FOUNDATIONS REVEALED COMPETITION ENTRY
Yee Old Night Owl
Outline the story …
This medieval hood is inspired by the snowsuit worn by Night Owl in The Watchman graphic novel illustrated by Dave Gibbons. The superhero’s defining characteristics were his love of owls, obsession with the past, and his inability to feel alive unless in costume. The Night Owl is depicted wearing a white cloak shaped like a cocoon, trimmed in fur and slashed with bright red. I saw this and immediately knew I needed my own owl snowsuit. The style of the costume is based on fashion typical of mid-1300s Europe.
The gown is two pieces: a cotehardie, or close fitting red undergown, and a blue overgown. My particular hood design is modelled upon the hood found on the “Bocksten Man,” a mummy discovered in Sweden in the 1880s dating back to the mid-1300s. His hood is one of several well-preserved hoods from the medieval era. It extends to the shoulders and has a long lirepipe (fabric tube stemming from the back of the head) and center chest gore. For my version I added dagged “feathers”, popular in fourteenth century illustrations, to give the hood a more owl-like appearance I also added slashes to reveal a red interior. Slashing like this would not have been seen on garments until the 1500s. Most women’s hoods opened at the front and closed with buttons. I chose red buttons to tie in the red color from the slashes. The final touch of fur to frame the face captures the snow owl’s round shape.
Outline the construction…
The pattern is self-drafted based on illustrations of the Bocksten hood. I made five mockups to get the hood to fit. I struggled to fit the men’s pattern across my chest. The Hood was constructed using three layers: white wool, red linen and brown wool lining. Historically, red linen would have been adequate lining, however I chose to line with wool for added warmth as I feared wind would go straight through the slashes and the linen layer to my skin. The feathers were embroidered with black wool in crescent shapes to mimic snow owl feathers. All visible edges were finished by hand using an overcast stitch. This was my first time working with fur, which was sewn on by hand. Initially I did not plan for an open hood, but I couldn’t get the hood over my hairstyle. Hooks and eyes were installed as buttonholes in the thick wool layers were not feasible. Wool buttons were made and sewn to the front of the hood.
The hood is worn over a red linen kirtle and a blue linen overdress with blue tippet sleeves. The red kirtle laces up the front was self-drafted using the methods of Morgan Donner. The blue overdress laces up the sides and was made using the pattern drafted from the red kirtle. The skirt of the blue overdress is a full circle, which gives it the full volume often seen in paintings and manuscripts of the time. The blue dress is flat lined with linen.