- Introduction
- Source Types Explained
- Tailoring Vocabulary
- Website Bibliography

Tailors Pattern Books:
- Burguen MS
  (1618 Spain)
- Freyle MS
  (1580 Spain)
- Anduxar MS
  (1648 Spain)
- Alcega MS
  (1580 Spain)
- Hungarian MS
- Polish MS

Related Articles
- Documenting with Few Sources
- Overcoming Documentation Phobia

Research>Tailoring Vocabulary

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A lo ancho -
Burguen: to the width.
A pelo -
Burguen: with the nap.
A pelo y labor -
Burguen: with the nap and woven pattern.
Aglet, aiglet -
A point or tag sewn on the end of a lace, usually of metal but sometimes of glass or other materials. Intended to help thread the lace through the grommet holes but eventually became decorative.
Arbol -
Burguen: the main body/pattern piece of the garment.
Armseye -
See 'scye'. Arm hole of a garment.


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Band -
The neckband of a shirt, smock, or partlet. Also collar (standing band). Bands could be 'plain' (without ornament or lace), 'falling' or rabat (French, worn normally turned down), or 'ruff bands' (which were pleated and stiffened). In a 'falling' band, the 'stock' or 'strip' of the ruff was fastened to the shirt by pins and the collar or band made fit the neck by darts or 'clocks'. De Medici ruffs were fastened to the shirt in the same method but were supported in an upright position by a starched or wired support (supportasse) and left open. Bands and ruffs were considered the dress of the gentry and anyone who did not wear them was considered a ruffian. Bands and ruffs were usually white but during the latter half of the 16th Century, colors were added to the starches. Red, blue, purple, and goose-turd green are mentioned but yellow seemed to be the most popular. The ties that were used to fasten the band closed were known as 'band strings' and were usually tasseled at the end.
Bara -
Castillian unit of measure.
Baudekin, Baudkin, Bawdekyn, Bodkin -
(aka Tinsel) Apparently a silk fabric woven with metal threads, less expensive than cloth of gold or cloth of silver. Probably from the word "Baldacco, Italian name for Baghdad. Possibly a damasked or brocaded cloth of gold.
Bayes, Bays, Baies -
A napped material, half worsted, with a warp of combed wool. Used for stiffening and lining (interlining). Range of quality depended upon number of threads per inch. During the 16th c. was worn chiefly by the wealthy.
Bent -
Reed or willow used for stiffening gowns or corsets. Usually used in bundles and quilted into channels in the gown or corset.
Bias -
Diagonal or across the grain of fabric. Used when fabric needs to stretch around something. Also used to describe something that was arranged diagonally.
Biggin -
Term derived from the French word béguin. It was a close fitting child's cap and therefore denoted childhood.
Billiment -
A decorative band, often made of goldsmith work, that edged the curve of a French hood. Could also be worn separately as a hair ornament to which a veil might be attached.
Bis, Byse -
A silky linen, similar to cypress, made in colors as well as white and sometimes interwoven with gold threads.
Baxo -
Burguen: hem or bottom of garment.
Blackwork -
Most often refers to black embroidery on white fabric. Could also refer to red embroidery on white fabric (scarlet work) or any other color of embroidery on white fabric that used backstitch and fill patterns.
Bodies -
Period term for the bodice of a woman's gown. Can also be used to describe a corset, which was usually quilted and stiffened with reeds or whalebone. Often referred to as a 'pair of bodies' which described the front and back pieces.
Bombast -
Cotton wool. Used to stuff rolls and pad doublets.
Bone Lace -
Bobbin lace.
Border -
To trim, guard, or welt. A band, usually decorated, placed around the edge of a garment in order to protect the garment from wear or to finish a seam.
Botones -
Burguen: buttons.
Bound about -
Term usually refers to braid or bias welts folded over an edge of a skirt to protect it.
Broadcloth -
Originally fine, woolen cloths of plain weave, two yards wide, exclusive of the selvage. The full length of a broadcloth was twenty-four yards, but was often exported as a 'dozen' broadcloth (a length of twelve to thirteen yards).
Brocade -
A design in a woven textile produced with an extra weft thread. Term is specific to the 17th and 18th centuries.
Buckram -
A firmly woven material, usually of hemp, linen, or maybe cotton. Used for inexpensive garments, linings, stiffening, and toiles. Stiffened buckram can be found at most craft and fabric stores. Formerly a delicate fabric of either linen or cotton and used exclusively for garments. Sometimes used as a lining and could resemble modern cotton canvas. Coarse buckram was often starched and used for stiffening collars, gowns, tops of sleeves, etc.
Buffin -
A coarse 'cotton' material (the word 'cotton' could also mean a napped fabric). Made of both wool and of silk. Usually worn by tradespeople.
Burrell -
Some type of slubbed wool.
Busk -
The central large stiffening piece of a corset. Usually made of whale bone but sometimes ivory. Lower classes used wood. Often ornately carved and ornamented. Inserted in the central casing of the 'bodies' and tied in place by 'busk points' or laces. Busk points were often given to lovers, who wore them around their wrists.
Buttons -
Used as decoration as well as fastening. According to Linthicum, Edward I established the use of the button and button hole in England. Buttons could be made of jewels, gold, thread and silks, embroidered, and adorned in every possible method. The button holes themselves were often in a contrasting color to the ground material. The number of buttons for a garment was enormous.
Byrall -
Unknown type of material used for gowns.


