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 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


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)


Diary started June 21, 2012


Winter is coming… and although winter in California is not exactly awash in ice and blowing snow.. I still would like to be prepared. Currently in the SCA when it gets cold I put on my heavy wool coat which is modeled off of an early period tunic.. and a fuzzy wool hat. This year I’d like to do something a little bit different. I’ve had 20 yards of really nice fake fur tucked away in my stash for about 8 years. I’ve never really had a good use for it.. in fact at one point I actually sold it.. and the buyer backed out.. so fine I guess I’ll just use it.

Since I’ve been trying out the fashions of the late 15th century it seems only right that I should go ahead and make one of the ubiquitous fur-lined over dress that you see in A LOT of the images.

Specifically I’m interested in the fur lined garment which has A LOT of rolly-polly pleats across the front of the chest.

Although planning is starting now.. I don’t expect to be able to work on this until after Pennsic.

Details to Include:

– Pleated front V-neck dress closed with a spiral lace (probably through lacing rings)
– Wide, probably rectangular, sleeves.
– Solid colored outer (probably wool) dress with fur lining.
– Fur lining showing at the v-neck, hem and wrist cuffs.
– Wide black belt with long descender and terminal. I love this belt in this image.
– Pleats are very rounded. I plan to stuff them. Pleats continue below the belt.

Inspirational Pictures

See Also

A theory on construction of the Houppelande: Cynthia Virtue’s rotated-corner, circle plan houppelande
SevenStarWheel: Houppelande for 12th Night 2009 – Planning and Pattern
The magical world of Marie-Chantal Cadieux: Yet another Houppelande construction theory…(2005)
Historical Costumes Gallery: Houppelande
By My Measure: Houppelande Belts of the Early 15th Century
Mistress Corisander Seathwaite: Understanding Houpelande and Burgundian Clothing Construction(PDF)

WRT: Veils. Medieval & Renaissance Material Culture:Goffered, frilled, and fluted veils
WRT: Stuffed Pleats. Crafty Agatha: Wool Housebook Dress
WRT: Belt Fittings. Armor and Castings: Burgundian Belt Set 1

15th Century Tailed Cap (aka: Flemish Kerchief)

Inspirational Pictures

Detail: L'Annonce aux bergers. Danse champêtre.Heures de Charles d'Angoulême, Folio 20V. French, late 15th century.

Detail:1470 Dancing Peasants

Detail: Illustration of mining by Robinet Testard, late 15th century

Detail: 1490 Hommes et femmes fanant et fauchant, Livre d-Heures de Charles d-Angouleme par Testard, Paris BNF

What I see:
White, probably linen, head thingy which appears to wrap around the back of the head and then ties (possibly a square knot) on the top of the head. The front has a flap which can either be forward or folded back.

The cap kind of looks like a St. Birgitta cap with an abreviated loop and a bill (the flappy bit the folds back). That said.. the ties are wide where they attach to the cap and then narrow as they get to the ends where they tie. I’m not sure how/where those would attach to the cap if the pattern was based off of the one I use to make the St. Birgitta coif.

It also kind of looks like a early form of a bonnet.

How have others reproduce it?
Heather’s Page: Flemish Kerchief
This method is missing the knot on top of the head. I like the look for some of the later Flemish paintings.. but this method doesn’t work for me for this project.

The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant has a pattern. I’m not satisfied with the pattern. It seems fantastically wasteful of fabric and frankly I’m annoyed by the lack of measurements on the pattern.

Racaire’s embroidery & needlework: Smurf Hood (Schlumpf Kopfbedeckung) episode II – I love the look of this one. It looks like a simple modification of the Medieval Tailor’s Assistant pattern. This eliminates the odd bias-cut bit and adds an interesting pleating to the back. But it has some odd seams that I don’t see in the images.. and although the pleating is interesting.. it’s another thing I don’t see in the inspiration images.

How I did it

My (updated) pattern for a two-tailed cap.

My (updated) pattern for a two-tailed cap.

Obviously the picture is not to scale. Use the measurements. The “cap” is 11″x11″ with an additional 5″ on the front for the “folded back bill” part of the hat.. and the tails are essential 10″ wide where they attach to the hat.. and 20″ 16″ long cut to be a triangle with the straight edge along the back of the cap.

– Add a rolled hem to all of the edges (marked in red) except the face edge.
– Fold/iron a 1/4″ of the fabric towards the inside of the cap at the face edge of the cap.
– Fold/iron the face edge towards the inside of the cap creating a bill of about 2- 2 1/2 inches. The fold should line up with where the tail curve begins. Stitch this down. (I used a running stitch).

I’m trying it out with just tucking the back.. I played with the hat for a while.. at the current size I just couldnt’ get the back to “tuck” in and hide my hair. I could make it larger.. or use pins.. but I think I’m going to go ahead and upgrade this to use a “direct smocking” fixed pleat like Racaire used.

– So last step the recreate, gather the back of the hat (~20 13 inches or so)(marked in light blue on my pattern) with 1/2 inch gathering pleat an then affix this with some kind of stitching (smocking, embroidery, whatever). I did two lines of white-on-white stemstitch pleatwork embroidery (as described here) across the tops of the pleats.

