Documentation Drafting, Day 4

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What’s New

Today I decided to focus on setting out my process for determining cutting patterns and fabric choices for the cassock and slops (sailor outfit) because the sooner I’ve figured out what I’m going to do and what the backup is, the sooner I can start cutting it out and working on it.  I tried to leave out the sections I didn’t change and underline the new text in the parts I did change.  At this stage, I’ve started putting in specific citations where I can and populating my bibliography.

Draft Begins


Because clothing has changed so much since the sixteenth century, even English-language clothing terms from the sixteenth century tend to sound unfamiliar.  In an attempt to cut down confusion, I will use English-language terms throughout unless there is no clear English equivalent.  In the case of this project, I have adopted the terms used by the Tudor Tailors for these garments (TT) but I do not have any independent evidence of these terms, or any other sixteenth century terms, for the garments in question.


This is an interpretation of an outfit worn by a sailor in an engraving by Abraham de Bruyn dated 1581, part of the collection known as Omnium gentium habitus or Trachtenbuch, as reproduced on page 421 of Davenport (Figure 1).  Davenport describes the plate as depicting Dutch, Belgian, and British sailors (Davenport, 420).  The two reference pictures are labeled 1117 and 1119 by Davenport.  [Am I able to independently verify this online?  Print is apparently kept in the Met’s print room]  [Discuss perceived issues of reliability and historicity in printed costume-books?]  The dress of Spanish sailors is also depicted in plates I, II, III, VI, LIX, LX, LXI, LXV, and LXVI of Weiditz.



Davenport’s numbers 1117, 1118, and 1119 (all in Figure 1) depict wide-legged slops reaching to mid-calf length.  I do not have information on the original coloring, if any [see if any info on Met website].  Mid-calf length to ankle-length wide-legged slops are also depicted in the following plates of Weiditz; the accompanying information on color is described in “Second Part: Plates and Inscriptions” beginning at page 25:

  • Weiditz Plate I (Weiditz himself): “breeches…light brownish yellow with red stripes.” (Weiditz, 25)
  • Weiditz Plate II (Patron or Captain): “Colours in the main like those of plate I, except…that the costume shows red stripes intersected by gray ones.” (Weiditz, 26)
  • Weiditz Plate III (Pilot): “breeches as on plate II.” (Weiditz, 26)
  • Weiditz Plate VI (Owner of a Spanish ship): “olive-coloured breeches with gray stripes” (Weiditz, 26)

It is not possible to see what the waist of any of these slops may look like.

A pair of “Breeches or Venetians” housed in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nurnberg, is described at pages 86-87 of Janet Arnold.  This garment dates to around 1615-1620.  Two pairs of drawers housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and a pair of breeches housed in the Museo del Tessuto, Prato, are described at page 106 of Arnold 4.  The pairs of drawers date to approximately 1600 and the pair of breeches dates to around 1630.  All of these appear to fall to only slightly below the knee and the legs taper toward the hem.

In designing a cutting pattern for my slops, I relied on the conjectured cutting diagrams in Janet Arnold and Arnold 4 for the waist and crotch seams, but modified the inseam and hem seams to reflect the length and width of the slops shown in the example pictures.


Works Cited

Arnold, Janet, Patterns of Fashion:  The cut and construction of clothes for men and women c1560-1620, London, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1985 (“Janet Arnold”)

Arnold, Janet, with Jenny Tiramani and Santina M. Levey, Patterns of Fashion 4: The cut and construction of linen shirts, smocks, neckwear, headwear and accessories for men and women c.1540-1660, London, Pan Macmillan Ltd., 2008 (“Arnold 4”)

Davenport, Millia, The Book of Costume, New York, Crown Publishers, Inc., 1948, Ninth Printing 1970 (“Davenport”)

Editor unknown, Authentic Everyday Dress of the Renaissance: All 154 Plates from the “Trachtenbuch”, New York, Dover Publications Inc., 1994 [I need help figuring out how to cite this properly] (“Weiditz”)

Tudor Tailor seminar [name and date of seminar] (“TT”)

Appendix I: Figures

Figure 1: Omnium gentium habitus, or Trachtenbuch, Antwerp, 1581, engraved by Abraham de Bruyn, as reproduced at page 421 of Davenport.  [actual picture will appear in print version of documentation]


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