Supportive Fitted Under Kirtle

Just a reminder that I have no evidence that this is a “period” practice in ~15th century France (Yes, yes, I know about the Lengberg bra but that’s in Germany/Austria/Bohemia.. not France/Brittany/Netherlands). I just know that I want more support than my current kirtles are giving me and the quickest/easiest fix is to make a small undergarment to do the heavy lifting.

The shape of the under kirtle is based on my most recent adjusted fitting for a 4-panel kirtle. The under kirtle will only extend down to the bottom of the breast band. Unlike my normal kirtle pattern the under kirtle will lace up the sides (I didn’t want the laces to match up between the under kirtle and the kirtle). For the under kirtle I eliminated the center front seam and made the front as a single piece. I probably should have made the back as a single piece but I wanted to be sure to keep the breast band on the straight grain and my back piece doesn’t lend itself easily to that in a single panel. So instead I’ve left the seam in the center back panel.

The under kirtle is made with two layers of linen (because two seems more supportive than one). The eyelets will be pierced through the sides and the seam allowance at the sides (ie, I’m not using a reinforcement strip).

I tried on my V3 mockup and then put my blue kirtle on over the mockup and had my husband mark the neckline in the back. Then I cut the mockup so that the under kirtle will not show under my existing kirtles. This will work for the underkirtle but I think I’ll have to go back and re-do the neckline on the mockup for a V4. The new pattern with the old neckline is just too narrow in the back.

TODO:
– (done) Cut out two front pieces with no center seam
– (done) Cut out four half back pieces
– (done) Stitch together back pieces to end up with two back pieces with a center seam.
– (done) Connect front to back at sleeve top for outer and inner layers.
– (done) Put right side’s together and then sew around the outer edge connecting front to front and back to back.
– (done) Flip garment right-side-out through the neck opening.
– (done) Nip corners of neck opening and fold seam allowance to inside the garment.
– (done) Hand stitch neck opening.
– (done) Add Eyelets to sides (20 eyelets per side, 40 eyelets total).
– (done-ish) Add sleeves and skirt so that the under kirtle can be worn in place of my current chemise. (stretch goal)

Finished the last eyelet at midnight, 4 days before the event where I plan to wear the garment. I wore the under kirtle around the house for a few minutes and then put on my blue kirtle over the under kirtle. This will work. The under kirtle feels only slightly more restrictive than my normal bra. I’ll wear it on Saturday and confirm that I can tolerate wearing it for a full day.

Since I have 4 days I plan to go ahead and add the sleeves and skirt onto this in lighter weight linen. I like the idea of being able to swap this out for my normal chemise.

[post-mortem: I first wore the garment on 2/14/2015 at the West Coast Culinary Symposium]
I only had time to add the sleeves before the first wearing.. but after that wearing I’ve decided to remove the sleeves and I never did add a skirt.

I wore this garment all day on Saturday and Sunday for the West Coast Culinary Symposium.

On the plus side this kept my girls perky all day and not once did I notice any droop.
On the minus side: I found the left strap was pulling uncomfortably on my shoulder (I have a shoulder impingement which makes the shoulder painful occasionally but this strap made it painful all the time). Also I found that as I moved around through the day (sitting and standing) the lace on the sides also moved. Occasionally this pinched me horribly. I think this happened because the lace was against bare skin. In future I’ll wear this with a chemise and hopefully this will fix the issue.

Fixes:
– (done) The left shoulder strap currently uses 1/2″ seam allowance. I’ll change this to 1/4″ seam allowance giving my shoulder another 1/2″ of movement.
– (done) Remove the sleeves which I’d sewn into the garment and will instead wear this with a chemise.

[second post-mortem: I wore this garment for the second time on 2/21/2015 at the Northern Wolf Tournament]
The tweaks to the shoulder seam fixed the pulling on my shoulder and wearing a chemise under the garment fixed the pinching. I view this as a fantastic success.