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Caddis -
A type of woven tape. Also a coarse, thick woolen cloth.
Caffa, Capha -
A type of coarse silk taffeta. A heavier taffeta might be a good modern substitute.
Calçon -
Burguen: breeches, pants.
Calico -
Designated a class of cotton and cotton-linen fabrics of plain weave, in various textures and colors. Could be made coarse or fine. Worn only by nobility and quite expensive. Often desired for handkerchiefs, inner sleeves, and outer garments.
Callamanco -
The name of a weave of irregular design, made in both wool and silk. Also called 'wrought silk'.
Cama(s) -
Burguen: pieces for completing pattern shapes, specific to ferreruelos, faldas or other round shaped pattern pieces.
Cambric -
A type of very fine, plain woven white linen. Takes its name from Chambray, Flanders where it was manufactured. A fine woven coarse cotton (like modern chambray) would be a good substitute. Often used for shirts, ruffs, or bands, handkerchiefs, and household linens.
Camlet, Chamlet, Chamelot, Chamelote (B.) -
A ribbed weave 'repp' fabric usually made from silk, camels hair, wool, or a combination. Very similar to Tabine. The modern equivalent is the heavier 'Bengaline' fabric found in the bridal section of most fabric stores. A sumptuary law, passed in 1532 allowed only noblemen to wear it. By 1525, chamlet was made with a 'watered' or moiré appearance which was referred to as a 'cold water chamblet'.
Caña(s) -
Burguen: The Catalonian unit of measurement. Equal to two Aragon baras.
Canons -
Breeches, which contained the entire thigh and were usually, form fitting. The word canon refers to the thighbone. Canons were often paned and made of contrasting material with the hose.
Canvas -
Cloth usually made of hemp. Used for hard wearing items such as work shirts, household towels, etc. This is not like the modern cotton canvas. This is the coarser woven natural colored cloth usually found in the interior dec. part of most fabric stores. Canvas could be made in several qualities and was sometimes trimmed with lace and silk, made into doublets, although its main use was for household linens, shirts, and aprons for workmen.
Capa -
Burguen: short cape with hood.
Capilla -
Burguen: hood
Cartridge Pleat -
Deep, even 'accordion' gatherings accomplished by shirring (pleating like an accordion), usually in three rows. Tacked on by single or double stitches to the edge of the bodice, doublet or waist band.
Cassock -
A frock or coat. The term usually refers to a masculine coat. A loose, wide sleeved coat which was usually knee to thigh length. Women's cassocks were also made. They fell out of fashion in the late part of the 16th century and were then only worn while on travel or during campaigns. Also known as Gabardines.
Caul -
A closely fitted hair net.
Changeable -
A silk taffeta in which the warp threads were of one color and the weft threads were of another. The modern equivalent of this fabric can be found in the bridal section of most fabric stores.
Chemise -
The smock or basic under garment worn next to the skin, under everything else, to keep perspiration away from the outer garments.
Chevronwise -
Arranged in a 'zig-zag' pattern.
Cloak -
Most often hooded and usually short although full-length cloaks were used. Could either be circular or 'compass' or semi-circular or 'half compass'. Made of various types of materials. A sleeved version, called the 'Dutch' cloak was also used.
Cloth of Gold, Cloth of Silver -
The method of making such fabric, in the Sixteenth century, was to use a warp of colored silk thread and a weft of gold thread or wire. The process of twining silk or hemp threads with gold wire and using the resultant thread was also used in making cloth as well as lace. The appearance of such threads could either show the foundation thread or look unbroken.
Coat -
The term usually refers to either a man's cassock or a woman's frock. Sometimes indistinguishable from gowns. Usually lined and with sleeves, with skirts reaching to the knees and fitted at the waist (although female versions were longer).
Coif -
A head covering, shaped to the head and tied under the neck. Used primarily to keep the hair clean. Usually highly decorated and made of linen. Also known as a 'creppin'.
Collar -
The term refers to either the neck band of a shirt, smock, or partlet or to the standing ruff or Medici collar. Narrow, square shirt collars were worn by children and men during the 1580's through the 1590's.
Copatain, Copintank, Sugar Loaf hat -
This is a sugar loaf shaped (hence the name) hat with a small brim that was very popular during Elizabeth's reign. Usually trimmed with a band and a large ornament.
See Passamaine. Often couched onto a garment as embellishment.
Cotton -
Known and used in period as a fabric. Imported from the Levant and listed in 1586 for use in lining doublets. In use for stockings in 1574 (cotton kersey). In use for various bags in 1576 (yellow cotton). In use as stuffing in 1597 (cotton wool). In use as lining for a coat in 1587. Probably not as finely woven as modern cottons. A heavier, coarser spun cotton cloth would be a good substitute.
Couch, couched-
To apply cord or other embellishments on to the surface of a fabric by stitching. The stitching could either be hidden or could show and give additional decorative effect.
Cuchillo(s) -
Burguen: see gusset.
Cuchillos grandes -
Burguen: large cuchillos
Cuello -
Burguen: collar piece
Cuera -
Burguen: bodies, bodice.
Curle -
Probably 'curled' cypress; a fine silk with a crepe weave. Similar to our modern crepe but with more body.
Cut -
See 'pinked'.
Cypress -
A light, transparent material made of a silk warp and a linen weft. Made in both plain and crepe weaves and used for partlets, foresleeves, and neckwear. It could be found in white, black, and various colors. Black was used for mourning. Often used to veil other materials especially embroidered work.


