Medieval dresses for Reenactment and Larp
Medieval Dresses - More than just a costume
The phrase medieval dresses refers to dresses that were worn in the Middle Ages or dresses that were made today, but according to medieval specifications. The dresses are so to speak "reconstructed". There are dresses which want to meet high standards and thus were hand-sewn from fabrics that resemble those which existed at that time. And then again there is a variety of medieval dresses, which were made with modern methods and are only visually oriented to the original templates.
How do you know what dresses looked like in the Middle Ages?
The best sources for the optics are paintings from that time. There are also found objects, which, however, are often poorly preserved because the fabrics have decomposed over the centuries. However, just the found pieces are again extremely informative about the processing and work technique, because seams are not sufficiently represented in paintings. The combination of both, depending on the era, allows good conclusions about the fashion of the Middle Ages.
How were medieval dresses worn?
Nowadays, dresses are worn in combination with underwear. However, in the Middle Ages there was no underwear as we know it today. Therefore, instead of them there were the so-called undergarments. These dresses are not too different from modern A-shape dresses (in detail, of course, but that would go too far here). They were worn as the first layer. Above them followed the overdress which was worn as an apron dress, hell window dress, short-sleeved dress or even long-sleeved dress. If you now combine it with a medieval narrow belt and a nice pair of medieval shoes, a civil medieval outfit for the market visit is ready.
What color were medieval dresses?
The undergarments were usually natural color or white. The overdresses were quite different. These were often colorful, because the dyeing of fabrics by means of vegetable and animal pigments enjoyed great popularity and was also a sign of prosperity, since certain colors were difficult and therefore costly to dye. These included royal blue(indigo), purple and saffron, for example. Other colors, on the other hand, were easy to dye, such as brown, which led to a lower price but also prestige.
What material were clothes made of in the Middle Ages?
The main materials available were wool and linen (flax). Cotton was not yet known or could not be spun in the European Middle Ages. Hemp, on the other hand, was known and used for ropes, sacks and cloth. However, it was rarely used for clothing, as it produced comparatively coarse fabrics.
Today, with cotton, we have a vegetable fabric, which can be made visually similar to linen, but is more comfortable to handle and also cheaper to produce. Therefore, many medieval dresses today are made of cotton. Wool is the much warmer fabric, which is therefore well suited for warming winter clothing. Linen and cotton we recommend for light summer dresses or for undergarments.
We can only advise against synthetics, as the look is usually unintentionally modern because the fibers simply do not resemble those in the Middle Ages.