St. Francis Tunic

Thanks to the lovely dreda, I have been made aware of a surviving tunic that may or may not have been worn by St. Francis of Assisi.

Whether or not it’s a saint’s relic, I don’t so much care about.  What has me all a-twitter is the construction of the side of the garment.  Whereas most folks seem to be constructing their garments with a square gusset in the armpit, lending ease to both the chest and the upper sleeve at the same time, this one is different.  Look closely at the picture.  The gusset in the sleeve is triangular, not unlike what we see in the “Nockert Type 4” garments (of which the “greenland”/ten-gore gown is one example), but in the underside of the sleeve rather than the back.  Obviously this lends no ease to the body. For that, the side gores appear to come all the way up to the top of that gusset, or maybe even higher (it looks like it comes higher on the left side of the picture, or about even with the gusset/sleeve seam on the right side).

I don’t know how well this would work for a busty lady, but I may just try it on my next smock! My hunch is that it may work much better than the method I’ve been using to produce the very full body/armpit area so characteristic of 13th century clothing.

(Of course, then there’s the issue of Italian vs. English, but let’s let me have my moment of geeky excitement, shall we?)


  1. Greetings! I found your blog hunting for construction details on hose, and I found this post and just had to leave a note.

    I also do 13th century, and I also had been having some troubles making everything look right (I’m not really busty though, just… big). Then I found some tantalizing evidence of triangular sleeve gussets, and side gores reaching all the way to armpits, and I took off with it… You can read the full saga here.

    I’m excited to find someone having the same thoughts that I had!!!!!

    Let me know what you end up doing,
    Eulalia de Ravenfeld
    An Tir

  1. 1 Upcoming projects… « Alianor de Ravenglas’ Web Depository

    […] since last Pennsic) I’m going to try doing a smock using the layout in the St. Francis tunic I posted about a while […]

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