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Damask, damasco (B.) -
1. (noun) A figured silk fabric. 2. (noun) A patterned textile with one warp and one weft in which the design is produced by contrasting the weaving systems. Damask is still available in the table cloth section of most fabric stores but most of these fabrics are polyester or a polyester blend. There are a number of Damasks also available in bridal sections of fabric stores but most of these are also polyester blends or acetates.
Despuntadura(s) -
Burguen: The curved cut-offs from rounded pattern pieces.
Dimity -
Thought to be a coarse lindsey-woolsey type of cloth.
Dornex, Dornix -
Apparently a fabric with a linen warp and wool weft. From the Flemish town by the same name.
Doublet -
Also known as a jubon (Sp.), and jupon (Fr.). Item of clothing which was used by either sex. It consisted of a close fitted jacket with a short, upright collar and a 'short skirt' of either pickadills or a peplum type. Detachable sleeves were usual and the doublet could be made of the same material as the pants/hose or of a contrasting material. It was not unusual for a gentleman to 'have more doublets than hose'. Women's doublets, during the reign of Elizabeth, were very much like those of men. 'Peascod' doublets had an exaggerated stomach and were fashionable during the last twenty years of the 16th Century.
Dowlas -
A coarse linen, used for cloak bags and cases as well as for neckwear and clothing by the lower classes.
Down sleeves -
Any long sleeve that reached to the wrist.
Down right -
fabric term meaning to 'run the length of the body'.
Durance -
A class of closely woven, worsted wool fabrics of 'lasting quality' and patterned in various ways. It was often used in aprons, 'bodies', and in petticoats.
Dutch Cloak-
A short, round cloak, either male or female, with sleeves.


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Ell -
Flemish term of measure.


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Falda -
Burguen: see halda.
Faldones -
Burguen: see haldones.
Farthingale -
From the Spanish 'verdue' (sapling) and 'garde' (guards or bands). A cone or bell shaped underskirt stiffened with hoops or rope, bents, or whalebone. First made from ossia (willow saplings, stripped of bark) and worn in Spain from 1470 to the 1700's. Their primary function was to hold out the skirts of gowns. Introduced to England by Catherine of Aragon. The first mention of farthingales in the accounts of the royal wardrobe comes from 1545. Farthingales could be of two types; the Spanish or 'round' (which was a circular skirt stiffened by hoops) and the French (a roll, stiffened with wire and placed about the hips). Accounts of French farthingales appear in Queen Elizabeth's wardrobe in 1561. By 1580, a variation of the French type was used which consisted of a half roll, usually stuffed was worn. It allowed the front of the gown to fall straight. Wheel farthingales were also worn. These were literally a wheel like apparatus, fastened about the waist and extending at a straight line from there, giving a very abrupt edge to the skirt.
Felt -
Used in period for quilting, embroidery, stiffening, and sometimes interlining. Made of wool. Good modern equivalents would include some of the finer made felts available at most craft stores and fabric stores.
Felt hats -
Faced or lined with velvet or silk. Felt was the usual material for the Copatain or Sugar Loaf.
Ferreruelo -
Burguen: see herreruelo.
Filasella -
A type of silk with a very loose weave.
Flanders Gown -
Probably a loose type of gown with decorative guards.
Flannel -
Used as lining and for garment construction. Usually made of wool. Modern flannel is almost exclusively made of cotton. As long as it is of a fairly good quality, it should be a good substitute. A thin, fine material made of both linen and wool. It was often used for petticoats and, like buckram, was a material that was worn 'out of sight'.
Flat cap -
Often made of wool and usually worn by middle classes and apprentices.
Flores -
Burguen: seems to indicate a pattern on the surface of the textile as opposed to "a labor" which indicates a woven pattern.
Foreparte -
Term referring either to the front of a piece of clothing or to the detachable, decorated inverted V-shaped panel worn to fill the open front of a gown from the waist to the hem.
French Gown -
Possibly a gown with a square neckline, fitted bodice and full skirt. The name may have originated as fashion from France in the early 16th century.
Frieze, Frizado -
Woolen cloth made with a heavy nap, usually on one side only. It was considered especially suited for gowns, jackets, jerkins, and coats. Often used for military wear although it was worn by both men and women of all classes. Frizado was a woolen cloth of high nap that was of better quality. It was used in garments where warmth was needed.
Fringe -
1. To place decoration or braid at the very edge of a garment. 2. Equivalent to modern fringe.
Frog, frogs -
Closures for the fronts of garments, usually made from cording and couched on to the garment.
Fustian -
A piled fabric with a cotton weft and linen warp. The highest quality resembled velvet the poorest quality resembled a napped fabric. Very popular for linings and gowns. Modern velveteen would make a good substitute. It was a fashionable substitute for silk velvet.