[third post-mortem: I wore this all day on Saturday and Sunday at Beltane 5/1/2015]
Towards the end of Beltane weekend I noticed that the underkirtle was pulling and poking me uncomfortably. First because the lace is under the arm the top of the lace has a knot which pokes me uncomfortable. I don’t know what I’m going to do about that other then resolve that I won’t do side lacing again. I also noticed that the armscye was cutting me uncomfortably across the back of the arm. I think this is cut a smidge high and I’ll recut any followups and give the back of my arm another 1/4″ – 1/2″ wiggle room.

That said the underkirtle was supportive all day. In fact I ended up briefly wearing the underkirle under a t-shirt and I was amazed at what a different shape the underkirtle gives from my normal brassiere.

Making a kirtle to wear under my kirtles

Lengberg_bra_600_years_570I’m faced once again with shrinking out of my fitted kirtle (I know, rough problem to have). This means I again need to re-fit my bodice pattern and make new clothes. I hate that. I mean I have four workable if slightly big dresses which I would like to continue to wear and making all new clothes is a pain.

After thrashing about this for a while and reading a few threads in the Age of the Cotehardie Facebook group I’ve decided instead to make a Lendberg bra dress. That way the .. ahem heavy lifting will be handled by an under garment and I can continue to wear the dresses I have for a while longer. That said.. I recognize that I’m trying to recreate late 15th century French fashions.. and the bras are German/Austrian/Bohemian. I’m fundamentally ok with that. Honestly I’m just looking for something to extend the life of my current dresses while I’m shrinking out of them… though I may be tempted to use this as a support layer going forward.

[Edited to add: Yeah, ok I decided to make a Lengberg bra and I said I was ok with it.. but the more I worked on it the less happy I was with the decision. I finally decided instead to just tackle a whole new fitting and make a kirtle to go under my kirtles. I hate fitting a new kirtle. It takes a long time and is just less zen than straight up sewing. Regardless I finally figured out that’s what I needed to do and I just did it. I did -start- with a duct tape pattern.. but that was not the end of it.]

Since I don’t have another costumer readily available to help with a fitting I’m instead going to ask my husband to help me make a duct tape pattern. It feels like cheating but I think that will be a nice quick way to get a mostly accurate form to help make the pattern.
Continue reading Making a kirtle to wear under my kirtles

Erik’s Waffenrock

erik_waffePlanning began December 9, 2014.
Outfit first worn January 3, 2015.

Summary

While working on the outfits for Coenwulf, Katla and Kolskegg I was repeatedly struck by how very cute it would be if I dressed my son, Erik (13 months), in a waffenrock. Especially if he were walking. As fate would have it, Erik started walking about 3 days after his first birthday November 19, 2014. As soon as that happened I knew that I would have to make him a waffenrock that matched his daddy’s waffenrock for 12th night.
Continue reading Erik’s Waffenrock

Coenwulf’s Waffenrock

West Kingdom 12th Night 2015.  Front view.

West Kingdom 12th Night 2015. Front view.

Planning began December 2012.
Oufit finished November 22, 2014.

Summary

A while ago Coenwulf traded me a Kitchen Aid mixer for a waffenrock. For many different valid and invalid reasons this has taken a lot longer than expected. Many thanks to Coenwulf for his patience.

The body of the waffenrock will be modeled after the “Hauptman” image using black wool with burgandy speckles for the base and burgundy and gold brocade for the guards. The “noodly appendages” will be modeled after the waffe sleeves in the second inspiration picture. The fake-wam sleeves will be simple fitted sleeves made of a black and orange zig-zag fabric. A second set of undersleeves will be made up in another shocking loud orange fabric.

Normally, in period, there would be wams (a fitted doublet), shirt and hosen worn under the waffenrock. Because we live in California we decided to fake the wams by adding removable undersleeves. The faked-wams-sleeves will tie unto the waffenrock at the armseye hidden by the waffenrock sleeves.

I’m annoyed as heck that on the day that he first wore the outfit I totally forgot to get any pictures. Luckily he agreed to pose for pictures at 12th night(January 2015).
Continue reading Coenwulf’s Waffenrock

Katla’s Ärmelrock (sleeved dress)

Kolskegg and Katla at their stepping-down.

