Glossary beginning with S

Dictionary of costume terms for Renaissance costume.

sablesearch for term

dark brown or black fur of the Martes zibellina, a member of the weasel family

Synonyms: sables
squirrelsearch for term

grey squirrel, brown squirrel and white squirrel bellies were used to fur coats, gowns, cloaks and other outer garments.

See also: calaber, miniver Synonyms: squirrels, squerills, Squirrells, squyrells, squyrels, Squyrrells, swirrels, squyrrels, squirrel
squirrel fursearch for term

Squirrel was a popular fur for lining gowns, cloaks and other garments in the 16th century. Miniver fur was specifically the belly fur of the squirrel; callaber was brown squirrel fur.

See also: calaber, miniver Synonyms: squyrels, squyrrels, swirrels, squerills
Snoskinsearch for term

A muff

Synonyms: snuffkin, skimskyn, snuskyne, snufskin, snuskyn, snosken, snoskyn, snufskins, snusken, snuskin, Snuskins, snuskine, skimskin
sackclothsearch for term
Synonyms: sek clothe, sackeclothe, sackclothe, seckloth, sackecloth, seckwebe, sekclothe
safeguardsearch for term

An outer skirt used for riding and travel in the 16th century, often worn in conjunction with a cloak, Dutch Cloak or cassock.

Synonyms: Saufgarde, Safegarde, safegardes, Saufegarde, safegard, saueguard, savegard, save gard, safe gard, saveguarde, saveguard, savegarde, Sauevard, savegards, Saufegards, Saufegardes, Saufgardes
sailtwinesearch for term

A heavy, waxed linen thread used for sewing heavy canvas (tents and sails)

Synonyms: sayl twine, sail twine, saltwyne
sarcenetsearch for term

A very light, sheer silk frequently used for creating puffs in sleeves and for lining garments.

Synonyms: sersnett, sarceonett, Sarcenett, Sarcenitt, sercenett, sarcnet, sarcnett, sercnett, srconett, Sercenet, sairsnete, Sarcenets, serceonet, sarcanet, srcenett, sersenet, sarceonett, sarceonet, sarsenett, cercenett, sarsnet, sarsanet, sarsnete, sarsonett, sarsnett, sarceneet, Sarconet, srconet, Sarcent, sarsenet
satinsearch for term
Synonyms: saten, satten, Sattins, satton, sattyn, satan, satine, sathan, sattene, sattayn, sateyn, sattan, Sattin
Say (the fabric)search for term

A soft, light, finely twilled fabric made in both silk and wool. In the 16th century it was used for jackets and doublets, gowns, stockings, mantles and more.

According to Kerridge's Textile Manufactures in Early Modern England, Continental says were made from washed local wools that were in part spun on the small wheel, woven like worsteds in two-and-two twill, made from a single weft thread and a warp twisted from two or three threads. Says from Norwich (almost the only English source for say) were made from worsted yarn spun on the spindle rather than the wheel.

Synonyms: black Saye, rede Saye, saies, blake Saye, silke saye, sayes, greene say, silk say, silk saye, for Saye, for say, of say, of saye, the Say, russett saye, one say, the saye, stryped sayes
sayettesearch for term

A silk fabric. The Dictionary of Textiles describes it as a twilled or plain-woven silk fabric of lesser-quality thread, used for linings. Based upon its position in a list of imported silks of 1602, it was not high quality in the 16th century.

"...for the custom and subsidy of all silk stuff imported, viz. “silke borato, silke chamletts wrought with silver and tincelled, caffa or damaske, calimanco, silke grograynes, silke tabies and tabies wrought with silver, silke sendalls, silke curles, sipers brode and silke, narrow sipers and scome sipers, catalofa, silke arbagus, china silke, and silke syett.” --Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House, Volume 12: 1602-1603 (1910), p 85

Synonyms: syett, siet
scallopsearch for term
Synonyms: Scallopps, scallop shell, skallop shells, skallop shell, scallopp, skalloppe, skallops, skallop, Scallopp, scallops, skallopes
scarfsearch for term
Synonyms: scarffes, scarfes, skarfe, skarffs, scarfe, Skarfes, skarff, skarf
scissorssearch for term
Synonyms: Sheares, shears, sheers, sissers, sheeres, sheres
scoursearch for term
Synonyms: scouringe, scoured, scowred, scowering, scowring, scowringe, scoure, skowringe
searclothsearch for term

a heavy cloth treated with wax or oil to make it waterproof. Derived from the latin word for beeswax, "cera". Used to cover coffers and coaches in Queen Elizabeth's wardrobe accounts.

"wrap it about two or three Times in a Searcloth made of yellow Wax and Deer Suet..." - The country Gentleman's Companion, 1753.

Synonyms: searecloth, seareclothe, searclothe, seare cloth
searing waxsearch for term

This term, frequently spelled as "cereing wax" reveals its origin in that spelling--cere, beeswax. Tailors frequently used searing wax or searing candle to run their thread along, to strengthen it and reduce tangles--something still done today.