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Galligaskins -
Gaskins hose. See slops. Also known as 'gaskins', 'gally slops' and 'gally breeches'. Wide breeches that reached to the knee only and were not 'bombasted' or stuffed.
Garter -
The strip of material used to tie around or to stockings just below the knee to hold them in place. Usually made of expensive material and adorned with goldsmith wok or rich embroidery and embellishment. Cross garters were wrapped below the knee, crossed behind the knee and tied above the knee, usually to the side.
Gauze -
Exactly as the name implies.
Gimp -
Silk wrapped around a cotton or linen core and often combined with other treads in flat braids or "fly" fringe.
Girdle -
A belt, fastened in front, and hung about the waist. Women's girdles were usually of goldsmith work, silk, or ribbon. Her pomander, fan, mirror, or muff would then depend from the girdle. Men's girdles were made of gold, silver, embroidered silks and velvets or embossed leather.
Gloves -
Symbolic of trust and honor. Often sent as a gage and worn in the helmet or hat as a symbol by which one's enemy could be recognized and challenged on the day of combat. A glove was cast down by the defendant in a quarrel and taken up by the accuser, who thus signified his acceptance of the challenge. Gloves were also used as memorials, favors and betrothal or wedding gifts. The favorite materials for gloves were soft doe and kid skins (cheverel) and silk materials such as satin and velvet. The gauntlet (piece extending to cover the wrist) was often very richly embroidered.
Gore -
A triangular shaped piece inserted into a seam or fabric piece to add width. Synonymous with 'gusset'.
Gown -
General term referring to the outer gown.
Grosgrain Cloth -
Another name for chamlet. Very similar to modern heavy 'Bengaline'. Made of hair, silk, or worsted wool. It was a taffeta weave with 'grow grains' or cords in the warp. It was made into coats, jackets, breeches, doublets, cassocks, cloaks, kirtles, and gowns, embroidered, guarded with velvet, and trimmed with lace.
Guard -
A strip of material usually used as a reinforcement on the edges of garments to prevent wear. Eventually became ornamental.
Gum Arabic -
Thick, viscous liquid obtained from the gum tree and imported from Africa. Used as size or as a way to keep raw edges of material from fraying.
Gusset -
See 'gore'.


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Halda(s) -
Burguen: cassock skirts.
Handkerchief -
An accessory necessary to every fashionable man and woman of the period. Usually carried in the hand to show them off. Made of costly materials and trimmed with cutwork, embroidery, or other embellishment.
Hanger -
Attached to the man's girdle which commonly consisted of two straps and a plate to which was buckled the scabbard of the sword. Hangers were often gifts of ladies to their favorites and bridegrooms offered them to their male attendants.
Hanging sleeve -
Any sleeve which depended from the shoulder and was open at some part of the front seam to allow the arm through. Also known as 'side' sleeves.
Hem stitch -
Used to hem and worked in such a way as to be almost invisible from the front. See Period Techniques.
Herreruelo -
Burguen: long cloak with hood, most often worn by soldiers.
Herringbone stitch -
Holland Cloth -
A linen cloth in varying qualities from very fine to coarse. Used for smocks, kerchiefs and other garments. The coarser variety was used for bed linen and linings as well as for clothing.
Hood -
Exclusively women's wear in the 16th Century. The main type of hood worn in Elizabeth's reign was known as the French or coquille hood. Usually made of velvet, tissue, or other silk, it was softly pleated with a round front and worn over the back of the head as far as the ears. The wearing of hats replaced the hood at the very end of the Century.
Hooks & Eyes -
Fastenings made of steel wire and sewn to the inside of bodices and doublets. Used as an 'invisible' fastener. In the late part of the 16th Century, hooks and eyes replaced points as fasteners for hose to garments with the points remaining as a decoration only.
Horn -
Sometimes used as a stiffener for corsets.
Hose -
Tubes of fabric, usually of expensive lightweight material, cut on the bias, and sewn to fit the foot and lower leg. 16th Century hose consisted of two parts; upper or 'trunk' hose; and lower, which could refer to 'canons', long hose, or nether stocks. Upperstocks were usually called breeches. Boot-hose were plain stockings worn over hose inside boots to protect the hose from the boot. See also Stockings.


