You need an arming coat to wear with your 14th century harness!
Buy our full-size paper pattern with complete instructions and historical notes for 14th century men's arming coat based on the arming coat of Edward, the Black Prince. Elbow-length and long-sleeved versions included. Fits chests 34"-54" and waists 28"-50". All Sizes in one envelope. Historical notes and embellishment suggestions included.
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light weight to coat weight wool, medium weight linen or silk
light linen for lining
silk, wool or cotton batting for stuffing
Outer Material: 4 yds 45" or 2½ yds 60" wide
Lining (optional): 4 yds 45” or 2½ yds 60” wide
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Below is an excerpt from the historical notes you will receive as part of this pattern:
The Jupon of the Black Prince
An Arming Coat from the 14th century
From hanging in Canterbury Cathedral for nearly 600 years, the arming coat of the Black Prince was very fragile. It was glued to a leather backing in the mid-19th century. In the 1950s cleaning and conservation was carried out by the Royal School of Needlework, but some pieces of the jupon have disintegrated.
Luckily we can examine Edward Plantagenet’s effigy for some idea of how the jupon originally looked. The jupon displays the Prince’s personal heraldry as the Prince of Wales, heir to the English throne, thus: quarterly France and England, a label argent. It is constructed of blue silk velvet upon which fleurs de lis are embroidered in gilt thread and red silk velvet upon which lions are embroidered in gilt thread. There is some evidence that the embroidery took place on a separate piece of velvet and that the finished charges were sewn down to their proper quarters later. The jupon appeared to Arnold to have originally had a linen backing and a layer of cotton wadding between the velvet and the linen. This jives with the construction of the Pourpoint of Charles de Blois with which it is roughly contemporary.
The jupon is closed by lacing through thread eyelets at center front. Behind the lacing attached to the right side of the opening is a placket of padded linen which disappears when the jupon is closed. This is thought to afford an added layer of protection at the front opening. The lacing eyelets stop 3.25” from the bottom.
The sleeves were set into the armscye and all the way around (i.e. they were not open at the underarm or laced on at the top). The sleeves as they have survived stop at the elbow, but it is thought that there may have been a join at the elbow and the original sleeves went to the wrist. However Edward Bolton, in his The Elements of Armories, printed in 1610, calls the jupon “his quilted coat-armour with half-sleeves.” Unless the sleeves had already disintegrated by the early 17th century (which is possible), the original jupon had sleeves only to the elbow. On the Black Prince’s effigy, reproduced at right, the same jupon is shown sleeveless.
If longer sleeves did once exist, it is not thought that they were tightly-fitted or closed with buttons since they were meant to fit over arm harness.
A white twisted two-ply cord with traces of red and blue silk wrapped around it is visible at the top of the join between the quarters on the sleeves, the top of the left back, and the center back join. Presumably this twisted bi-coloured cord originally adorned all the joins on the garment but it has disintegrated elsewhere.
The quilting appears to have been carried out in thick silk thread. The quilting lines are approximately 1.5” apart at the widest. They radiate slightly outwards from the waist seam. The neckline of the garment was originally bound.
Before we leave the subject, I would like to say a word about terminology. There are a number of different words used in the Great Wardrobe Accounts to describe garments worn over armour without much evidence of the differences between them, if any. Coat armour (or more precisely “cote-armoure”) was used by Chaucer. The earliest reference to the use of the word jupon is in The Wardrobe Accounts of Edward III, 1345-9. This is, unfortunately, all we can say about the subject with any clarity. Jupon appears to be the correct term for this particular garment. It is not clear if any other term would be appropriate.
Arnold, Janet. “The Jupon or Coat-Armour of the Black Prince in Canterbury Cathedral.” In Church Monuments, Vol. VIII, 1993, pgs. 12-24.
Crowfoot, Elizabeth, Frances Pritchard, and Kay Staniland. Medieval Finds from Excavations in London: 4 - Textiles and Clothing circa 1150-1450. 1992: HMSO, London.
Dyer, Christopher. Standards of Living in the Later Middle Ages: Social Change in England c. 1200-1520. 1989: Cambridge University Press.
Harmand, Adrien. Jeanne d'Arc, ses costumes, son armure. Essai de reconstitution. 1929: Librairie E. Leroux, Paris.
Newton, Stella. Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince: A Study of the Years 1340-1365. 1999: Boydell Press, London.
Østergård, Else. Woven into the Earth: Textiles from Norse Greenland. 2004: Aarhus University Press, Aarhus, Denmark.
Payne, Blanche. History of Costume. 1965: Harper Collins, New York.
Tuchman, Barbara W. A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century. 1978: Alfred A. Knopf, New York.
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This information © 2009 Kass McGann and Reconstructing History