1380 AD Man's Cotehardie


Chemise of unbleached cotton. (Not seen) pattern for cotehardie

The cotehardie is well fitting and parti-colored black and white. The sleeves, which reach to the knuckles, are counterchanged. The cote fastens down the front with silver star buttons. The neckline is tight to the neck.

The leggings are black and burgundy knit.

Shoes are turnshoes of black leather.

Accessories consist of a girdle worn at hip level with a blackleather pouch.


The 14th century was an era of prosperity and luxurious living. Clothing was ostentatious and exaggerated. France became the leader of fashion although the styles of each country affected others to some degree.

pattern for cotehardie

Typical fabric colors worn at this time were white, blue, black, red, deep royal blue, green, purple, light blue, and brown. Colors were becoming identifiers for professions. Purple or light blue identified a doctor of physics, black represented a canon, and brown was used for mourning.

The typical materials used were taffeta (a most expensive new material worn only by the highest ranks, scarlet cloth, velvety material called fustian, a new green Flemish cloth called sisken, and gray mustardevilliers from Normandy. Also worn were russets and linens, satin, silk, flannels of fine wool, and many colored worsted.

The 14th century was the time of "parti-color" where garments were made of two or more colors. Colors, when shown, are usually bright and highly contrasting. This was also the time of high heraldic display. This cote was created for a good friend. His personal heraldry is perpale argent and sable, a double-headed eagle displayed, on a chief three mullets of eight points counterchanged. I created this cote to be half black and half white with the sleeves couterchanged. They are also designed to look like the displayed wings of an eagle. The buttons were chosen because they are mullets, although of five instead of eight, and also represent my friend's heraldry.

Men wore the form-fitting garment commoly known as the cotehardie from the early 14th century through the 16th century. Styles, of course, varied over time and region. For the most part, the length of men's cotehardies was above the knee. They ususally had tight sleeves,but there are examples in literature and artwork of the loose sleeve I chose to use. This is especially true in the later part of the 1300's during the reighn of Richard II. The fashions of that time period have been described as flamboyant. Here is a redrawing of a French cote from Manuscript 4431 Folio 115. It is part of the Harley Collection in the British Museum.

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Equipment needed: paper, tape measure, T-square ruler and/or yardstick. You will need the following measurements. (Where measurements are divided use the number obtained by division).

Add 1/2" around all patterns for seam allowance.


  1. _____ One shoulder length
  2. _____ Back (shoulder point to shoulder point) divide by 2= _______
  3. _____ Chest (all the way around at nipple line) divide by 4= _______
  4. _____ Waist (all around at most narrow point) divide by 4= _______
  5. _____ Axilla (all around arm at the shoulder point divide by 2= _______
  6. _____ Shoulder point to axilla
  7. _____ Hips (all around 3" down from waist) divide by 4= _______
  8. _____ Hips (6" down from waist) divide by 4= _______
  9. _____ Last hip measurement to desired finished length of cote
  10. _____ Shoulder to waist (back)


  1. _____ Shoulder point to elbow
  2. _____ Elbow to wrist
  3. _____ Wrist to hand
  4. _____ Axilla to wrist
  5. _____ Shoulder to wrist (with arm bent)
  6. _____ Upper arm circumference
  7. _____ Elbow circumference (flexed)divide by 2= _______
  8. _____ Forearm circumference divide by 2= _______
  9. _____ Hand circumference divide by 2= _______
      (This is used as a wrist measurement so you can get your hand through the sleeve.)



pattern for cotehardie
  1. Draw a vertical line down the left side of your paper (A).
  2. Mark the shoulder point, by measuring the distance of the shoulder (after division) horizontally from the edge of the paper (B). Label this dot (#1)
  3. Draw a straight-line the distance of one shoulder length toward the center and up 1/4", (#2).
  4. Mark the neckline front (#3).
  5. Connect point #2 with point #3 to make the neck.
  6. Measure down from #1 the distance of the shoulder point to the axilla (C) ande draw a horizontal line (D).
  7. Measure the axilla onto the pattern in a "j" curve, with the lower edge intersecting the chest measurement at line D. Label the intersection point #4.
  8. Measure down from the axilla the number of inches to the waist and draw a horizontal line across the paper. (E).
  9. Draw a vertical line 1" in from the left side of the paper (F) and intersect with line E. Make a dot at the intersection point. (#5)
  10. Mark the waist measurement, starting at point #5. Label this as #6.
  11. Draw a line connecting points #3 and #5 (gently curve into it.)
  12. Draw a line connecting points #4 and #6.
  13. Measure 3" down from the waist and draw a horizontal line across the paper (G).
  14. Do the same 6" down from the waist, and draw a horizontal line across the paper (H).
  15. Make a dot on line G 1/2" from the left edge of the paper.(#7)
  16. Mark the hip measurement, on line G starting a point #7. (#8).
  17. Make a dot on line H, at the 6" down hip measurement (#9).
  18. Connect dots #5, #7, and #9.
  19. Connects dots #6, #8, and #10.
  20. Measure down from the last hip measurment to desired finished length of the cote (I).
  21. Now, soften the pattern slightly, rounding the curves and loosening the hips slightly.


