A Spanish Woman’s Ensemble

A note: I wrote this documentation as if everything has been completed, that is not a done deal, and I will post updates as to what has and has not been completed in the future, but this was the most straight forward way to write.

Our outfit inspiration comes from one of the three painted domes in the Hall of kings in the Alahambra, which is located in Granada Spain. Particular dumb appears to depict currently, chivalric scenes. Context clues place the dating of the paintings to be either in the reign of Mohamed VII (1395-1410) or Yusuf III (1410-1424). 

The Ensemble consists of the following

A black kirtle with long sleeves that lace

A red overgown with integral tippets

A white sideless surcote that falls to below the knee

A chemise and hosen were also created


14th century made use of the materials that were standard in most parts of Europe at this time, namely wool, linen,and silk. Cotton growing was also well established in Spain by the 14th century and it does show up in clothing of the time such as in Dona Teresa Gil’s burial dress and wardrobe inventories.

Our first layer, the black kirtle is constructed out of a wool flannel. It is lined to the hips in the bodice with a blue linen and was draped to function as a supportive garment. Queen Margrests golden gown also shows a bodice lined through hip level.

The second layer is constructed out of a lightweight worsted wool. A woolen fabric was considered, but as there is evidence for both types of wool fabric in this era, and for comfort in warmer weather, the worsted was chosen. It is fully lined, except the sleeves, in a pink linen. This was due to having pink linen on hand and evidence of linen linings.

The most interesting layer, the white sideless surcoat trimmed in gold. This is, to my knowledge, peculiar to Spain. It features on several women painted in this particular dome, and two other images are  included below. It is made of white silk taffeta, lined in a lightweight wool. The wool was essential for adding the appropriate stiffness, as heavier weight silks were out of my price range. The front is decorated with metal buttons that looked plausible. 

The gold trim on all three garments is a silk taffeta.


The black kirtle was draped on the body in linen to about hip level until it fit and supported appropriately, this then became my master pattern for cutting out both the black kirtle and the red overgown

The sleeves for the black kirtle were drafted flat, after measuring the final armsyce. To make the sleeves for the red overgown the sleeve pattern was adapted based on the tippets in the royal grave finds of Bohemia that date to the 14th century.

The surcoat was also draped on the body with two large pieces of fabric and then transferred to the final Fabric and lining fabric.

The gold trim is attached to all of the garments with simple hand stitching, and the seams have either been left unfinished, or were flattened with stab stitch. The basic stitching on all garments was done on a sewing machine. The black and red dresses both have hand faced necklines, as depicted in the Museum of London’s book Clothing and Textiles. The hems are either in closed or hemmed with a tightly spaced running stitch.


Bassols, Aymerich Montse. La Moda a La Catalunya Del Segle XIV: Retalls De La Vida Medieval. Llibres de L’Índex (Ediciones de La Tempestad, S.L.), 2018.

Crowfoot, Elisabeth, et al. Textiles and Clothing, c.1150-1450 (Medieval Finds from Excavations in London). New edition, Boydell Press, 2006.

Kelly, Tasha. “The Royal Grave Clothing of 14th Century Bohemia.” La Cotte Simple, 8 Sept. 2016, cottesimple.com/garments/royal-grave-clothing-14th-century-bohemia.

Newton, Stella Mary. Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince: A Study of the Years 1340-1365. Boydell Press, 2016.

Scott, Margaret. A Visual History of Costume: The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries. New York-United States, United States, Macmillan Publishers, 1983.

Some Clothing of the Middle Ages. I. Marc Carlson, www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/cloth/bockhome.html.

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One Response to A Spanish Woman’s Ensemble

  1. Melody Faith says:

    I made this outfit before. I am so sorry I do not get to judge it now. Go figure the computer modem would die 2 days before the event.

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