Let's Talk about Legs!

A place for pics and tutorials on making Soft Kit (clothing and accessories like buckles and cloak pins).

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Iodo
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Re: Let's Talk about Legs!

Post by Iodo »

Greg wrote:
Iodo wrote:I was dry until I took my cloak off to climb a fence and put it back on inside out :( it was only two hours back to the car so no harm done...
Next time try pulling the whole thing up across your chest and tossing it over your shoulder. Nixes the need to take it off, but gets it up high and clear of the fence.
Good idea, only, I neglected to mention that it was a deer fence taller than I was :P
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Darnokthemage
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Re: Let's Talk about Legs!

Post by Darnokthemage »

"green were his girdle and his breeches all of leather"
This is about Tom Bombadill It shows that even he is wearing breeches, these made from leather.
I do not know how popular leather breeches were in England, but they were very well liked by swedes all from the 1700s to the mid 1800s. They are still used in folk costumes.
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Manveruon
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Re: Let's Talk about Legs!

Post by Manveruon »

Darnokthemage wrote:"green were his girdle and his breeches all of leather"
This is about Tom Bombadill It shows that even he is wearing breeches, these made from leather.
I do not know how popular leather breeches were in England, but they were very well liked by swedes all from the 1700s to the mid 1800s. They are still used in folk costumes.
Also, German Lederhosen immediately spring to mind.
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Darnokthemage
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Re: Let's Talk about Legs!

Post by Darnokthemage »

I am afraid they do! I find lederhosen to be far to short for my taste. Am much bigger fan of this style, could easily see Mr Bombadill wear these with a pair of blue stockings. The idea of him having a pair of lederhosen, really high socks (or bare legs!) and a pair of great yellow boots is quite amusing.


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Cimrandir
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Re: Let's Talk about Legs!

Post by Cimrandir »

So I know I'm doing a little thread necromancy here but pants have been on my mind lately and I have some questions.

So I'm leaning toward the Roman braccae interpretation of the breeches especially after a re-reading of Letter 211:
Pauline Baynes drew her inspiration for F. Giles largely from medieval MS drawings—except for the knights (who are a bit ‘King-Arthurish’)†—Sc. belong to our ‘mythological’ Middle-Ages which blends unhistorically styles and details ranging over 500 years, and most of which did not of course exist in the Dark Ages of c. 500 AD—the style seems to fit well enough.

Except that males, especially in northern parts such as the Shire, would wear breeches, whether hidden by a cloak or long mantle, or merely accompanied by a tunic.


To my minds-eye, that short passage suggests that the breeches are short enough to be covered by a cloak which makes me think of the mid-length braccae. I'm not exactly sure how long the average cloak is in Middle-earth but the Professor was a practical guy and I can't imagine Strider getting tripped up by an ankle-length cloak while wandering in Eriador.

Also I am curious about his mention of the specific date of c. 500 AD which make me think of the Britons and the early Anglo-Saxons but that's neither here nor there.

Back to the pants. Darnokthemage posted a photo of a modern interpretation of Roman braccae. As I understand it, when the Romans marched north they were understandable unused to the cold and adapted the braccae from the "barbarians." After some time had past and the military had adapted the pants, society accepted the new style and they were relatively common in Northern Roman culture. But I have yet to see any archaeological evidence and have found just the modern interpretations from art. So I guess my question is what exactly is the sources for all these reproductions? Are they just guessing at a pattern or am I missing a find that allowed them to reconstruct them in a historical fashion? The braccae as reproduced look rather modern to my eye and I am curious as to why they fell out of favor and at what time. Ultimately, it doesn't matter I guess as it is fantasy but I'd like to have something to back it up.

Continuing down the legs, I am thinking in addition to the mid-length braccae that I use a pair of early modern brain-tanned frontiersman/Native leggings to protect from brambles. I'm currently considering a low shoe versus the ubiquitous high boot and leggings would help keep the thorns and branches from scratching up my lower legs. Any thoughts on something along those lines?
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Re: Let's Talk about Legs!

Post by Taurinor »

Cimrandir wrote:As I understand it, when the Romans marched north they were understandable unused to the cold and adapted the braccae from the "barbarians." After some time had past and the military had adapted the pants, society accepted the new style and they were relatively common in Northern Roman culture. But I have yet to see any archaeological evidence and have found just the modern interpretations from art. So I guess my question is what exactly is the sources for all these reproductions? Are they just guessing at a pattern or am I missing a find that allowed them to reconstruct them in a historical fashion? The braccae as reproduced look rather modern to my eye and I am curious as to why they fell out of favor and at what time. Ultimately, it doesn't matter I guess as it is fantasy but I'd like to have something to back it up.
My understanding is that there haven't been any specifically-Roman braccae found, and some folks seem to make what are effectively short pajama pants, which might be what looks so modern to you! Legio XX recommends patterning braccae after the Danish Thorsberg trousers (which a fair few folks here have emulated - here's a pair Udwin made), while this recent blog post suggests basing them on the Marx-Etzel breeches or Daetgen trousers, which you can find included on this list of Iron Age trouser finds.

