The Middle Gothic era (1325 – 1425) is a time in history of costume that most people would recognise as quintessentially Medieval. One most of the recognisable features are the phenomena of dagges. Not a dorky person but a decorative technique that took the European medieval world by storm.

The principle of dagging is simple. It is the process of scalloping the edge of a piece of fabric or clothing. This is accomplished with a sharp pair of shears and a template of the dagges. One of my costume teachers would swear that the edge of the dagges were left raw and not hemmed as the fabric was woven so tight that it took ages to fray. Another theory is that they were over cast stitched or blanket stitched, (I feel this is the most likely). I am have yet to find evidence to support the hem or not to hem theories. As a personal point I like to line a dagged item with contrasting colour, it makes a bold statement.

The dagging could be as simple as a V shape or a U pattern but the era that give rise to the extreme hennin there were many variations on the theme. Dagging can be an all-encompassing collective noun or refer to the more dagger type shaped scallops. The square cut that reminds you of the crenellations of a castle is funnily enough referred to as castellating. The next and more elaborate step, foliating, making the dagges like foliage. The sky was now the limit, fantastical shapes, leaves, flowers, fleurs-de-lis, etc etc.

With all these great shapes where did the medieval fashion fiends place these dagges? Everywhere! They went mad, no external garment was spared – the shoulder cape, hood, tunic, gowns, sleeves, liripipe, hems and tippets. The list could go on. It was a fashion that began during the fourteenth century and lasted well into the fifteenth. Sadly it petered out and was never really seen again.


There are plenty of sites out there that you can check out the glory of the dagges.
For more information and images go to Costume Manifesto: www.costumes.org

Dagges (?), n. pl. [OE. See Dag a loose end.]

An ornamental cutting of the edges of garments, introduced about a.d. 1346, according to the Chronicles of St Albans. [Obs.]

Halliwell.

© Webster 1913.

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