Monday, May 5, 2014

Medieval Hose--Construction!

Cotehardie at Faire 9

For my cotehardie, I made a pair of bias cut wool hose from the Medieval Tailor's Assistant. They're made of lightweight worsted wool from Burnley and Trowbridge, and I'm using their wool tape as garters. My shoes are the Juliet Garden Shoes from Revival Leather Goods.

I had initially planned on making a full tutorial for these, but quickly found that would be impossible as I hopped around with muslin pinned to my calf, hoping I wasn't going to impale myself too badly, and making somewhat random cuts into that muslin in the hopes that they would somehow make sense. The short version is, take a large piece of muslin, mark the bias by drawing a line along the length, pin it tightly to your leg--the bias line on the front, the pins on the back, cut slits around the ankles for the gussets, pin in fabric to fit the gussets, and trace your foot for the sole. This method is described in the book. I do, however, have construction information!

Wool Hose 1 Wool Hose 2

Here's my finished pattern, cut in wool. The first thing I did was pin the gussets in. I decided to fold the seam allowance of the gusset slit under and topstitch them in. I'm not sure if this is period, but it is an incredibly easy method to sew gussets in with. The seam allowance is about 1/4" at the bottom, and narrows to just about nothing at the top. The seam allowance on the gusset itself stays consistent. I used about 1/2". This can be seen in the picture below.

Wool Hose 4 Wool Hose 5

Once the gussets are sewn in, it's time to sew the back seam. You'll notice it's pinned and sewn with an uneven seam allowance. This is because the wool was much stretchier than the muslin. It's best to very carefully try it on pinned and adjust. I don't recommend sewing it then trying it on, like I did at first--you'll just have to redo it!

Wool Hose 6

Pin the sole to the finished upper and sew. To finish the hose, I whipped all the seams and hemmed the top. Repeat for the second stocking!

I really enjoyed wearing these. Although they didn't show at all since he dress was so long, they felt very right!


  1. They are lovely! Do you find that wool socks are itchy or uncomfortable?

    1. Thank you!

      The wool is incredibly light and smooth and very slightly sheer--they were very comfortable. Even more so than my usual stockings.