As for why they fell out of favor, I think it would be a hard thing to determine. Fashion is a fickle thing! We had a brief discussion hypothesizing on the transition from trousers to braies and hosen previously, but nothing concrete.
Cimrandir wrote:Continuing down the legs, I am thinking in addition to the mid-length braccae that I use a pair of early modern brain-tanned frontiersman/Native leggings to protect from brambles. I'm currently considering a low shoe versus the ubiquitous high boot and leggings would help keep the thorns and branches from scratching up my lower legs. Any thoughts on something along those lines?
Uthgard and Udwin have incorporated leggings into their kits. Strider is specifically described as wearing high boots, so unlike leggings (at least as far as I know, happy to be wrong!), they are supported by the text (for at least one Ranger). Functional arguments can certainly be made for low boots and leggings, though!
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Re: Let's Talk about Legs!

Post by Manveruon »

Not to derail the current discussion, because I think it’s heading in an interesting direction and I’m curious to see what Cimrandir arrives at, buuuuut...

A few weeks back on Facebook there was a gentleman who posted A fairly detailed breakdown of his Ithilien Ranger kit to a Tolkien cosplay group, and the trousers he was wearing jumped right out at me! I figured I would share them with the folks here, as well as the sources he mentioned for them. (In actual fact, I directed him to the forums, and I believe he put in an application, but I don’t know if he’s really been around since).

The trousers in question are technically Cossack stirrup trousers of the 16th century, and they are exactly what they sound like - narrow-legged trousers with a simple drawstring waist, stirrup feet - and get this - POCKETS! :lol:
Here is a rather silly picture of the gentleman in question modeling them:
35746F54-4783-4D3E-B6CC-B9033CEA73F6.jpeg
35746F54-4783-4D3E-B6CC-B9033CEA73F6.jpeg (105.92 KiB) Viewed 2262 times
And here is the documentation he provided when I inquired:

https://xviic.blogspot.com/2015/03/xvi. ... hkHyBhI_fk

And...

https://xviic.blogspot.com/2016/08/blog ... yykbjxB3YA

I haven’t dug TOO deep into it yet, but I’m extremely tempted to base my new Ranger pants on these when I finally do get around to actually making them.

Now, based on the previous discussion I completely understand why folks seem to be tending towards shorter breeches in the style of Roman braccae or 17th-19th C. short breeches, at least in terms of this conversation - and I certainly think there is a lot of merit to that, particularly in terms of the utility of such a garment when it comes to crossing streams and so forth - but for my part, personally, I still see longer, tightly fitting trousers as better matching my overall idea of the ranger silhouette - and stirrup legs are a big help when it comes to wearing tall boots.

The cut of these fascinates me, because they are one-piece legs, similar to older hosen, and then of course there are the pockets, which I am extremely enamored of (The less I have to carry around in waist pouches these days the better, to be honest - especially if it’s modern junk like keys and cell phones).

Anyway, just thought I’d throw it out there!
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Re: Let's Talk about Legs!

Post by Iodo »

Manveruon wrote:...and then of course there are the pockets, which I am extremely enamored of (The less I have to carry around in waist pouches these days the better, to be honest - especially if it’s modern junk like keys and cell phones).
I think I agree with you about pockets, I made a basic pair of linen trousers for use with my kit two years ago, then after going out wearing them once I added pockets, I guess I didn't realize how useful pockets are until I tried going without - my reasoning was that hobbits have them so they clearly exist in middle earth
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Re: Let's Talk about Legs!

Post by Cimrandir »

Taurinor wrote:My understanding is that there haven't been any specifically-Roman braccae found, and some folks seem to make what are effectively short pajama pants, which might be what looks so modern to you! Legio XX recommends patterning braccae after the Danish Thorsberg trousers (which a fair few folks here have emulated - here's a pair Udwin made), while this recent blog post suggests basing them on the Marx-Etzel breeches or Daetgen trousers, which you can find included on this list of Iron Age trouser finds.

As for why they fell out of favor, I think it would be a hard thing to determine. Fashion is a fickle thing! We had a brief discussion hypothesizing on the transition from trousers to braies and hosen previously, but nothing concrete.

....