My cap cut out, pinned and ready for the last seam.

Closeup of the smocking used on the back

From the right

From the back

Left side

From the front

Other Resources:
Medieval Threads: Flemmish kercheif/coif/head thingie

A Medieval Wardrobe: 15th century Tailed Cap
Nice looking hat here.. but not a lot of info about how she made it.

Sevenstarwheel: Late 15th Century White Hood or Coif – Transition Period / War of the Roses
I don’t understand how her pattern works. I think I need to just make one out of fabric and try it out.

Other Relevant Entries

Waisted Kirtles
Black Waisted Kirtle
Crimson Waisted Kirtle
Cobalt Waisted Kirtle

{Edited to add: Recently I taught a class about constructing this hat and I found that my measurements in the picture were incorrect. I have now corrected those measurements in the picture and the text of this entry. Sorry to everyone who used the incorrect measurements. On the plus side this means that this can now be made from about 1/2 a yard of 58″ wide fabric.}

Seeing Red

Red short-sleeved waisted cotehardie started May 28, 2012. Finished June 29, 2012.

Since my black waisted cotehardie (kirtle, cote, gothic fitted dress, whatever you want to call it) worked out so well I’ve decided I need a few more. Pennsic is coming and I’m very hopeful that the short-sleeved linen waisted cotehardie will be light enough to wear at Pennsic without dieing from the heat. So with that in mind I’ve purchased 8 yards of crimson IL19 linen from and 8 yards of cobalt (destined to be the third dress). Looking back at my inspiration images, blue and red seem to be the most common colors for the short-sleeved dresses.

I’m going to take the learnings from the black cote and incorporate that into the pattern for the new one.

Inspirational Images

Rogier Van der Weyden, detail Seven Sacraments 1445-1450

The Stark triptych, 1480

Red Waisted Cotehardie Todo:

– (done) Wash fabric (8-8.5 yards necessary)
– (done) Update bodice pattern based on changes to the black cotehardie (In fitting the black I found that the back of the bodice was too long. I’ve now shortened it on my permanent pattern)
– (done) Make a pattern for the lower sleeves (Update pattern to be 5″ longer and have a S top with seam down the back of the arm)
– (done) Update short-sleeve pattern based on changes to the black cotehardie (move sleeve seam down to the bottom of the sleeve so it matches up with the bodice side seam)
– (done) Add picture of updated pattern pieces
– (done) Cut out the bodice.(I used my pattern but I also removed 0.5″ from each side of the front opening so that I’m able to lace the dress a little bit tighter than the pull-over-the-head version)(Sadly, it looks like that’s not enough. The bodice is too big. Next time I’ll completely sew the bodice together and try it on before opening the front seam to add a lace)
– (done) Cut out the skirt and sew it together. (Four 58″ squares cut corner-to-corner and then french seamed straight edge to bias edge to make a full circle skirt)(next time: Cut the panels at 9″ wide at top/bottom and 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) Cut out the circle for the waist of the skirt (next time I will cut the skirt panels out so that this step is unnecessary)
– (done) Make the short sleeves (two layers of linen)
– (done) Sew together the bodice (I used fully enclosed seams on the sides and back) (Next time: Sew it entirely together and try 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) Add facing and eyelets to the bodice. Facing started out at 3″ wide, folded in half, attached to the bodice with a 1/2″ seam allowance which means that the facing strip is ~1″ wide on the bodice. (eyelets are set at 1/2 inch from the edge and 3/4 inches apart. Offset a la “The Zen of spiral lacing”)
– (done) Fingerloop a lace. (it needed to be at least 52″ long)
– (done) Hem the dress
– (done) Adjust the bodice fit on the side seams.

I finally got the eyelets done and was able to try on the dress… only to find out that even with removing 0.5″ from either side of the front opening.. the dress is way too loose. The plan is to snork it in at the side seams. It feels just silly to have to adjust a dress before I’ve ever worn it.. but then again.. it feels silly to wear a dress that’s just too big. Also of note: the next time I’m making a dress that will have eyelets I will first sew the entire bodice together including the front seam and pull it over my head to test the fit BEFORE completing all B-zillion of the eyelets.

Later: Because the dress is just a bit too big I snorked the bodice in at the sides. I started by pinching the seams and moving them 1/2″ further in. This gave me strange stress flattening of the boob.. so I had to go back and remove some of the snorking. Frankly if I had a friend who could have helped me pin it tighter the process might have gone a lot quicker. Regardless, I stitched a bit, tried the dress on, marked in chalk where I thought it needed to be tightened/loosened, took the dress off, then seam-ripped or stitched it some more. After a few tries I finally got the dress snorked in enough and fidgeted the seams on each side enough that it doesn’t deform my boobs.

That said.. I think in the snorking I may have twisted it. The lace doesn’t want to sit straight up and down. *sigh* Though.. I have been having back problems.. and in the front-facing and back-facing pictures my left shoulder -is- a lot higher than my right shoulder.. meh.. it could just be that I’m a little bent and the lace is perfectly straight.