Synonyms: searinge Candle, cearinge candels, beeswax, cearinge Candle, searing candell, Cearinge Candles, sheringe candle, shering candles, searingecandle, Searinge-Candles, searinge Candell
sendalinasearch for term

Italian term for a lightweight taffeta, sheer and tabby-woven, used for veiling.

Synonyms: sande lyne
sergesearch for term

a woolen fabric used for all garments and linings throughout the sixteenth century. It cost about the same amount as kersey. There is mention of serge being "dressed and sheared on both sides", an indication that it had a nap. It was associated with respectable, hard-working fabrics worn by the merchant classes and gentlefolk, rather than with the nobility.

Serge was woven with a 2/2 even sided twill, creating a diagonal ribbed effect. Unless specified as silk or a silk-wool blend, serge was made of worsted wool.

See also: fruitage Synonyms: searge, surge, sirge, schairge, Sarge, sarges
Seville leathersearch for term

A fine grade of leather, also known as cordovan

Synonyms: civill
sewingsearch for term
Synonyms: souing, sowing, sowinge, sewinge, sowed
sewing silksearch for term

Silk thread specifically for stitching and sewing buttonholes, seams, topstitching, stitching trim to garments, etc. Distinct from embroidery silk, which was described as "spanish silk", "granado silk" or "ferret silk" in many cases.

Synonyms: sowinge silke
Shadowsearch for term

A veil used to protect the face and head from the sun.

Synonyms: Shadowes, fore shaddow, Shadowe
shagsearch for term

A shaggy (for lack of a better term) piled fabric, used for lining robes, cloakes and other garments for warmth. Usually described as made of silk.

Synonyms: shage, shagg, schag
shearingsearch for term
Synonyms: sheringe, shearinge
sheetsearch for term
Synonyms: sheets, sheetes, shete
shirtsearch for term
Synonyms: shert, Shirtes, shirts, shyrtes, Sherte, Sherts, shurtes, shurts, shyrtes, shirtts, shertes, shurte, shortes, shirte, shyrt
shoesearch for term
Child terms: mule, pantofles, pumps Synonyms: sheues, Shewes, shoowes, shoys, shooes, shoose, Shouis, Showis, shew, shuse, shoys, shoos, show, showes, shouses, shoes
shoemakersearch for term
Synonyms: shomaker
shoulder railsearch for term
Synonyms: shoulder Raile
silksearch for term
Synonyms: silke, sylke, sylk, silck, silcke
silkwomansearch for term
Synonyms: Silkewoman
silversearch for term
Synonyms: silvar, silvir, sliver, sylver, syluer, silvre, silvr, siluver, silluer, sillver, silur, silover, siluer, sillvar
sisters threadsearch for term

"Sister's Thread" or "Nun's Thread" (also called ounce thread) was a fine linen thread used for sewing. Originally called such as it was made by nuns in France and Flanders.
(Source: The Linen Trade, Ancient and Modern by Alexander Johnston Warden, 1867)

Synonyms: sisters thred, sister threed, sisters thredde, sisters thredd, syster threed, sisters Threde, systers Thred, sisters threed
skeinsearch for term
Synonyms: sken, skene, skenes, skens
skinnersearch for term

An person who made fur and leather and who set it into garments.

Synonyms: skynner
skinssearch for term
Synonyms: skynnes, skynne
skirtsearch for term
See also: vasquine Synonyms: faldellin, skirts, skirtes, skyrtes, skyrts, unterrock
sleevesearch for term
Synonyms: slefes, sleuis, sleaues, sleue, sleaue, slevis, Sleve, sleaves, sleives, sleves, sleeues, slevys, slyves, sleues
sleeve silksearch for term

silk floss used for embroidery. A lower grade of silk, one of the cheapest varieties.

Synonyms: sleave sylke, sleve silk, sleve silke, slaye sylke, slevesylke, sieve silke, slane silk
slipperssearch for term
Synonyms: slyppers
slopssearch for term

loose, gathered hose.

See also: breeches Synonyms: sloppes, slop hose
small skirtssearch for term
Synonyms: small skyrtes
smocksearch for term

linen undergarment

Synonyms: smokes, smocke, smocks, smoke, smacks, smokke, Smockes
sockssearch for term
See also: hose, netherstocks Synonyms: stokyngs, stockines, stokynge, sokkes, stokins, stokines, Stockens, sockinges, stockins, stockens, stockings, stokeins, stockinges, stockinges, sockes
spanglessearch for term

small, flat metal disks of silver, gold or gilt, used to embellish garments and clothing accessories.

