Sleeveless Surcoats
Medieval Tailor's Assistant: Making Common Garments 1200-1500

14th century Women's Surcote Pattern by Reconstructing History

14th and 15th Century Sideless Gowns Pattern by Rocking Horse Farms

Women's Cotehardies and Sideless Surcoats Pattern by Period Patterns

Women's Italian Renaissance Gowns Pattern by Period Patterns

The sleeveless surcoat undergoes a stylistic evolution between the 12th and 15th centuries, and includes the “sideless surcoat” style sometimes affectionately (?) referred to by reenactors and costumers as the “gates of hell.”

Notice that as the fashion progresses into the 15th century, it is only depicted on brides, queens, princess-saints, and funeral brasses; it seems to have evolved into more of a ceremonial garment during that time, and less for regular wear.

(See also Sideless Surcoats and Gates of Hell: An Overview of Historical Garments and Their Construction.)

The Giornea: A Sleeveless Surcoat of 15th Century Florence

While the giornea is a fairly different garment from the medieval sleeveless surcoat, it should be mentioned in this section as a related garment, as it is, in its most basic form, a sleeveless surcoat. In some cases, it is a very full garment and is pleated (almost more of a sleeveless houppelande); in others, it is draped fairly smoothly. Some giornea are open in the front, and some are open along the sides. It is always worn over a full outfit -- over a lady's gown, or a man's doublet -- and not simply thrown over underclothing. Here are a few examples: