A collection of tutorials on drafting a sleeve pattern

One of the elements of clothing from the Low Countries at the turn of the 16th century that I most like is the set-in sleeve. I love the look, but it can be the most tricky part of patterning a gown. Since many people struggle with patterning a sleeve I thought I’d gather together some patterning instructions and tutorials that I have come across.

First is the Medieval Tailor’s Assistant. It has a good set of instructions to draft a sleeve pattern if you are geometrically inclined (pgs 34-38). This has been my go to option for years, although I’ve found that I have a tendency to end up with a large sleeve head.

To combat this I have started to use a tip from Marion McNealey’s article on drafting a basic sleeve from Your Wardrobe Unlock’d. She cuts a piece of string to the length of the sleeve head and uses this to set the curve to the correct length.

Mathilde Girl Genius‘ paper “Farm Boy Fetch me that Pitcher” is a really good set of instructions. Most of my students have preferred this one, although we usually need to re-fit the arm as this pattern creates a larger sleeve than

Isabella d’Angelo has a sleeve patterning tutorial which looks straightforward with plenty of photos to guide you through. I’ve not tested her instructions but certainly I’d give it a try in future.

Finally, Jean Hunisett’s Period Costume for Stage and Screen: Medieval -1500 has patterns for a variety of sleeves. In particular she has a draped sleeve which works perfectly for the draped bell sleeves that we see on Flemish and Netherlandish gowns from this period. If you want to do this style well, then I recommend getting your hands on a copy of this book and having a good look at the pattern on pages 116-117.

Ultimately you should choose the method that suits you best, or a collection of a few of them to give the best results.

A huik (heuk, heuke, hoik or hoyke), the Netherlandish duck-billed cloak

HSF Challenge #7: Tops and Toes

The huik (also spelt heuk, heuke, hoik or hoyke) is a cloak-like garment with a distinctive “duck-bill” which appears in the artistic and written records of the Netherlands from around 1520, gaining in popularity (or perhaps gaining in evidence as interest in documenting foreign clothing increased [Rublack 2011]) through to the late 1500s.

This garment was worn by women in the Low Countries in the 16th century. It is primarily pictured in outdoor scenes, although there is also one image of a room full of women in this garment in a church.

In general it seems to have been worn for warmth and modesty, with a possible benefit of protecting against the elements. Notes on a pattern sketched by Durer also seems to indicate that this item was worn in church as he names it a kirkliche (church cloak).

I’ve been wanting to have an attempt at this pattern and this item since I first found it, and 2014 was the year to give it a go.

Huik montage

3 views of me in my huik

Just the Facts

What is it?: A huik (also spelt heuke, heuk, hoik, hoike, hoyke), a cloak worn by Dutch and Flemish women in the 1500s.
The Challenge: Tops and Toes
Fabric: Wool
Pattern: Based on a pattern sketched in Albrecht Durer’s journal of his visit to the Netherlands in 1521
Year: 1521-1530s
Notions: Boning
How historically accurate is it? Short of having an extant example I’m quite happy
Hours to complete: 6
First worn: unofficially for this photo, officially it will be worn this weekend at Rowany festival, where it will help keep me warm
Total cost: $25 AUD

Want to know more about this strange item?

I’ve produced a research paper on the huik pulling together all the evidence I currently have, as well as a more detailed description of how I made this item.

I also have a pinterest board of images of the huik and images of women outside the Low Countries to chart the uniqueness of this item.