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Inkle -
A linen tape of different qualities and widths. It was used for apron strings, girdles, bindings, and embroidery.
Irish Mantle-
A rectangular piece of fabric, usually expensive and most often knapped, worn for court or portraits. It was draped and fastened in the 'Irish' fashion; ends pinned together on the left shoulder and the bulk left to drape around the body.
Italian Fashion -
Apparently a gown with two bodices, the outer one slashed to show the inner bodice.


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Jacket -
A doublet of lighter weight, usually worn underneath a doublet but conforming to the same shape as the doublet.
Jerkin -
Also known as sayo (Sp.). A 'short coat', usually worn over another doublet and intended to protect from dirt and chill. Sometimes sleeveless. The terms 'jerkin' and 'doublet' are almost indistinguishable with one taking the place of the other. The difference seems to be in that the sleeves of the jerkin were sewn to the body and doublet sleeves were usually detachable.
Jubon -
Burguen: doublet, jerkin.


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Kendal -
A coarse woolen cloth worn by the middle and lower classes.
Kersey -
A light weight woolen fabric. Be aware that modern wool kersey is usually a knit. A fine, light weight wool would be a good substitute.
Kirtle -
A gown usually worn with an overgown, as the bodices were often made with different materials at the back and were not intended to be seen.


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Labor -
Burguen: Term indicating a woven pattern with a distinct direction.
Lace with, Laced (with)-
decorative braids, cords, etc., sewn on the garment.
Lacing hole -
The eylet or grommet (usually in a series) used to pass lacing through to secure one portion of the garment to another.
Lanilla -
Burguen: see flannel.
Lawn -
Also known as Cobweb Lawn and Tiffany. A fine, delicate linen used for smocks, sleeves, and ruffs. Made into frontlets, sleeves, ruffs and bands, doublets, foreparts, and gowns.
Latin Mantle -
A half round piece of material, shaped like a cloak, and worn for warmth.
Let down with -
Indicative of a hem facing.
Lettice cap, Miniver cap -
Made of grey fur (miniver refers to either the underbellies of squirrels or the entire pelt), tri-cornered and about three to four inches in height. Considered old fashioned near the end of the 16th Century and do not seem to have been worn by anyone above the rank of gentlewomen.
Linen -
A fabric woven from flax fibers and available in varying qualities. Most of the linen available in the modern world is of the medium quality variety compared to period linen.
Lindsey-Woolsey -
A loosely woven, plain cloth of linen yarn and wool.
Livery -
A type of uniform, usually in one solid color, worn by the servants of a particular master or mistress.
Lockeram -
A linen cloth of various weights and used for household linens, etc. Loosely woven fabric made of hemp. Used by the lower classes for ruffs, coifs, kerchiefs, household linens, and lining.
Loose gown -
Overgown hanging loosely from the shoulders, not fitting tightly to the body.
Lowpes -


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Mandilion -
A type of short, loose coat with hanging sleeves, worn with one sleeve hanging over the chest and one hanging down the back (the style of wearing thus was known as 'worne to Collie-westonward' in period).
Manga -
Burguen: sleeve.
Manga redonda -
Burguen: See Spanish sleeve.
Manto -
Burguen: generic cloak
Marble Cloth -
A fabric woven from irregularly colored wool.
Media loba -
Burguen: literally "half wolf". A term, probably colloquial, for a popular type of cape.
Medios -
Burguen: the scraps, "cabbage".
Mockado -
A mock velvet in which the pile was of wool and the backing of linen. Could be plain, striped, or tufted. Often used for gowns, fathingales, kirtles, stomachers, breeches, and jackets, could be guarded with velvet, embroidered with gold, and trimmed with lace. Chiefly used by those who couldn't afford velvet but was found in Queen Elizabeth's wardrobe.
Motley -
Originally a worsted material of mixed or variegated colors worn by the wealthy and by the clergy in vestments.