pattern for cotehardie sleeve
  1. Draw a straight vertical line down the center of your paper. About 1" down the line make a mark for the top of the shoulder. Label it A.
  2. Measure down the number of inches from shoulder to wrist and make a dot. Label this B.
  3. Draw a dot on line A - B that is 1/2 A - B. Mark it C.
  4. Draw a dot on line A - B that is 2" belwo C. Draw a perpendicular line. Mark it D.
  5. Subtract the armhole depth from A. Draw a perpendicular line. Mark it E.
  6. Measure 1/2 of armhole + 1" on both sides of line E. Mark these points F. and G.
  7. Connect point A - F and connect point A - G.
  8. Measure down 1/2 E - F and make a line H.
  9. Measure down 1/2 E - G and make a line I.
  10. Measure 1/2 bicep + 1" on line D. Mark these points J and K.
  11. Measure 1/2 wrist + 1" on both sides of line B. Mark these points L and M.
  12. Connect line F - G - L and line G - K - M.

  13. Draw curved line from F - A and A - G.pattern for cotehardie sleeve

  14. Take the sleeve block and cut along line H - J.
  15. Move triangle E - H - J to the other side of the sleeve block. pattern for cotehardie
  16. Draw the complete sleeve pattern and then make the following alterations to create the feathered dags.
  17. Using the new pattern, create new lines E and F the desired length of the longest dag.
  18. Draw a gentle curve across the bottom to show the finished length of each dag. The shortest dag is 6" longer than the shoulder to wrist length.
  19. Draw in each dag. Since the dags are to look like the feathers of an eagle, each dag slants away from the top of the sleeve.

Now draw the seam allowance onto the patterns. Also, write the initial measurements directly on the patterns to facilitate changes in the future. A cote made directly from this pattern will be very snug. if more ease is desired, add 2" to each measurement before dividing it.

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Remember to cut all pieces on the grain, not the bias.

Step 1

Fold fabric lengthwise.

Step 2

Make pattern using directions given in this section.

Step 3

Cut two of both front and back of cote in both white and black fabrics. Remember to make the neckline higher in the back to prevent the dress from falling off of the shoulders. Remember to make the seam allowance 1" on each side of the center front for the buttonholes.

Step 4

Cut two white sleeves and two black sleeves.

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General Sewing Tips

  1. It is very important to pre-shrink all fabric. Treat the fabric as you would after the garment is complete.
  2. All seams (except the seam to have lacing) are to have 1/2" seam allowances.
  3. Zigzag all edges to prevent raveling.
  4. Backstitch 1/4" at the beginning and end of each seam to keep seam from coming out.
  5. Pin pieces of fabric being sewn together before sewing to keep fabric from slipping and edges together while sewing.
  6. Always put "right" sides of fabric together when sewing.
  7. Mark "wrong" sides of material if necessary with a chalk pencil or soap as pieces are cut out.
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cote construction

Step 1

Sew together both black and white back pieces.

Step 2

shoulder seams

Put "right" sides together and sew the back to the front at the shoulder seams

Step 3

Without separating the front and back of the cote, sew the side seams together from armpit to hem.

Step 4

Bind the nexk edge with 1" bias binding

Step 5

sleeve tube

Fold each sleeve in half making a tube. Then sew from armpit to end of dags. Sew all four of the sleeves in this manner.

Step 6

Place one white sleeve inside the other with "right" sides together Repeat for the black sleeve.

Step 7

top stitching

Sew 1/4" around the edge of all the dags. Turn each sleeve so that "wrong" sides are together. Press.

Step 8


Turn the sleeve insdie out and pin the sleeves to the cote sleeve opening. This means the sleeve will be on the inside of the cote, which is still "wrong" side out. match the top curve of the sleeve to the shoulder seam of the cote.

Step 9

Press stabilizer to the inside 1" of both of the center front edges of the cote. Turn each of the raw edges inside 1". Topstitch to close.

Step 10

Sew buttonholes 1" apart down the left side of the cote. Sew buttons 1/4" from the outer edge on the right side of the cote.

Step 11

Hem the bottom of the cote with a rolled hem.

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