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RH515 -- 1545-1550s Man's Schaube or Caputo

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Make this lovely men's cloak with our pattern!

Buy our full-size paper patterns with complete instructions and historical notes for German (Scahube) or Italian (Caputo) cloak popular in the 1540s-1550s, based on the garments of Mauritz, the Elector of Saxony and Don Grazia de Medici. Fits chests 34"-54" and larger. All sizes included in one envelope. Embellishment suggestions and period construction techniques included.

If you were an RH Member, this pattern would cost you only $20.45.  Become a Member now!

Suggested Fabrics:
velvet, wool or heavy silk
linen or silk for lining
heavy linen or canvas for interlining
velvet or silk for embellishment

Yardage Requirements:
4 yds at least 60" wide

braid and trim to taste

Let us help you! At Reconstructing History, we want to see you wearing the best garments you are capable of making. Call us Monday through Friday from 9am until 4pm Eastern Time (or email us st info@reconstructinghistory.com) and we will answer any questions you might have.


Below is an excerpt from the historical notes you will receive as part of this pattern:

Men’s Gowns in the beginning of the 16th century

In the final decade of the 15th century, changes were taking place all over Europe that would transform Western civilization from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance.  As usual, these changes are reflected in dress.  The clothing we see in portraiture at the turn of the 16th century gives an indication of the shape and construction of clothing in this new era.

The picture at right is from a large scene in the Roman de la Rose.  This gentleman is walking with his lady and shows us the full ensemble of the 1490s.  He wears a bright red gown lined with green plush or velvet.  The green is visible in revers at the front opening and at the tips of the extra-long sleeves and a little inside the sleeves, visible through the front seam opening.  The gown appears to be held closed only by his belt with attached pouch.

Under his gown, our gentleman wears something black on his chest.  It is possible this is a doublet of some type, but it is more likely that it is a sleeveless jerkin with attached skirts.  We know the jerkin is sleeveless because his arms are covered by gold sleeves, not black as would be expected.  On his legs are grey hosen and wide-toed shoes.  He tops it off with a wide hat worn over a green cap.  If one thinks about the typical clothing of Henry VIII in the 1530s -- doublet, jerkin, and fur-lined gown -- one can see that that style of dressing had its origins in this ensemble.

Jean Bourdichon’s early 1500s manuscript painting “The Wealthy Man” shows a gentleman with his wife and children all wearing the stylish clothing of the day.  The man wears a gold brocade gown trimmed with black over a red velvet doublet or jerkin with sleeves.  His gown sleeves appear to be open from shoulder to wrist along the front seam, trimmed with the same ornamentation as the front opening of his gown.  We cannot see much more of his outfit nor determine if it has closures or if it is just folded over his lap as he sits.  But the similarities to the previous ensemble are obvious.

An ornamental brass of an English couple from the early 1500s also shows this style of gown.  The gentleman wears a pleated shirt under a high-necked garment that appears to have close sleeves.  Over this is worn a gown lined with fur that can be seen at all the edges and inside the sleeves.  The sleeves are open at the front seam but the gentleman is wearing them in the traditional way, with his hands through the wrist openings.  His hands (and his lady’s) are folded in prayer.  The gown appears to be held closed by his belt from which suspends a pouch.

A Spanish example gives us some insight into what is going on under this gentleman’s gown.  This picture of St. Julian at right is missing the gown layer.  In the original, St. Julian is holding a hawk so it may be possible that the gown layer was not worn during sportive pursuits.  Being clad in doublet and hosen alone would have been unseemly, but wearing a skirted jerkin without a gown over it was acceptable for leisure wear.

Julian’s jerkin greatly resembles the Waffenrocks popular among Landsknecht officers in the 1530s.  The body of the garment is fitted to the chest, the sleeves are large and paned to show off the under layers, and the skirts are pleated heavily.  The garment is trimmed with contrasting fabrics and reached knee length.  Underneath it are worn hosen slashed at the knee and slashed shoes, again not unlike those of the Landsknecht 20 years in the future.

In his 1519 portrait of Joris van Zelle, the artist Orley shows us the ensemble as it evolves.  Van Zelle wears a pleated shirt much like the gentleman in the ornamental brass, above.  Over his is worn a red doublet that does not open center front, a little wider on the neck than what was popular at the turn of the century.  Over this we see a back garment even lower on the chest but without sleeves.  This is clearly the jerkin.  Van Zelle’s sleeves match his doublet layer.  Over it all he wears a black gown lined with brown fur and his arms come out the slits in the fronts of the sleeves, not the wrist openings.  The long end of one of his sleeves is looped up over his left arm.  The quintessential “Henry VII hat” completes his outfit.

To conclude our study of noblemen’s clothing leading up to the time of Henry VIII, we have Orley’s 1519 portrait of Charles V.  With his pageboy haircut and crownless hat, no one could be more stereotypically early 16th century.  His heavily pleated shift is smocked with gold embroidery.  Its neckline is wide on the collar bones in keeping with the style of the times.  His doublet is similarly wide.  His gold brocade gown is lined with fur and casually falling off his shoulders.  The look is one of casual riches.  Charles wears the collar of state of the Order of the Golden Fleece around his shoulders.

The typical clothing of noblemen in this period consisted of a number of layers.  A linen shirt and braies provided the foundation.  The braies were not seen.  The shirt could be glimpsed at the neck and cuffs, and sometimes also on the chest.  Following German fashions, shirts were typically heavily pleated and often embroidered with coloured silk thread or even gold.  Small widths of fabric at the top of the collar or the bottom of the cuffs was left unpleated, creating a ruffle that would evolve into the ruffs so popular in the reign of Henry’s daughter, Elizabeth.