Synonyms: spangle, spangell, spangelles, spangled, oes, owes, spangells, spangills
Spanishsearch for term
Synonyms: spanishe, spanyshe, spannyshe, spanysh, spanyshe, Spanyssh, spaynishe
Spanish Gownsearch for term

In the later 16th century, this was a gown with long pendant sleeves and a high-necked, close-fitting bodice, worn over a Spanish Farthingale.

See also: Spanish Sleeve Synonyms: Spanyshe Gowne
spanish silksearch for term

In the context of textile decoration, spanish silk was a type of silk embroidery thread used for embroidery and embellishment. More expensive than ferret silk.

Synonyms: spanishe silke
Spanish Sleevesearch for term

A large, flared pendant sleeve seen in court Spanish dress of the later 16th century.

See also: Spanish Gown Synonyms: spanyshe sleve
spanish worksearch for term
Synonyms: spanishe worke
spectaclessearch for term

16th century eyeglasses

Synonyms: spectackells, spectackels
spring lacesearch for term
Synonyms: sprigg lace
stainedsearch for term

in the context of textile embellishment, staining meant the application of color or dye to a fabric in decorative patterns.

Synonyms: stayned
starchsearch for term
Synonyms: starched, starching, starchinge, startching, starche, sterche
statute lacesearch for term

A flat woven lace whose width was decreed by statute in the 16th century. It was used for decorating a wide variety of garments, and is frequently mentioned as decorating livery coats. It could be plain or patterned--there are references to "diamond statute lace" in accounts.

It could be cheap (blue statute lace was used to decorate a cassock of rats colored cloth and a fustian doublet) or expensive (two-inch gold statute lace was used to decorate a purple velvet gown). In general it was cheap stuff: a weaver's company decree stated that "None shall make lace...of any worse stuff than of ferret or Paris silk, except it be lace or lacing commonly called Statute lace."

It was made of worsted wool, or worsted mixed with silk. in Florio's World of Words (1593), "Passamano d'ascia" was translated as "statute lace, crewell lace." Proceedings of Parliament in Anno Eliz. 44 mentioned that "For Statute-Lace with a third of Silk, will shew and sell better."

Frequently mentioned on livery coats. It could be plain, or woven in patterns; there are references to "diamond statute lace" in period accounts.

Synonyms: statut lace, statchin lace
staysearch for term

In 16th century wardrobe accounts, this refers to a strip of fabric or ribbon sewn to pleats to make them stay neatly in place.

Synonyms: stais, stey, Stayes, steye, stays, steyes, staye, staies
stiffeningsearch for term
Synonyms: stifning, stenting, stiffenynge, styff, steffning, styffenynge, styffen, styffened, stiffeninge, stiffen, stiffened, stiffenid, styffenid, styffeninge, pastinge, styfenid
stitchedsearch for term

In 16th century account, the word "stitched" or "stitching" in wardrobe accounts and inventories usually refers to visible top-stitching, or the quilting or decorative variety.

Synonyms: stechinge, stychinge, stichinge, sticht, stichd, stiched, stitched, stitcht, styched, stytched, stytchinge, stich, stiche
stitchingsearch for term
Synonyms: stisching
stocking clockssearch for term

The clock of a stocking is the area at the side of the ankle where the circumference of the sock increases down to the heel. Frequently an area decorated with embroidery or decorative stitching.

Synonyms: at the clocks, at the clockes, toppes & clockes, toppes and clockes, quirkes, clockes, Hose the clockes, toppes and clocks, quirks and clocks
stomachersearch for term

A piece of decorated fabric pinned or fastened at the front of a gown, to hide front lacings, or to emulate a fancy bodice (when pinned to a pair of stays and worn under an outer gown open at the front.)

Synonyms: stomechers, stomecher, stomeger, Stomachers, stomagers, placarde, stomager, placard
straight bodied Gownsearch for term

Gown with a close-fitted bodice<

Synonyms: strayte bodyed Gowne, strayght bodied gowne, straighte bodyed gown, streight bodied Gowne, straight bodied Gowne, straighte bodied Gowne, streighte bodied Gowne, strayt bodied
stringsearch for term
Synonyms: strings, stringes, strynges, stringe, stryng, strynge
stripedsearch for term
Synonyms: strypd, strped, stripte, stripe, stript, stripinge, stryping, straken, stryped, straked, strypinge, strypt, striping
suitsearch for term
Synonyms: switt, suitt, suyete, sute, suyte, suite, suits, suites, sutes
summersearch for term
Synonyms: somer, sommer
surcoatsearch for term

By the 16th century, this usually referred to the ceremonial surcoat of traditional, open-sided design that was worn by Queen Elizabeth on ceremonial occasions only.

Synonyms: Cyrcoate, Circoate, sircoate, Surcoate
surpheledsearch for term

bleached or whitened. The term comes from "sulphered", as sulpher fumes were used to whiten silk.

Synonyms: surfelid
sweet bagsearch for term
Synonyms: sweete Bagges
sword-hangersearch for term

an accessory to a belt in the 16th century

Synonyms: hingeris