Kolskegg and Katla at their stepping-down.

Work began August 2014.
Outfits first worn November 22, 2014.

Summary

Kolskegg and Katla, the current Prince and Princess of the Mists, asked me to do their stepping down outfits. My work for her outfit consists of an Ärmelrock (sleeved dress).

The dress will be green wool with black wool slashed guards with white linen showing in the slashes. The bodice will be lined in black linen.

Continue reading Katla’s Ärmelrock (sleeved dress)

Kolskegg’s Outfit

Kolskegg at court.

Kolskegg at court.

Work began August 2014.
Outfits first worn November 22, 2014.

Summary

Kolskegg and Katla, the current Prince and Princess of the Mists, asked me to do their stepping down outfits. My work for his outfit consists of a high collared hemd (white linen), knee length hosen (orange linen), waffenrock (black wool with green wool guards), and fancy fake-wam sleeves (strappy sleeves made of black and green wool).

The waffenrock, hemd and hosen will be modeled after the “Hauptman” image using black wool for the base and green wool for the guards. The fancy-fake-wam sleeves will be modeled after the sleeves shown in “Bartl zalt micht vil”. These will be black and green wool straps.
Continue reading Kolskegg’s Outfit

Organizing my fabric stash

My stash organization

My stash organization

I use 4×6 cards to track my fabric stash. Each card corresponds to one hank of fabric and allows me to see if I have enough fabric for a project without having to actually pull the fabric out. I record the fiber content, weight, color, yardage and (if I remember) how much I paid for it originally. I also staple a fabric sample to the card. As I use fabric I update the yardage to the new measurements. If I use all of a fabric then I throw away the card.

Even hand stitching

clever_stitching Clever hack to keep your stitches even.

By making 2 marks on the side of your thumb, and moving your thumb along as you work, you have a built in gauge for exact stitch length, without marking up your fabric.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS NOT MY THUMB NOR MY IDEA. I’ve tried to find the original source to no avail. I truly would like to give credit where credit is due, but falling short of that I’ll happily share a truly clever idea.

Queen’s Champion Tabard and Shield

A while back her Majesty, Patricia, asked Fearghus to be her Queen’s Champion. For this position Fearghus asked me to make him a tabard and to help paint his war shield. He wanted both of these marked with a personal symbol for the Queen’s Champion. That is, he is not the Queen so I advised that he could not rightly wear the arms of the Queen and at this time (AFAIK) there is no “official” symbol for the Queen’s Champion. After discussing this with Fearghus and Their Majesties we decided to use a pair of crossed axes behind a Tudor rose and to arrange these items on the green portion of a quarterly green and gold field.

The axes are modeled after the Ax Fearghus received at his knighting named “Blue’s Song”. The Tudor rose is modeled after a Tudor Rose that Her Majesty has tattooed on her forearm. I painted these on the fabric and the shield using artist’s acrylic paints.

Yes, I’m aware that the quarterly between the shield and the tabard don’t match. This unhappy accident brought to you by having one person sew a tabard while the other person paints the quarters on a shield. By the time we noticed there wasn’t enough time to re-do either before they’d be used.

996862_10200612028842593_1456118212_n

tabard_feraghus1.jpg

champion_shield

Kragelund Tunic


The Nederfrederiksmose Man (also known as Kraglund Man or Frederiksdal Man) was found May 25th 1898 in Fattiggårdens mose near the village Kragelund, north west of Silkeborg, Denmark (also approximately 15 miles south of Viborg, Denmark).

The man wore a kirtle of coarse woolen cloth, the legs were bare but on his feet he had short leather boots, laced over the instep. The boots are not preserved. Because of the boots, the find was originally dated to the 12th or 13th Century. Porl Grinder-Hansen, curator Danish Middle Ages and Renaissance, Nat. Mus. of Denmark had this carbon14 dated in 1998 by the AMS-laboratory in Århus, Jutland, using the accelerator technique and calibrated according to Stuiver and Pearson 1993. It was dated to c.1040-1155.
Continue reading Kragelund Tunic