The Curious Frau

Early Modern German Clothing

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Overview of Garment Fabrics in Patterns of Fashion 1560-1620

The aim of this article is to summarize the fiber content of the inner and outer garment layers used in the women’s garments in Patterns of Fashion, The cut and construction of clothes for men and women c1560-1620 (PoF) by Janet Arnold.

I am specifically focusing on linings, construction details and seam finishing treatments. For each garment I will detail wither or not it is a grave recovered garment and describe any details found in the text regarding seam finishing treatments and attachment of the lining, if there is one.


36A (pg 98) Woman’s Loose Gown 1600-1610, Probably worn by Bess of Hardwick. -Not a grave recovered garment

Outer fabric is deep wine satin, lined completely with matching velvet. This garment could have been worn open or closed.

Quote from JA’s notes on the sleeves

“The two-piece sleeve is lined with velvet cut to the same shape as the satin. The outer seam of the satin sleeve has the bias cut strip inserted and is stitched up. Then the inner seam is treated in the same way. The outer seam of the velvet is stitched up and laid over the raw edges of the satin sleeve seam. They are then caught together, to hold them. The inner seam of the velvet lining is stitched in with the satin and the bias cut strip on one side and the other side is brought over this and slip stitched down.”

She goes on to write that the shoulder wings were then constructed and attached to the sleeve, a bias cut satin strip (piping) is laid on top and the whole thing is worked as one layer and sewn to the armhole. Then the raw edges are covered with another bias cut piece of satin to make things neat.

38 (pg102) Girl’s Loose Gown, 1600-1610 - Not a grave recovered garment

Outer fabric is dark blackberry, cut and uncut velvet

Lined completely with silk taffeta, but no details given on how it was attached to the garment. Looks to have been always worn closed due to placement of hooks.

41A and B Eleanora of Toledo, 1562 – Grave clothes in very bad shape

Velvet bodice, looks to have been lined with linen from the loose stitches around the neckline and armholes, no trace of a skirt remains. There is one scrap of muddy green material that could be part of the lining on the inside right front.

The satin bodice was originally lined with closely woven linen from remnants found by the 3rd and 6th eyelet holes. From impression of the weave on the satin of the bodice back shows that it was interlined for support with a looser woven linen.

“The seam allowances (of the front and back bodice) were turned in over the interlining to make neat edges and the embroidered guards were mounted on the satin.” (PoF, pg 104)

The skirt shows no sign of a total lining or interlining, although there is a substantial amount of stiffening on the hem. There looks to be a wool felt interlining between 1.5” and 1.75” wide around the base of the hem, over this is a hem facing of matching satin that is 3.5” and 4” wide. The satin facing is rolled to the right side by 1/8 and has little snips (1/16” deep) cut into it.

This is not a split skit so the inside probably never would have shown.

42A Child’s gown worn by Grafin Katharina Zur Lippe – Grave Clothes

Outer fabric is velvet. No mention of lining.

43A Woman’s Doublet - Not a grave recovered garment

Outer fabric is embroidered black velvet placed on a foundation layer of closely woven blue linen. Doublet is lined with black satin.

There appears to be a double layer of linen in the front to hold the stays, nothing is said about the back being double interlined.

The collar is stiffened with a ‘very heavy coarse straw colored linen, like sacking, cut on the cross” over that is placed a layer of felt that is then pad stitched together. The velvet is mounted on this sacking and felt pad combo, a small strip of satin which is folded over and has a clipped edge is added for a border, and then the collar is lined with the black satin.

The skirts of the doublet are made in the same fashion, except without the clipped satin border.

44 Woman’s Kirtle 1570-1580

This kirtle has a wide variety of silk and linen fabrics in its construction. The basic foundation layer is of a coarse linen over which has been placed a layer of ivory silk. The center front of the skirt is interlined in pink linen, this is to stiffen the skirt. The front of the kirtle, where it would show out the parted fronts of the loose gown, has been covered with a fine ivory silk, with fine silver threads in the weft. This silk and silver fabric has then been embroidered with black silk and blue-grey metal spangles.

The kirtles detachable sleeves are made of pale pink linen and lined ivory silk taffeta. There is then a layer of the same embroidered silk/silver fabric on the kirtle has been applied to the lower sections of the sleeves which would show, the upper part of the sleeve cap which would be hidden under the loose gowns sleeve has been left uncovered.

45 Woman’s Loose Gown 1570-1580

The loose gown's outer fabric is black velvet decorated with strips of black satin and a black silk cord which has been wrapped around a cotton core, fiber content of velvet and satin are not mentioned. The gown's collar is interlined with linen and lined with black satin. The sleeves were

47 Gown worn by Pfalzgrafin Dorothea Sabina von Neuburg, 1598 –Grave clothes in poor condition.

Outer fabric is deep sage green velvet, the bodice was probably lined in linen but none survived the grave. No lining is given for the skirt.

48 Gown worn by Pfalgrafin Dorothea Maria von Sulzbach 1639 – Grave clothes in poor condition

Outer fabric is cut and uncut velvet. Bodice was probably lined in linen but has not survived the grave conditions. No mention of skirt lining.

52A Woman’s Loose Gown 1610-1615 - Not a grave recovered garment

Outer fabric is Italian silk with woven motifs. There does not seem to be a lining or interlining throughout the body of the gown. There is a foundation yoke to hold the pleats at the back shoulders made out of one layer coarse yellow linen and one layer ivory fustian, pad stitched together in close rows. The collar is stiffened with of two layers of black buckram with two layers of paper in between, lined with the fustian.


Originally written 2004-2005