies are made from 5.3 oz bleached, softened linen from David reports that this linen is quite comfortable. It is a pain to iron though, so, I just won't iron it. :P Rumply linen will be just fine.

The shirt is exactly like my smock except the neck is not so wide and there are no gores for extra width at the hem. It ends about mid-thigh on David and the sleeves are more loose than mine are. The braies were a bit more difficult to figure out because it seems there are at least several ways to make them that I have so far come across. Some seem more authentic than others but in the end, I went with what David was most comfortable with. These braies are similar in shape and fit to the boxer shorts he wears as loungewear at home so he said he will wear them. Several other styles we discussed he said he just would not wear! They are insanely simple and consist of rectangles for the legs and a square gusset for the crutch area. The gusset has some elasticity so when David put the braies on he can roll the casing a few times to get the characteristic padded look, and the gusset stretches to support, well, the stuff that guys need support for. Quite nifty. The top has a casing for a drawstring and slits over each hip where he can attach the ties that will hold up his hose. The instructions I based these off of had a rope used for a drawstring but David thought that would be uncomfortable so I made a flat, wide drawstring from a finished strip of blue linen for the belt. It is about 1" wide. Some sources that depict 14th century braies have colored belts, so I thought the blue linen would not be too far out of the ballpark.

Here are some of the sites that were instructional, inspiring and helpful!

Chausses and Braies (I used this method for making Davids braies)

Men's 14th Century Clothing (pattern here for braies similar to the ones I made)

Recreating 14th Century Braies (some cool ideas for two different styles of braies for transitional clothing)



  1. HI Sarah...this is neat!! I have a knitting pattern somewhere for a shirt just like the one you made from the linen cloth....but it's based of a medieval knitted piece...and it's been recreated with modern knitting terms etc!!!

    Oh, the that like boxer shrots/mens underwear?...I'm wondering if they had ironing then? I know I saw on some movie...either "Ever After" or another film that takes place in the 1600s or earlier...the clothes were hung from a clothes line to dry on one end...but weight down with stones on the other to hold the fabric completely taut and the wrinkles would naturally iron themselves out...Anyway, it's just a memory from a movie..You'd probably have to research the historical authenticity of that...
    Anyway....all that to say, I LOVE the way this project has turned out :) :) You've got amazing sewing skills!!! Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  2. These look great! Somehow it never occurs to me to think about men's historical underwear ;-) I like the blue drawstring :)

  3. Very nice Sarah! I can't wait to see your family all kitted out in your medieval clothes. Your work looks beautiful. :D


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!