Over the shirt and braies, the nobleman of the time wore a doublet and hosen.  The doublet and hosen evolved from the cloth hose and their support garment as far back as the 14th century.  In the second half of the fifteenth century, as noblemen’s hems rose, the legs of the hose had to be joined together.  By the sixteenth century, noblemen and commoners were wearing joined hosen pointed (laced) to doublets.  

Doublets could be simple sleeveless vests that did nothing more than support the hosen.  Or they could be elaborately decorated.  In Henry VIII’s time, we have evidence both of decorated doublets and plain, functional doublets to which were pinned or tied what the Germans called “Brustfleck”, a bejeweled and richly executed square of expensive material designed to show.  It could also be pinked, a form of decorative abuse that is thought to be inspired by the slashed clothing of Landsknecht soldiers.

There is probably no picture more indicative of the Early Tudor Noble style of dress than Holbein’s 1537 portrait of Henry VIII, reproduced at right and on the cover of this pattern.  Henry wears white hosen, gartered at the knee 

and we can see small ruffles of linen at his neck and sleeve ends.  There are also poufs of linen emerging from the pinking on his doublet, the sides of his codpiece, and between the jewels on his sleeves.  Assuming his shirt is of the same heavily-pleated variety he wears in other portraits, it is possible this is his shirt pulled through the openings.  

But it is also possible that these poufs were added for effect.

The fabric and decoration of his long sleeves and the garment on his chest are similar and it may be assumed that they are a complete doublet.  However it is possible that they are a set of matching sleeves and Brustfleck that pin or tie on.  It is impossible to know for sure.

Over the doublet, Henry wears a jerkin, the typical upper layer of men all across Europe at this time.  Noble versions were made from yards of elegant brocade and heavily pleated in the skirts.  Common versions used much less fabric.  The front of the jerkin closed at the waist, with either a scoop or slanted front opening.

Over all these layers was worn the heavy and rich gown.  This gown was often made of velvet and lined with fur.  It could be decorated with gold braid as is Henry’s in this portrait.  The short sleeves were typically very large and may have been bolstered with cane so they stood out to a great breadth.

A surviving outfit belonging to the Mauritz, the Elector of Saxony, is shown at right and below.  Dating from around 1547, the overgown, called Schaube in German, is very similar to the overgowns seen in portraits of Henry VIII from the previous decade.  It is made from yellow silk floral brocade approximately 22.5” wide that has lost none of its brightness over the centuries.  It is decorated with multiple bands of black velvet as well as passementerie braid and metal thread trim.  The bands edge the almost 250” hem circumference, travelling upwards along the 8.25” long center back slit as well as the bottoms of the side seams even though they are not open at all.  The falling collar and turnbacks are lined and also decorated with these bands so they show on the outside when the cloak is worn. It has sleeves that can be worn in the usual manner or thrown back over the shoulders to allow the doublet sleeves to show through the unsewn underarms of the gown.  The cloak is much slashed in the German fashion and has no closures on the front opening.

The Germans and English were not the only people to wear such garments.  A similar overgown belonging to Don Grazia de Medici, the son of Eleanor of Toledo, survives as well.  Called caputo in Italian, it differs little from Mauritz’s Schaube.

Don Grazia’s caputo makes a 3/4 circle when laid flat, narrower than Mauritz’s full circle Schaube, and the sleeves are less elaborate.  Instead of having a fold-over shawl collar, it has a tall stand collar and no revers.  Like the Schaube, it is made from the finest materials and is decorated richly.  The main material of the garment is 22” wide black silk damask with large repeats.  The pattern is not matched, and it appears to have been assembled from another garment.  Bias-cut velvet bands 1.5” wide decorate the edges.  These are snipped on the diagonal (which is the straight grain on these bias strips) for decoration.  Gold braid borders these bands top and bottom.  The bottom 8.5” of the center back seam is left open and decorated with guards and braid as shown in the sketch above.  The bottom of the side seams are similarly decorated even though they are not open, but they have the added decoration of gold frogging and passementerie buttons.  The buttons are made from gold thread and black silk worked over fabric balls with no hard object inside.  The cuffs and the sleeve slits (shown in the sketch at the top of the sleeve) are closed with passementerie buttons and frogging as is the stand collar.  The front of the cloak has no closures.  The fronts are half-lined with crimson taffeta but there is no other lining.


Moda alla Corte dei Medici, gli albiti restauranti di Cosimo, Eleanora e don Garzia.  1993:  Centro Di, Firenze.

Boucher, François.  20,000 Years of Fashion.  1987:  Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York.

Niekamp, Bettina, Angieszka Wos Jucker, et al.  Das Prunkkleid des Kurfürsten Moritz von Sachsen (1521-1553) in der Dresdner Rüstkammer.  Dokumentation - Restaurierung - Konservierung.  2008:  Abbegg Foundation, Volume 16.

Nylen, Anna-Maria. "Stureskjortorna” in Lovrustkammaren, The Journal of the Royal Armoury, Stockholm, Volume IV, 1948.

Payne, Blanche.  History of Costume.  1965:  Harper Collins, New York.

Tudor and Elizabethan Portraits - http://www.elizabethan-portraits.com

The Web Gallery of Art - http://www.wga.hu



For more, purchase this pattern.

This information © 2011 Kass McGann and Reconstructing History


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