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Night cap -
Exclusively men's wear and similar to the coif.
Night gown -
Long over-gown, worn for warmth both indoors and out.
Night rail -
(See rail)


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Ojales -
Burguen: button holes.
Osier -
Willow bents. Long portions of willow, cut during the winter, and boiled until stiff. Tied in bundles and sewn into channels in a farthingale.
Overcasting -


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Painted material -
Fabric that has been painted, stained, etc.
Panes -
Long strips of material, usually made into sleeves, and caught together at intervals so that the under garment or lining shows through.
Partlet -
A small yoke piece to cover a low neckline, often richly decorated. In Tudor period often of the same material as the gown. When made of lawn, worn to fill the neckline as a chemisette or habit-shirt. In the reign of Henry VIII, partlets were worn by both men and women. Detachable sleeves usually matched the partlet. Partlets could be white, black or of various other colors. During the last half of the 16th Century, they were made with standing collars to which ruffs were attached.
Passement, passamaine, passementerie, passamanos (B.) -
Type of braid made 'in the hand' (passe - passed or made, maine - hand). French term for a wide range of trims. Known in England in the 18th century as 'parchmentery' or 'narrow wares'.
Pelo abaxo -
Burguen: nap running downwards.
Pelo arriba -
Burguen: nap running upwards.
Pendant sleeve -
See hanging sleeve.
Pennystone -
A napped woolen fabric. A fine frieze or napped cloth. Often used for lining.
Pequeñas -
Burguen: litterally "little ones". Small pieces used to piece up larger pieces.
Perpetuana -
A woolen material, resembling serge, lighter in weight than broadcloth, and long lasting. Used for drapery and screens as well as for clothing of all classes.
Petticoat -
Skirt which forms part of an outer garment or underskirt, usually decorated at the hem and intended to be seen. Might be with or without a bodice. Often lined and two or three worn together under the gown. In the 19th century, the term came to refer solely to underclothes.
Pickadils, picadillos (B.) -
Tabs or small squares of material. Usually put around the base of a doublet, bodice, or around the armhole to disguise the lacing strips. Used on corsets to help distribute weight off of the shoulders. Used on collars and wired to support ruffs.
Pieça(s) -
Burguen: generic term for pattern pieces.
Pinked -
Small cuts on the surface of a fabric, giving a decorative pattern.
Pins -
Used to pin garments and things on garments in place. Largely replace by hooks and eyes by 1600.
Placket -
Not to be confused with a 'placard' or stomacher. The treatment of the opening or vent at the top of a skirt to allow the garment to be put on.
Pleats -
Pluderhose -
A type of man's breeches, either slashed or made in panes, to show the inner lining.
Plush -
An expensive silk fabric with a nap which was longer and softer than velvet.
Points -
Originally the metal tags on thongs of leather. By the 15th Century, the metal tags called aiguillettes and the thongs 'points'. Used on a garment by placing a corresponding row of eyelet holes in the garment and the garment to which it was to be attached, threading the points through the holes and tying the ends together.
Polish Fashion -
Refers to the use of 'frog' closures on the front of bodices, doublets, and skirts.
Printed -
Usually refers to a fabric (silk, satin, or velvet) which has been touched with hot irons to form a pattern.
Prospelo -
Burguen: wrong side of fabric.
Puffed, puft -
Small areas of ruched up fabric.
Puntaguda -
Burguen: sharply pointed, specific type of hood.
Puntas -
Burguen: point pieces, tips, corners.


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Quilted -
Fr. Piqué. Refers to a 'sandwich' of material surrounding a stuffing which is then tacked together at various intervals to prevent the stuffing from moving.


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Rail -
There are three types; a square, which was worn over the neck and shoulders, a veil worn over the head and wired, and a hood with small cape usually worn with a nightgown. Could be made of linen, lawn, cypress, cambric, network, or other fine material.
Raised -
See 'razed'.
Rash Cloth -

