Kentish Step Up Outfit

Fearghus and Sylvie, Prince and Princess of Cynagua July 9, 2016 A.S. 51

Fearghus and Sylvie, Prince and Princess of Cynagua July 9, 2016 A.S. 51

My step up outfit is my current best interpretation of Kentish Dress Style IV with a few caveats.

6th century Kentish finds are from burials. For the most part the fabric has rotted away except where it’s in close proximity to metals (brooches, brocaded tablet weaving, swords, weaving swords). This leads to the need to extrapolate the garments based on very little actual evidence.

Dress Style IV, as described by Penelope Walton Rogers consists of “a garment with a vertical front opening clasped by two brooches, one at the throat the other centre-chest, and worn with a buckled belt” (Dress Style III) with “the addition of a front-opening coat or jacket on top. The coat/jacket was fastened by a pair of crossways bow brooches, either at the waist or immediately below, the jacket being worn outside the belt” (Dress Style IV)

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Princess Dress

Fitting started 3/8/2016.
kitty_dressBlue waisted linen kirtle started 5/13/2016, handed off (with unfinished hem) 6/9/2016.


Fitted, self-supportive (ie, not bra underneath). Short sleeved, waisted kirtle. Front opening. Bodice will have two layers of linen, skirt will have one layer of linen. Square necked. Edges bound. Silk sleeves tied in at the shoulder.

Inspirational Images
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Lord and Lady of the Swan

heirsWell ok. So I’m having a busy year.

This past weekend, at Cynaguan Coronet, Fearghus, my husband, won a tournament fighting for my honor. This means that at our Investiture on July 9th he and I will become the next Prince and Princess of the Principality of Cynagua (geographically northern California inner valley areas and northern Nevada). We will preside over this until our heirs are chosen at the next Cynaguan Coronet (another tournament occurring October 28-30) and we will then hand the Principality over to them at their Investiture on January 28, 2017.

Long story short: this is very cool for us.. and we’re about to get very very busy.

Laureling outfit

Processing into court for the ceremony. Photo by Joel the Brewer.

Processing into court for the ceremony. Photo by Joel the Brewer.

At West Kingdom October Crown, on October 3, 2015 directly after my apprenticing to Master Leo Diogenese as a lady-at-arts, while the ink was still wet on our chirograph contract, Their Majesties of the West, Miles Fitzraulf and Ariela Bar Leila invited me to join the order of the Laurel. By the gracious permission of Their Majesties and Their Royal Highnesses I had my Laurel ceremony at West Kingdom Golden Beltane at Their Majesties Mark and Patricia’s stepping down, April 30, 2016.

My Vigil and Ceremony were exactly what I wanted. Simple and elegant. My banner, which was made by Duchess Mina Wynter, was carried into court by my very good friend, Lord Coenwulf Draugrson. I was escorted into court by my husband, Sir Fearghus MacAirt and my Laurel, Master Leo Diogenese. Her Grace Sir Mari Alexander agreed to stand as my speaker. Master Leo passed the Laurel medallion on to me which he had received from his Laurel, Mistress Danaë FitzRoberts.

I finished the last stitch on the last accessory on the evening of Thursday April 28th. I did not stitch a single thing in the car ride to the site nor did I do any stitching before, during or after my vigil. I view this as a HUGE win. Coincidentally, staying up until midnight for the last month working on my outfit and accessories made it very easy to stay up late for my Vigil.

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Vigil at Golden Beltane

Be it known to all who should read this missive that Baroness Sylvie la chardonnière, a matron of the West Kingdom, woman-at-arts to Master Leo Diogenese, having been invited to become a Laurel of the realm by the late King Miles and Queen Ariela will sit vigil on Friday night, April 29, the feast day of Saint Catherine of Siena. With all humility she begs a boon of all that they should come and visit with her during this Vigil with private words of wisdom and well wishes for her to contemplate before her ceremony on Saturday during the court of King Marc and Queen Patricia.

How now Brown Gown?

Brown velvet gown started March 29, 2016. Finished April 23, 2016.

For my laurelling ceremony I want to wear a gown over my kirtle. I lucked upon a great deal on brown cotton velveteen at $3.20/yd. So I got 10 yards of it.

This is going to be a brown velvet gown with a center front opening which will be held closed with hook and eye at the bodice (open on the skirt). The gown will have a waist seam and very wide sleeves (which can be folded back). The sleeves and the skirt will be lined in black cotton velveteen. The neck and the hem will also be bound with black velveteen. For this dress I’m going to use stuffed box pleats as shown in “The Queen’s Servants” page 46.

The sleeves will be very wide but I want the seam to be at the underarm (lined up with the side seam) and end up at the bottom of sleeve drop at the wrist. For the sleeve, I want a very wide sleeve which can be worn down (to the back of my knuckles) or can be rolled up partially(~3-4 inches) or half way up the arm. When rolled back I want the rolled back portion to sit flat against the sleeve it’s rolled up against. When I was fitting the sleeve I found the if I used a basic flared sleeve the rolled back portion didn’t sit flat. To fix this I updated the sleeve to go straight after it flairs out enough for the depth of the sleeve I want (see pattern).

