Houppelande of John of Görlitz

Here is the link to the Museum documents Translated by Master Charles De Bourbon. The original can be found here on Charles’ webpage.

A big thank you to Charles De Bourbon for all of his help and sharing his documentation with me!

John of Gorlitz also known as Jan Zhorelecky was the last son of king Charles IV.  In 1396 he died suddenly. Since he was not royal heir he was buried in fashionable secular clothing.

The garment was constructed in haste, and the few remaining stitches on the collar are are approximately 3 stitches per inch.

It is created from 18 trapezoid panels made of a single layer of black monochrome velvet.

14 of the 18 panel measure 150 by 25.5 cm, four panels at the shoulders measure 150 by 33.5 cm. The entire garment Is 150 cm long with a hem of 480 cm. (Or roughly 5′ tall with a 16′ hem)

Four of the panels have been pieced at the bottom. See diagram below. The center front panel is split for the neck opening. There is a short standing collar.

The sleeves of this garment are long and straight, have a seam down the back and have a curved sleeve head. These sleeves are much longer than a persons arm, and it is unknown if the sleeves are made long to cover hands that may be suffering from rigor mortis, or if it was a fashion convention at the time to have the excess fabric pushed up on the arm.

Whenever possible the selvage of the fabric was used. Each of the panels have been cut so that one long edge is along the straight grain, and the other is on a slightly bias cut. When sewn together a straight grain to bias causes garments to form natural pleats. (This is also a conclusion that Tasha Kelly has arrived at on her blog at cottesimple.com) It is unknown to me at this moment if the nap of the velvet has been sew in the same direction.

An interesting feature of the garment is that the only place that is lined is the collar. There are no closures on, but a rip on the collar may indicate that some fastener was used. The collar is also the only place where original extent stitches remain intact. The stitches here and impression elsewhere on the garment show very wide spacing, simple running stitches 3 stitches to the inch, which confirms that this garment was solely intended to cover a body.

The following images are Photographs of this garment taken during the 2005 restoration.