Cobalt Kirtle

First time wearing the dress. Invited to be on HRM Zanobia’s Queen’s Artisan’s. Photo taken by Joel Schonbrunn.

Blue short-sleeved waisted cotehardie started July 30,2012 then I paused and didn’t work on it during Pennsic (8/2-8/13). Finished on 8/22.

Third time’s the charm. Based on my success with my Black Kirtle (kirtle, cote, gothic fitted dress, whatever you want to call it) and Crimson Kirtle I’ve decided to make another. This time it will be Cobalt blue (A really gorgeous dark blue linen in IL19 from Fabric-store.com). Due to time constraints and .. other reasons.. I will not be adding a lace to this. Frankly I can wriggle into my dresses even when they’re tight and supportive without needing the added lace.. so it seems silly to go through that effort. I can always go back and add it in the future.

I had all of the machine sewing done before I flew out for Pennsic. I knew that if I took the project to Pennsic I could have finished it.. but then I would have spent all of Pennsic hand sewing.. so I left it at home and I completed it the first week after I returned from Pennsic. This was first worn at West Kingdom Purgatorio Coronation August 25th, 2012.

This dress is also the base for my -=Super Secret=- plans for Cynaguan Fall Coronet. I’ll post more about that later.

Inspirational Images

1470 Dancing Peasants

Le Roman de la Rose Made for Louise of Savoy, late 15th century


Cobalt Waisted Kirtle Todo:

– (done) Wash fabric (8-8.5 yards necessary)(see Learnings below)
– (done) Cut out the bodice and sleeves.
– (done) Cut out the skirt. (8 trapezoids cut at 9″ wide at top and 49″ wide at bottom)
– (done) Sew skirt together. (Sew the panels together with bias edges towards the back of the skirt. End up with bias to bias at the center back. Better swoosh.)
– (done) Make the short sleeves(two layers of linen)
– (done) Completely sew the bodice together and try it on to test the fit
– (done) Attach the short sleeves to the bodice (sew down on one side then flip and hand sew down the other side)
– (done) Attach the skirt to the bodice (Put a box pleat at the center-back and then knife pleat either side to fit the top of the skirt to the bottom of the bodice. Sew the skirt to the front layer of the bodice and then flip the back layer of the bodice around to make a hidden seam on the inside).
– (done) Hem the dress
– (done) Bonus: French Open Hood

Learnings

On my Black Kirtle I started off with 15 yards of fabric.. so I didn’t have any issues. On my Red Kirtle I had 8 yards of fabric. I cut out the bodice.. and then cut out the skirt.. and ended up with two narrow-er than the rest skirt panels. At the time I figured I had just not been smart with my bodice layout. This time I again started with exactly 8 yards.. but I did it the other way around.. and cut out the skirt panels first (4 panels at 58″x58″ cut into trapezoids (like the image)). Then when I went to cut out the bodice I found that with the sleeve and with needing 4 layers for everything.. I just couldn’t quite squeeze it out of the remaining fabric.

Now I could have squeezed it in if I was willing to monkey with my bodice pattern.. and move some of the sleeve strap from the front to the back.. but I hate monkeying with someing without mocking it up first.. and honestly I’ve put myself in a bit of a crunch here by trying to get all of the machine sewing on this done before I head out for Pennsic.

After thinking about it for a while I decided to line the bodice in a light grey linen from a previous project. I think the fabrics go together well.. and by doing that I even ended up with enough leftover blue and grey to also make a matching open french hood.

So anyway.. the learning here: if you want to line the bodice in the same color as the dress.. and you don’t want to steal a few inches from the skirt width.. then you need to start with.. probably 8.5 yards at least. Otherwise.. just make sure you have 8 yards for the outer fabric.. and about 2 yards for lining the bodice.

Also, for this version I tweaked my skirt panel cutting pattern. Instead of cutting out triangles and then cutting off the top of the triangle I instead nipped off the tip of the triangle before I cut out the pattern(see the “Skirt panel cutting plan“). That worked well. But I think I want to adjust my panel plan further. Becuase I didn’t have to nip off the top triangles I could have saved a lot of fabric. In fact, as much as 8″ per panel (which would then allow me to get a full skirt out of 8 yards of fabric). Also I want to nip off another triangle at the top to even up the two sides so the seams will hang straight. I think that triangle is 2” on the straight edge.. I’ll adjust my panel cutting plan on the next dress. Next dress will be Brown wool lined in linen. The wool is currently in the dryer 😀

Wearing it
After wearing this once I can say that I -love- the way the front of the skirt hangs. Because the center front seam is straight edge to straight edge it hangs straight in the front. Love this. On my Black and Crimson dresses I end up with a weird drape-y triangle in the front.

At Pennsic I picked up the -perfect- belt for this ensemble from Billy and Charlie. It ended up costing $36! Which is FANTASTIC compared to the $150 other places were quoting me. I absolutely LOVE it. It completes the outfit.

I LOVE the open hood. It’s simple and cute. I copied this pattern from Brekke. I will still post it.. but aside from confirming that yes, it’s period and showing pictures where it’s worn.. I did absolutely no work on this pattern. All hail Brekke.

I didn’t love the fact that my new open hood keeps sliding off-center. It looks utterly dorky and I can’t tell when it happens. There’s quite a few pictures from this weekend with my hood being all sloppy and offcenter /fume. The fix for this (after I noticed it) was that I wore my St. Birgitta cap under the hood and I pinned the hood to the cap. I think I could also wear my two-tailed cap under the hood and be period correct. I also had problems that my new belt kept slipping off-center. I don’t have a cure for that yet. I guess I’ll just need to keep checking my belt to make sure it’s centered.

I also still dislike the sleeve pattern. I like the way the gold looks with the blue.. but I used a simple tube for the pattern when I first banged them out.. and I need to make working on this final pattern a higher priority item. Otherwise I’ll end up with a quick fix (the current sleeves) being the permanent fix.

Overall I’d still call this a win.

Edited to add:
In Januray 2014, just after I gave birth to my son, I updated this dress so that it would be open down the front with eyelets so it could be closed with a lace. This turns out to be fantastic breastfeeding garb.

Progress Pictures:

Other Relevant Entries

Waisted Kirtles
Black Waisted Kirtle
Crimson Waisted Kirtle

15th Century Tailed Cap (aka: Flemish Kerchief)

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