A twilled material, similar to saye, made of either silk or wool. China twill (made of cotton) or a woolen twill would make a good substitute.
Ravelled -
To ravel or untwist the edge.
Raxa -
Burguen: see rash cloth.
Razed -
To scratch satin with a sharp knife into patterns.
Rebato -
The wire frame, sometimes covered with linen, that supported the open ruff. It was pinned to the shirt or gown and then the ruff was pinned to it.
Recaudos -
Burguen: general term for finishing pieces cut from the medios. Not shown on pattern.
Recuchillos -
Burguen: pieces to make up cuchillos.
Revers, reves (B.) -
A distinctly French garment treatment. The term refers to the front of the bodice which was turned back (reversed) to show a fancy lining and was then held in place by means of lacing holes and ties fastened to the corset. The fashion was most popular from the 1580's through the 1590's.
Riding cloak -
Probably a short cloak, without sleeves, worn when riding. Term refers to both masculine and feminine attire.
Riding coat -
Term probably refers to a cassock or loose fitting jacket worn when riding.
Robe -
The term could refer to any one of the following: 1. A generic term for clothes in general, 2. An ensemble of garments for a special use such as 'riding robes', 3. The gown and accessories worn as official insignia, i.e., emperor's robes.
Roll -
French farthingale, bum roll or shoulder rolls used to make garments stand away from the body.
Ropilla -
Burguen: cassock.
Round (Dutch) Gown -
A gown without a train.
Ruedo -
Burguen: hem.
Ruff -
According to Linthicum, the first accounts of ruffs in the royal wardrobes is from 1548. Ruffs could be made from lawn, cambric, holland, and lace. They could be plain or elaborately decorated with needlework, lace, cutwork, blackwork, etc. Matching hand ruffs were usually made and the entire set was called a 'suit' of ruffs. Hand ruffs alone were called a 'pair'. The pleats of ruffs were maintained by lining with pasteboard or starching the fabric. Ruffs, especially large ones, were pinned to supports (supportasse) to keep them in place. To keep ruffs nice, 'band boxes' were made for them.
Ruffed, ruft -
Evenly spaced gathers (cartridge pleats).
Rugg -
A hairy or shagged frieze. Especially suited for nightgowns and mantles. It was also used for linings and could be found in the wardrobes of all classes.
Russet -
Originally a homespun, coarse woolen cloth undyed and left the natural color of the wool it was produced from.
Rowed -
Set in rows, striped, ribbed, etc.


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Sackcloth -
Similar to canvas.
Safeguard -
Outer skirt or petticoat to protect the gown from dirt and use. Could be as elaborate or plain as the owner could afford.
Sarcenet -
A thin type of silk taffeta frequently used for linings. Could also be made in a thick weave.
Satin -
A fabric constructed by a simple float weave which gave a smooth surface. Not as shiny as the modern satin. Most polyester satins make good substitutes. Made in all colors, and could be plain, figured, or branched. It is a frequent item in Queen Elizabeth's wardrobe accounts.
Saye -
A soft, light, finely twilled fabric made in both silk and wool and used for clothing as well as hangings and tents.
Scarlet -
1. (noun) An expensive, very fine worsted cloth. From the French escarlette, which could be made in many colors: vermeille, rouge, verte, peonace (peacock blue), white and black. In the reign of Henry VIII, crimson scarlet was forbidden to servants. 2. (noun) Name of a bright red.
Scye -
Abbreviation for armseye or arm hole.
Seda -
Burguen: silk.
Seda lisa -
Burguen: smooth silk.
Serge -
Used for outer garments as well as for linings and facings.
Shag -
A material with a long pile. Usually of worsted or silk and used mainly for lining. Silk shag was made into gloves, gowns, and waistcoats, and other garments where warmth was required.
Shirt -
A garment with a high neck and long sleeves usually made of linen, cambric or holland. Most often, the neckband and wristbands were elaborately embroidered and/or trimmed.
Size, sized with gum -
See Gum Arabic.
Skirts -
1. Term used to denote panels attached below the waistline of a coat or doublet, most often called 'small skirts'. 2. Generic term for the lower portion of a dress.
Slops -
Sometimes called trunk, round or French breeches. Usually mid thigh length, shaped like pumpkins and stuffed with hair, flocks, or bombast. They could be made in panes or in pleats. Later in the 16th Century, they were left unstuffed and allowed to fall naturally. The word could also distinguish the Venetian breeches and Galligaskins. Sometimes the straight, close fitting varieties were also referred to as trousers.
Smock -
Period term for chemise. See chemise. A shirt like garment worn as underwear and as sleep wear. Usually trimmed in lace or embroidery at the neck and wrists and made with front opening at the neck. Could be made from linen, lawn, cambric or other fine materials.
Sobrecuello(s) -
Burguen: the extra pieces used to make up a collar.
Socama(s) -
Burguen: piecings to complete cama pieces.
Spanish round sleeve -
Also known as 'Manga redonda'. Style of sleeve, apparently originating in Spain, with an outer seam curving in to a narrow sleeve. The front seam was left open so that it could be worn as a hanging sleeve.
Spanish Taffeta -
A type of taffeta from Spain.
Stammel -
Also known as 'bastard scarlet'. A fine woolen cloth. Sometimes guarded with velvet and trimmed with lace.
Starch -
Usually a mixture of starch and water and used to stiffen various materials and ruffs.
Stay, pl. stays -
Term denoting whale bone stiffeners used in corsets and gowns.
Stockings -
A covering for the foot and leg to, or slightly above the knee. Long stockings or 'tall' stockings went from foot to thigh and were used with trunk hose. Also called netherstocks in contrast to the trunks or breeches. Made of silk, wool, and knitted. Could be of any color. See also Hose.
Stomacher -
The decorated V-shaped section of a woman's bodice. Eventually became detachable. Sometimes called a placard and always very stiff. Usually made over a foundation of pasteboard, stiffened with busks, and attached directly to the corset by means of ties or hooks.
Straw hats -
Usually worn by the lower classes.
Suit -
1. Term used in referring to male garb in which the entire ensemble harmonized or matched and consisted of the following: doublet, hose, coat, jerkin, mandilion, or cloak. 2. Term used to refer to the 'suit' of ruffs which included the neck ruff and matching wrist ruffs.
Surcoat -
A loose fitted long coat with a yoke worn by both men and woman. Sometimes referred to as a Spanish surcoat or loose gown.
Supportase -
Rigid support for a collar or ruff. Could be made of pasteboard, buckram or other rigid material and covered with silk. Could also be made from wire, either wrapped or unwrapped. Also known as 'rebato'.
Syett, Siet -
An undefined type of material.


