Here’s Emily’s first project this summer, a cassock for an interpreter portraying a sailor on Mayflower II.
When I sat back and looked at that sentence I realized I’ve opened the proverbial can of worms. What is a cassock? What makes this one particularly for a sailor? What is a non-sailor cassock? Where is Emily? Who is that behind the cassock?
Let me see what I can do. Cassock in the early 17th century seemed to refer to rather a lot of garments, including one that’s part of a priest’s vestments, something that soldiers wore, and any of a number of loose upper-body garments that were as long as the hip or thigh or even the knee. These last ones were worn by working men and maybe sometimes women. More questions than answers there.
This sailor’s cassock is based on one in a woodcut by the 16th-century Italian Cesare Vecellio labeled “the English sailor.” As you can imagine, a picture with a label is a precious commodity in historical dress research. We happily make these for our Mayflower II sailors. Not-sailor cassocks are also loose-fitting upper body garments, but the sleeve is a uniform width from armhole to wrist, not wide at the armhole and narrow at the wrist as here. The non-sailor cassock, also called by the wardrobe department “landsmen’s cassocks” (totally modern nomenclature) does not flare at the waist and often has buttons at the neck. These are based on images from memorial brasses as reproduced in one of the Cunningtons’ books of costume (they did a bunch, father-daughter team; I think the one I’m remembering is their 16th century costume one).
And I tried for a week to get Emily, the cassock, and the camera all in the room at the same time while simultaneously remembering to take a photo and finally gave up in disgust. The sailor needs his cassock, and he’ll get it tomorrow morning. The cassock-holder is one of our soon-to-be child volunteer interpreters, in for a fitting today.
Regarding the comments – I’m with you, Margaret, on the not-seeing-the-columbine thing. For a minute I sort of thought if you turned the stitched one upside down….but no. I think that’s why I’m so fascinated with the columbine motifs.
Thanks, Marjorie, for the compliment on the Needle Arts article. It was all Cheryl’s (the author) good work. I saw it but didn’t have a chance to read it. Penny showed me the copy Cheryl asked the EGA to send us – it’s full of excellent pictures and hopefully it’ll encourage a few more people to join us in the stitching.