Glossary beginning with B

French terms for costume and textile, taken from Cotgrave and other sources

Bandesearch for term

"A band; properly, a long and narrow peece of any stuffe; hence, a welt, or gard; a fillet, or haire lace; a swathing band for a child; a fascia, swath-band, or tye-band, for a wound" - Cotgrave's French and English Dictionary, 1611

Synonyms: paremens, bandee
bas colletsearch for term

low-necked, referring to the neckline of a gown. It is unknown if the front edges turned back and were open to the waist, showing the kirtle beneath, or whether the low neck referred to the wide, square neckline seen on some 16th c. gowns.

Bisettesearch for term

"Plate (of gold, siluer, or copper), wherewith some kinds of stuffes are stripped." - Cotgrave's Dictionary, 1611

Synonyms: bisettis
blancsearch for term


Synonyms: blanche
bleusearch for term


Synonyms: bleue
Boccasinsearch for term

"a kind of fine buckeram, that hath a resemblance of taffata, and is much used for lining" - Cotgrave's Dictionary, 1611. Also called Callimanco.

Synonyms: boucassin, boucasin
bordéesearch for term

bordered. Usually refers to borders along a skirt and the edges of a gown bodice, of a different fabric or of a trim.

Synonyms: bordee
bougransearch for term


Bourletsearch for term

In the context of wardrobe accounts, when a pair of bourlets are mentioned, the most likely meaning is the rolls at the heads of gown sleeves. English wardrobe accounts of the later 16th century frequently mention rolls or sleeve ruffs in their bodice descriptions as well.

"bourlet: m. A wreath, or a roule of cloth, linen, or leather, stuffed with flockes, haire, &tc; also, the Hood worne by Graduats, Lawyers and Citizens, at their assemblies; also, a supporter (for a Ruffe etc.) of Sattin, Taffata etc., and hauing an edge like a roule." -Cotgrave, 1611.

Synonyms: burlettis
bouttonsearch for term

button. Also used to denote applied clusters of jewels, pearls or other decoration to a garment.

Synonyms: bouttons
brunsearch for term


Synonyms: brune
Burailsearch for term

Silk rash fabric. Silk rash was a smooth, twilled woven fabric, similar to serge and say, that was usually @54 inches wide.

"Silke-rash. Burail croisé: silk say. Burail simple de Flanders, & uni. Silke Moccadoe". - Cotgrave's Dictionary, 1611

Synonyms: Burat, burail de soye
Buratsearch for term

"Silke-rash; or any kind of stuffe thats halfe silke, and halfe worsted." - Cotgrave's Dictionary, 1611