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Tabine -
A thick silk of taffeta weave with a slight nap and given an moiré effect. Sometimes enriched with gold or silk thread.
Tacked -
Stitching to keep something in place.
Taffeta Hats -
The taffeta of Elizabeth's time was much favored for hats because it was lighter than velvet but still had sufficient body to hold its shape.
Taffeta, Tapheta -
A finely woven silk fabric mainly used for linings. Most modern polyester taffetas will make a good substitute. Could also be woven with raised stripes which could then be cut and left like the pile of velvet. Often times the tufts were of a different color than the ground. This was known as 'tuft taffeta'.Tamine -
Presumed to be the same as Estamine. A thin, fine silk or wool cloth.
Terciopelo -
Burguen: see velvet.
Thrummed hats -
Thrums were the unwoven threads at the ends of cloth or silk. A hat made so as to leave threads on the surface to form a pile were thus named. Once velvet, silk and beaver became more fashionable during Elizabeth's reign, thrummed hats became the wear of lower classes.
Tiffany -
Light weight silk or linen cloth which was almost see through. Usually used to cover embroidery to protect it and for veils. It could be white or black and made in fancy weaves. It was used for neckwear and for the lining of slashed garments (the puffs).
Tinsel -
A fabric made from silk interwoven with either gold or silver thread. Probably a satin weave.
Tissue -
A type of cloth of which both warp and weft were twisted gold thread. Much used for altar clothes and church vestments.
Toile -
A pattern, usually made out of a medium weight material, which is then sewn together and fit onto the person. Fittings to the person are then taken. The toile is then taken apart and used to make an actual pattern for use.
Train -
Term refers to the back edge of a skirt, which has been extended to trail behind the gown on to the ground.
Trastocara -
Burguen: to switch the fabric around in order to match pattern or nap.
Trunk sleeve -
A type of large, cannon shaped sleeve (tapering from shoulder to wrist). Sometimes supported by undersleeves or farthingale sleeves, which were boned or wired.
Tuft Taffeta -
(aka Velouté, Velveted) Taffeta woven with tufts of velvet. See taffeta.
Tuke -
A type of buckram.
Twist -
Term referring to twisted cords.


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Unshorn Velvet -
A velvet in which the looped pile had not been cut.
Upper bodies -
Period term for the bodice of a gown. Also known as a 'paire of bodies'.


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Vaquero -
Burguen: generic child's garment, usually with a fitted body and attached skirts.
Vasquiña -
Burguen: see petticoat. A type of underskirt meant to be seen.
Vayeta -
Burguen: see baize or baise. a type of cloth.
Velvet -
A silk fabric with a short pile. Excellent quality modern velvets will make O.K. substitutes. It could be woven in a variety of patterns such as checkered, changeable, figured, motley, and a type known as 'velvet upon velvet' which was a double pile, one higher than the other and usually of the same shade. Velvet was also made in two piles upon a ground of satin. Sometimes the pile loops were left uncut and this was known as 'unshorn' velvet.
Venitians -
A type of breeches which were fuller and longer and gathered at the knee. When ungathered at the knees were known as Spanish breeches.


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Waistcoat -
A waist length under-garment, with or without sleeves. A doublet was always worn over a waistcoat unless the wearer was 'in dishabille'. A woman did not appear in public in her waistcoat unless she was a 'strumpet'. The garment was made loose enough to pull on over the head.
Welted, welt -
Whale bone -

Made from the balene of whales. Method of stiffening garments which completely replaced the use of bents, reeds, and willow in the 1580's.
Wing -
Flat tabs of material, either straight or cut in a curved shape, usually stiffened and set over the top of the sleeve side by side.
Wrist ruffles -
Term usually referring to the wrist edge of the smock.
Wrought Velvet -
Decorated, possibly woven with a pattern, possibly embroidered.
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