Originally posted by jboerner:
Guess I'm blind, but I don't see any pleatet chemises in that picture?
Mmmm... good point! That was perhaps a bad example because those are special chemises. I do think I see pleating around the neckline of the woman in red, holding one feather. However... you raise a very interesting point I hadn't thought of - that at least some of the wide sleeved chemises may have a non-pleated body. Does that makes sense? It'd definitely make it much easier to apply all that ribbon (inventories of the time cite ribbon bought for chemises, as well as embroidery). If so, I'll need to do one at some point, too. Mmmmmm...
Anyway... I have scanned an image in which I think I see clear pleating on the neckline:
It's a Berruguete painting, dated to 1471-1472. "St. Helen convincing the jew to reveal the location of the cross".
Later on these styles get more exaggerated on the sleeves. One such can be seen here:
Marriage of Cana, by Master of the Catholic Kings
Of course in many instances you just can't see the chemise neckline at all and source don't explain much.
One that does tell a bit is Talavera, a priest that ranted on all manner of current fashions, ca 1470. He wrote:
"Vengo a las alcadoras, labradas e cintadas, e de muchas maneras plegadas" (Tractado... ch. 5)
"I now speak of the chemises, embroidered and ribboned and in many ways pleated". (transl mine)
He also speaks of pleated shirts when talking of men sinning in the variety of dress.
Royal accounts speak of 5 to 10 yards of cloth going into a chemise, and also of buying ribbon to adorn them. One is even ribbon chess-board style, as shown in the first, Benabarre, picture.
So, what construction is likely in any of these? I'm really interested in alternatives to my ideas. I may be assuming too much or just not seeing enough.