Uthgard and Udwin have incorporated leggings into their kits. Strider is specifically described as wearing high boots, so unlike leggings (at least as far as I know, happy to be wrong!), they are supported by the text (for at least one Ranger). Functional arguments can certainly be made for low boots and leggings, though!
Taurinor, thank you so much! That blog post was very informative! The multiple designs give me a little more room to play around in and experiment with what works best. The leggings came about in my mind because I'm trying for a bit of an older, early medieval feel vs more high medieval designs so I wanted to avoid the high boots for a more of a throwback vibe with the low shoes. The leggings seemed practical for leg protection and as a nice little shout-out to the possible, maybe, sorta kinda, maybe not, if-you-squint, inspiration of Aragorn - Hawkeye of the Leatherstocking Tales.
Manveruon wrote:The trousers in question are technically Cossack stirrup trousers of the 16th century, and they are exactly what they sound like - narrow-legged trousers with a simple drawstring waist, stirrup feet - and get this - POCKETS!

https://xviic.blogspot.com/2015/03/xvi. ... hkHyBhI_fk

And...

https://xviic.blogspot.com/2016/08/blog ... yykbjxB3YA

I haven’t dug TOO deep into it yet, but I’m extremely tempted to base my new Ranger pants on these when I finally do get around to actually making them.

Now, based on the previous discussion I completely understand why folks seem to be tending towards shorter breeches in the style of Roman braccae or 17th-19th C. short breeches, at least in terms of this conversation - and I certainly think there is a lot of merit to that, particularly in terms of the utility of such a garment when it comes to crossing streams and so forth - but for my part, personally, I still see longer, tightly fitting trousers as better matching my overall idea of the ranger silhouette - and stirrup legs are a big help when it comes to wearing tall boots.

The cut of these fascinates me, because they are one-piece legs, similar to older hosen, and then of course there are the pockets, which I am extremely enamored of (The less I have to carry around in waist pouches these days the better, to be honest - especially if it’s modern junk like keys and cell phones).

Anyway, just thought I’d throw it out there!
Very interesting! Thank you for posting the sources! I tend to get tunnel vision with the historicity of things and neglect cultures outside of my inspiration even though it's fantasy and technically anything goes hah.
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Re: Let's Talk about Legs!

Post by Cimrandir »

Just a small find but in my perusing Late Roman reenactments I found these leggings attested to the Roman period found at Søgård Mose II at Viborg, Denmark from Kram Bu on Facebook. Sadly, no evidence for their use on the British isle but I thought it interesting how similar they are to early modern frontier leggings. Maybe easier to put on and use than the later winingas?

DenmarkRomanLeggings.jpg
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Iodo
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Re: Let's Talk about Legs!

Post by Iodo »

those leg wrap like things look great, what's the source for these and are they specifically roman? because I'm sure I've seen something very similar researching the garb of iron age Celtic and Pict people
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Re: Let's Talk about Legs!

Post by Cimrandir »

According to this reference from Wikipedia -
In 1944 Søgårds Mose in Denmark yielded a bog body of which only the arms and legs were preserved. The legs were covered with woolen wrappings, woven in 2/2 twill. Analysis of these wrappings has shown that the cords were originally blue, having been dyed with woad. The find has never been dated, but might date between 360 B.C. and A.D. 240, the date of a body found nearby.
I've also found this blog post here with a more definitive date range.
The leg wrappings and lower legs of a man were found in Søgård Mose near Viborg in Denmark in 1944. They are quite late in our sequence, dating to AD 130-320 but similar leg wrappings are likely to have been used for many centuries, as they are simply rectangles of wool wrapped around the lower leg and tied with leather cord (Ravn 2010, 114).
The source quoted is Ravn, M 2010. Bodies in Bogs: Bronze and Early Iron Age bog bodies from Denmark. Acta Archaeologica 81-1, pp 106-117. which I have not managed to track down so your mileage may vary.

The Roman provenience I admit comes from where I originally found the reproductions here on Facebook.

As far as Iron Age Celt or Picts, I have seen no evidence of leggings like these in Britain so far. I'd love to see what you have found because tracking down specific finds and specific clothing items can sometimes be a pain (especially when it's in a language you don't speak. :lol: )
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Re: Let's Talk about Legs!

Post by Iodo »

Nice, thanks for the links :P I'm now seriously considering making a set of those just to try out, unfortunately I can't remember my source, I tried hard to find it, but I remember reading a written description of a "rectangle of wool tied around the lower legs using two strips of twine or leather", I'm sure the article was talking about Celtic people of Scotland, but it could have been an account from a little earlier in central Europe, that would bring it a bit closer to the origin of this example

still, it's a simple enough thing for anyone to have done it at any point in history so I think it's viable for middle earth, my first set of leather gaiters were almost exactly the same in design
Gimli: It's true you don't see many Dwarf-women. And in fact, they are so alike in voice and appearance, that they are often mistaken for Dwarf-men.
Aragorn: It's the beards.
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