Brueghel Coat

Please note: If you wish to reproduce this in any way please credit me. We all work very hard and share our knowledge freely in the SCA. It would be a shame to find my work in someone elses name. Thank you.


800px-Pieter_Bruegel_II_-_Peasant_Wedding_Dance_-_Walters_37364   Pieter_Bruegel_de_Oude_-_De_bruiloft_dans_(Detroit)

Pieter Bruegel the Elder                              Pieter Brueghel the Younger,

The Wedding Dance, 1566.                        Peasant Wedding Dance, 1623.


peasant dance              woman bruegel

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, detail,      Pieter Bruegel the Elder, detail,

The Peasant Dance, c.1567.           Netherlandish Proverbs, 1559.


Interesting site for Information on Bruegel and these paintings above:



When I started looking into the Brueghel clothing, I had just had back surgery (which had gone horridly wrong to the point of a spinal fluid leak and 7 weeks in a hospital bed not moving) and due to that, I had put on a lot of weight. I  had also convinced my friend Catherine (who doesn’t sew) about a month before the event to come to Canterbury Faire.

This now meant I needed two new wardrobes for a week long camping event, as Catherine and I both needed clothes. Some had suggested that I just give her an outfit for the week and let her deal with it, I refused to do this as I wouldn’t want that done to me. Incidentally at the time,  my friend in the Metal Weapon community down in Levin had expressed interest in the Brueghel ‘outfits’, and so,  as I was at her house for a few days over New Years….the time was right to pattern and make (albeit about three weeks before Canterbury Faire).

I chose this style at that time as it seemed simple enough to put together basic things in time for the event for two people, and I had long loved the paintings.

For the dresses, I decided to base the style on the  Joachim Beuckelaer  paintings of the elements, found in the National Gallery in London,  and the over garments on the Brueghel paintings. there is a distinct difference between the two styles, however,  there were no pictures of overcoats that I could find in my limited searching, only a short red jacket for the Beuckelaer, and we needed something warm for the evenings made in a short amount of time. Warmth won over accuracy at that stage as no one was going to see what was under the jackets in the dark around a fire, and as they were both from the same geographical area and time period – I could live with this.

More on the Beuckelaer paintings can be found here:

I have learned A LOT since first trying the different styles, and I know that there are many people out there with theories on whether Brughel was actually painting what he saw at the time or not. However, I have found both styles of clothing to be functional and practical, and the biggest compliment that Catherine got when in the outfits was at the feast that she was serving at that year at Canterbury Faire, more than one person came up to her and told her she looked like she had stepped straight out of a painting.



My friend Catherine in her outfit in early 2012.


I refused at that stage to mix periods and wear a Tudor coat at night over these outfits, I also had nothing for Catherine to keep her warm, so two coats were made. She has a dark dusky pink one, I have the light grey/beige one shown below.


Brughel peasants   peasant dance


My coat is based on the one from the Peasant Dance painting by Bruegel, and a few others in the paintings. It uses the same colours, hooks and eye’s up the front, and has box pleats like the pictures show. I have the black partlet that goes over it, which you will see in the pictures of the new coat below.

The beige/grey and yellow coat:

The coat is made of beige/grey thin wool, yellow linen lining and linen interlining.

I love this coat – I have spilt wine on it, rolled around in the dirt in it, gone around the world with it and treated it as it should be – like a functional garment. I went out of my way to make it dirty, as it looked too clean and new due to the colour of the beige wool, and this kind of outfit is meant to be worn and worked in.

It has been a staple at night for me for a few years now. I tend to change into this outfit at the end of the day as it is easier roaming around in the dark and standing by campfires in something that I don’t mind getting dirty, and honestly, in that kind of lighting – who is going to care!

I decided to leave the coat in Ireland at the beginning of 2015. My friend had use of it and I was coming home with limited luggage allowance. I also knew I wanted to make a few improvements on it like the neck line, and the warmth, as it was fine for evenings in New Zealand, but not so much -5 at Rowany Festival just outside of Sydney. So a new coat was needed and I convinced myself that I could make it a priority to make a new one when I got back to New Zealand before Rowany Festival…..

It got cut out, and a few seams started, however, there were a few things that were more important that were for some other people, so I decided not rushing it might be better as I have learnt over the years, that there is no point in rushing something that you don’t 100% need, and can make do without.



I had the pattern for the Dresses and coats already from 2011. I had given this to different people over the years – including my friend Nadia in the local SCA, she made a beautiful dress from it and also took the pattern for the short coat that she uses to fence in that she modeled after mine.

It was surely just a matter of cutting it out and sewing it up….i.e. something quick…

Like all things it is more time consuming than you are willing to admit/recall, and what should have been a quick sew job (after I picked the project back up again) became me wanting to fell seams and be all proper about it (within reason)

So, pieces cut, I machine sewed the lining, the skirts, sleeves and two seams of the outside – as at that time I was rushing it to get it done for Festival. When I picked it back up a few weekends after Crown tournament in Auckland, after sewing one more seam my machine needle broke late at night, and me being annoyed and stubborn I continued to hand sew it as it was just annoying me that every-time I tried to work on it – something for the last 10 weeks had gotten in the way.

The wool outer with linen and wool lining proved to be too much for the machine anyway – so hand sewing it was for the rest of the project.


Some Pictures:

Inside with the felled layers:

coat7      coat6


body of the jacket without sleeves or hooks and eyes.

coat4         coat3

I cheated and put in hook and eye tape (metal). It looks the same as if I have sewn them myself and with everything else I am trying to complete at the moment – it makes more sense to save as much time as I can.


The hook and eye tape sewn onto the jacket.


The hook and eye tape sewn down to the layers.


The jacket was box pleated onto the coat. The process I use is to pin the box pleats to the size of the waist – and then hand sew along the top to secure them. I then join each box pleat together with a few stitches, to secure them (so they don’t split apart when sewing the whole thing together) and then I hand sew it to the bodice with back stitch.

The lining for the bodice can go in either before or after this process. I usually hand sew it into the bodice


Final outfit over the recently completed (April 2015) Brueghel working class dress and chemise.



BRUGHEL field worker

The outfit that the Jacket goes over.


The Jacket:

c1 c2



c3        c5

The Jacket with the sleeves unfolded to keep my hands warm….




c6 c7

Jacket with wollen partlet.


Please note: If you wish to reproduce this in any way please credit me. We all work very hard and share our knowledge freely in the SCA. It would be a shame to find my work in someone elses name. Thank you.




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