Note: The thigh and calf measurements are just approximate maximums because of the bias cut of the fabric the relative ‘stretchiness’ of this garment allows it to fit a variety of legs shapes including those smaller around than the maximum sizes. The most critical and least flexible (although there is some give there) aspect of our chauses is the shoes size so that should be your primary determinate on deciding which size will fit best. When in doubt, or on the cusp of two sizes it is generally advisable to go with the larger size. While the bias cut does give our chause some elasticity – it is not the extreme elasticity most of us our used to in our modern knit clothing. The chauses are cut generously in the length to fit most inseams and keep your braies tucked in, even when sitting!
|Size||Maximum Men’s Shoe Size||Inseam from Sole||Calf Circumference||Top of Thigh Circumference|
|Medium||10||35″ / 89cm||15.5″ / 39cm||26″ / 66cm|
|Large||12 1/2||35″ / 89cm||16.5″ / 42cm||28″ / 71cm|
|X-Large||14||35″ / 89cm||18.0″ / 46cm||33″ / 84cm|
Shown: Black and Natural laces with metal tips
Natural comes in both silver and brass
Shown: Colored Lacing Points
Colored laces come with silver metal tips only.
We can’t talk about Chauses without discussing braies, as well, since they work together to create a medieval version of “pants”.
For the majority of the Middle Ages, the idea of trousers was simply unknown. Rather, men (and possibly women) of all classes wore a pair of baggy drawers under their normal clothing. Laced to these braies was a pair of tight-fitting hose or chausses to cover the legs. Normally made of linen or wool, they are best cut “on the bias” (diagonal) across the warp and weft to increase their elasticity. While some hose stopped at the ankle, others incorporated feet, and some even had leather soles stitched on to take the place of shoes. These chauses were often further secured beneath the knee with a simple fabric or leather garter. While braies are always depicted as being white, chausses came in a variety of colors.
Our chauses are based on surviving historical artwork and extant garments. Made of a sturdy linen, our chauses are cut on the bias, with a clean, close fit in the ankle, creating the smooth line seen in historical artwork. They lace to the braies with a simple “point” (lace) and are cut high enough on the inside of the leg to keep the braies neatly tucked in. A final advantage to historical underwear that is often overlooked is comfort. The relaxed fit of the braies is of great comfort when lounging around camp, and in hot weather, the chauses can be rolled down and worn around the ankles, creating the medieval equivalent of shorts.
How to point your Braies and Chauses
|Our braies are designed to have the chause pointed to the drawstring at the waist rather than the fabric of the braies themselves. This method puts less stress on the the linen of the braies as well as lessening the pull of the chause points on the top of the braies which tends to drag the waist down toward the hips. It also gives you complete flexibility on how high or low you can point you chauses to your braies. When you first get your braies you will need to adjust the waistband to your liking as well as the part of the drawstring which you will use to point the chauses to.|
To adjust your braies and chauses: Put on your braies and tighten the drawstring to the point where it feels comfortable on your waist and the fabric at the waist is distributed evenly on all sides, tie it loosely leaving a little slack. Use the slits at the side of the waistband to pull out a portion of the drawstring on each side – this will pull some of the drawstring from the center to the sides, let that happen. Once you’ve adjusted it so that you have a small loop at each side and it fits comfortably on your waist, you can tie the drawstring in a tighter knot in front. Tie a knot at the base of each loop you’ve pulled out to keep the loop from retreating back into the waistband. These are the loops you use to tie your chause points to. You can point your chauses to this loop with either a bow or a knot (its show with a bow in the sketch). The loop extending from the braies can be made longer for extra length in the fit of your chauses, or left short for higher fitted chauses. Lastly, once you have the braies waist fitting well, you can trim the extra long drawstring to a desirable length (being sure that you leave enough length to stop the drawstring from being lost in the waistband during washing) and finish the ends with knots to keep it from fraying.
Drawing after a detail from the Maciejowski Bible circa 1250 Pierpont Morgan Library New York City, USA
Drawing after the Album of Villard de Honnecourt circa 13th c. Bibliotheque National Paris, France
Drawing after The Three Magi, Altar Front circa late 13th century Episcopal Museum
Drawing after a details in the Lutrell Psalter circa 1340 British Museum, London, England
Drawing after Pisanello’s ‘Drawings of a Hanged Man’ circa early 15th century Oppenheimer Collection
Drawing after The Livre de la Chasse circa 1387 British Library, London, England
The Chronicle of St. Denis circa 14th century British Library, London, England