Conjectural Mid-14th Century Braies

These are conjectural braies for which I have no evidence.  I often wondered why some braies from the early 14th century were depicted with inverted V-shaped cuts along the bottom of each leg.  I thought this was simply artistic license intended to depict a ragged/impoverished state.  That still remains the most likely explanation in my mind (particularly when the cuts are along the back of the leg).  Another possible explanation is that these are where material for gussets was removed.  The gussets could then be used in the crotch.  Since hose are depicted as being tied to the body along the top of the thigh, the missing material on the braies would be covered by the hose.  This design has the advantage of having absolutely no wasted cloth.

I intend to wear these braies using a belt to hold them up.  Evidence suggests that a thin belt or piece of rope would be used.  I intend to use a fairly broad belt (one and one-half to two inches in width) for the sake of comfort.  I will make a slit (from top to bottom) in the material depicted in area D to allow the points attached to the hose access to the belt underneath.

In the pattern illustration the double lines represent seams.  The seam in measurement C could also be a fold.

I was going for a 1350-1370 time period with this design.

Here you see one half of the pattern.  This is one leg.  You will need to cut two  (if you are using folded cloth) or four (if you are not using folded cloth) of these.

A. Should be half the waist measurement plus one or two inches.  Should also be half the thigh measurement plus two inches.  Use whichever number is larger.
B.  The length from waist to crotch plus two or three inches.  The gussets will be attached here to form the crotch.
C.  The length from waist to about one inch below mid-thigh.  Lower on the leg for earlier in period, higher for later in period.
D.  Anywhere from two to four inches.  The exact length is largely dependent upon the width of the belt you intend to use to hold up the braies.  Should be two or three times the width of that belt (depending on how many times you intend to roll the belt).
E.  The height of the triangle should be the same as the measurement used in B. plus half an inch for seam allowance.  The base of the triangle can be as wide as you want.  The wider it is, the more space you will have in the crotch, but the more likely it is that the braies will ride up in the back.  It is important that the gusset only be cut from the front of the braies.

This is how the two gussets are sewn together.
This is what the finished product looks like.

John Jordan
Jester of Anglesey
Copyleft 2003 (Feel free to use or reproduce this design in any way you want)