Originally I thought I’d do a train.. but I finally decided against it. Realistically the number of times I’d wear the gown with the train down is approaching one and it seems silly to spend time and effort developing a pattern for and then sewing a feature I’d never use.

Inspirational Images

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Early Tudor White Partlet

Partlet V2.  Closer.

Partlet V2. Closer.

Planning began February 10, 2015.
Accessory finished March 19, 2016.
V2 finished March 30, 2016.
V3 finished April 17, 2016.


I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at early Tudor (1488-1515) pictures from France and Brittany and I’ve noticed quite a few of them have something white at the neckline. I believe that to be a partlet (sometimes called a gollar). Most of the time I see this under the kirtle layer. Occasionally I see it over the kirtle. In images from France/Brittany I’ve only seen the white partlet under the gown (in some Italian images the white partlet can be seen over the outer gown). Occasionally I’ll see the black partlet worn over the gown.. but the black partlet will be a different accessory with its own post.

My son is 2 and I tend to pick him up and carry him quite a bit so although I believe it would be correct to attach the partlet with pins (though I do boggle at trying to do work with pins that will come out and/or poke you) I’m going to make mine with ties instead.

The plan:
I want to make a white linen partlet from two layers of light weight linen ( IL020).
I will setup my pattern to eliminate shoulder seams.
(v1) This will be sewn closed under the arms and tied closed at the center front.
(v2 & v3)This will tie under the arms and be sewn closed at the center front.
This style of partlet does not have a collar.
I’ll wear this over my chemise but under my kirtle.
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Eyelet template

On my kirtles I follow Festive Attyre’s “The Zen of Spiral Lacing” guide for spiral lacing hole placement. To do that I created a quick-and-dirty template which makes marking eyelets much easier.

This is an index card which is marked in 3/4″ increments except at the end which is 1/2 that. Above these marks, 1/4″ from the edge of the card I punched holes in the card. This makes marking of eyelets much easier than trying to mark with a simple ruler.

The top awl is a commercial awl I bought from JoAnne’s. It’s nice.. but it make TINY eyelets. I suppose if I’d had a good aiglet on the laces this wouldn’t be an issue.. but I didn’t have a good aiglet and it was an issue. So my husband, who loves me very much, jimmy’d around in the garage and came up with a bigger awl for me to use to make eyelets. The new awl is a large diameter screwdriver which he ground down to a point. The eyelets on the new dress are HUGE in comparison to the old.

In pursuit of a better kirtle

Hannah Brown worsted wool sleeveless waisted kirtle started January 17, 2016. Finished March 5, 2016.

I lost 10 lbs, gained 60 lbs, had a baby, lost 60 lbs and refit my bodice. I’ve had time since the last time I made a fitted kirtle to consider my construction methods and design choices and to make some new choices based on new information.**


breastbandSmock – The first layer of linen worn against the body. Often called a shirt, shert, hemd or chemise.

Kirtle – (kirtle, cotehardie, cote, gothic fitted dress, whatever you want to call it) The support layer. A dress worn over the smock. It supports and shapes the breasts. In middle/lower class this may be the only dress worn. The type of kirtle described here is appropriate for the late 15th/early 16th century (eg. 1480s-1540s possibly earlier/later). This is later (1540s and later) sometimes referred to as the petticoat.

Gown – The fancy dress worn over the kirtle. Made of expensive fabrics and sometimes fur lined.

Breast Band – (outlined in dotted lines in image to the left) In the kirtle the breasts are kept up by having the pattern tightly fitted to the body. There is a band about 2-3 inches wide which runs below the breasts on the rib cage. If this band is nice and tight and on-grain it’s impossible for the breasts to “droop”. Above the band the breasts are shaped by the space available in the pattern and the tautness of the fabric both from the side seam and from the shoulder seam. Below the band the pattern should at most skim the the body. I do not recommend shaping the body below the breast band.

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Laurel offer

At West Kingdom October Crown, on October 3, 2015 directly after my apprenticing to Master Leo Diogenese, while the ink was still wet on our fealty contract, Their Majesties of the West, Miles Fitzraulf and Ariela Bar Leila invited me to join the Order of the Laurel. By the gracious permission of Their Majesties and Their Highnesses I will be having my Laurel ceremony at West Kingdom Golden Beltane at Their Highnesses, Mark and Patricia’s stepping down, April 30/May 1, 2016.

I would have mentioned it sooner.. but we also bought a house that weekend and I got busy busy busy with packing, moving, unpacking, Thanksgiving, Christmas and finally 12th night.

Now that that’s over with.. back to the sewing.