Name: Ibrahim al-Rashid
Location: Ostgardr/Whyt Whey
The ropilla is a type of jacket-like outer garment seen in Spain and Portugal in the late 16th century. Diego de Freyle’s tailor’s book (published 1588) shows a type of ropilla that is unique in being fitted and shaped to the body, but having no waist seam. This particular cut does not show up in other Spanish tailor’s books of the era, and may be unique to Iberian fashion. Interestingly, the title page of Freyle’s book seems to show the tailor wearing this type of ropilla.
Another interesting thing about Freyle’s book is that it shows suits consisting of a ropilla and breeches (sometimes also including a cape) cut from the same cloth. A couple years ago, I had made a pair of breeches of the style seen in Freyle’s book. This summer I dug out the remaining cloth from that project and started working on a ropilla to match.
My ropilla is made from a worsted wool twill. There is a linen canvas interlining (with more of the same serving as padding over the shoulder area and stiffening for the collar) and a lightweight linen lining. The pattern was drafted based on the Modern Maker bara system. It’s embellished with narrow strips of silk taffeta (as are the matching breeches) and has glass buttons based on surviving ones from the late 16th century. All stitching was by hand with silk or linen thread.
The tailor’s book of Diego de Freyle can be found online:
Some images of people wearing a garment which may be this style can be seen in Japanese depictions of Portugese sailors, such as the first picture on this page:
Additional sources for construction and patterning:
Arnold, Janet. Patterns of Fashion, c. 1560-1620, Drama book publishers, 1985.
Braun, Costigliolo, North, Thornton, and Tiramani. 17th Century Men’s Dress Patterns, Thames & Hudson/Victoria & Albert Museum, 2016.
Gnagy, Mathew. The Modern Maker Vol. 1: Men’s Doublets, self-published, 2014.
Gnagy, Mathew. The Modern Maker Vol 2: Pattern Manual 1580-1640, self-pulished, 2018.