New skirt cutting plan

Also, plan to cut skirt panels differently. Cut 9″ from edge top and bottom instead of corner to corner to save ~11″ of length and only lose a little bit of width.

Also, sew skirt panels together so that bias is towards the back of the dress (with center back being bias to bias) so the dress “flows” the same way on both sides. That will give me two flat edges at the center-front… and it will (I hope) hang less weird.

Lastly, I was lazy and used a straight reinforcement strip around the front edge and neck/sleeve of the dress instead of cutting out a bias strip. Under the eyelets it’s fine.. but I think at lease around the neck/sleeve it would work better if it was a bias strip. I may tear it off of this dress and replace it.


In early 2013 I gifted this kirtle to a friend of mine. It fit her nicely and she looks just smashing in it.

Progress pictures:

My 4-panel bodice pattern and short sleeve.

Fabric is 8 yards of IL19 Color: Crimson. Thread is Gutermann Color: 420

Sewing down the reinforcement strip around the front/neck edge

Eyelet positions marked on the inside with sharpie

Eyelets from the outside of the bodice

Eyelets from the inside of the bodice.

“Snorking up the sides” I’ve laid a white string over the line of stitches I added to the inside to get the dress to fit right. I removed about 1/2 inch at the seams from each side.

Fingerlooping a lace plus a bonus picture of His Evilness Emperor Loki the Kitty “helping”

From the front

Left side

From the back

From the right

Other Relevant Entries

Black Waisted Kirtle
Cobalt Waisted Kirtle
15th Century Tailed Cap (aka: Flemish Kerchief)

Waisting Away: Pics or it never happened

I ended up finishing the hat in the hotel room on Friday night but the dress was done before then. I wore this dress on the Sunday of Cynagua Spring Coronet 2012 to act as inspiration for my Lord Fearghus MacAirt. Fearghus went to finals but ended up losing to Sir Mari Alexander.

– I love the colors I think it really popped with the black and gold. BUT I do believe that black is -totally- the wrong color for a working woman’s dress. I’m ok with it.. as a re-enactor wearing “Cynaguan colors”.. as long as I keep in mind that Black at this time was pretty much reserved for nobility or sunday best.
– I like the fit. The dress was supportive all day even with being pulled on over the head. I do want to make the next dress with a lacing.. and plan to go back an re-do this dress to add eyelets and a lace.
– I like the hat but I think I’ll play with the pattern for a bit before I will call it finished.
– I thought I’d be annoyed by the squared off back of the neck… but I think I like the way it looks.
– The night before we left for the event I found a paternoster(rosary) I made YEARS ago. Since it’s an amber and coral rosary I thought it would match the dress sleeves well. I like the way it looks hanging off the left shoulder but I think I need to use a smaller pin for it.

– I ended up making short tapered tube lower sleeves. I don’t like the way they’re hanging. I think there’s too much chemise showing at the armpit. I’ll need to spend a while fiddling with a pattern for the lower sleeves to get them right. Also, reviewing the inspiration pictures, I pinned these on totally wrong. The sleeve should be on top. I think by doing it this way I could pin the sleeve up higher and cut down on the amount of chemise showing. I think this means that my lower sleeve will need to be a lot longer. The current sleeve is 15″ long. That is just barely enough to go from the bottom of the short sleeve to my wrist. If I want to cover the chemise I’ll need to make the sleeve longer. Probably about 4-5″ longer.
– I hate the way the dress looks with the belt (or rather the way I squish out above and below the belt). I’ll try wearing it with the belt looser next weekend and see if I just had it too tight. Otherwise I guess I’ll be wearing this without a belt. At least until I can buy the proper fittings for the dropped belt I see in some of the inspirational images.

This weekend was a lot colder than expected.. so I don’t think this event is a fair test to see if the dress will work for Pennsic. That said.. I’ve already ordered and received red and blue linen which is destined to be two more dresses like this.

Overall.. I’d call this a winner.

January 25, 2014. After splitting the front and adding eyelets and a lace.

January 25, 2014. After splitting the front and adding eyelets and a lace.

Waisted Cotehardie Todo:
– (done) Make fitted pattern for bodice
– (done) Cut out and sew together the bodice
– (done) Cut out and sew the skirt together
– (done) Cut out the circle for the waist of the skirt
– (done) Sew the skirt and the bodice together with a binding strip
– (done) Remove skirt. Adjust the length of the back bodice.
– (done) Sew the skirt and the bodice together with a binding strip (again)
– (done) Make the short sleeves (two layers of black linen) and attach the short sleeves to the bodice
– (done) Remove skirt(again). 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.
– (done) Make a chemise to go under the dress.
– (done) Hem the dress (it took 3 days of commuting so ~6-7 hrs)
– (done) Finish the neck, wrist and hem on the chemise.
– (done) Make the lower sleeves (I have some lovely gold linen set aside for this)
– (done) two-tailed linen cap (more details posted on this later)

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.

Future projects for this outfit:
– knee high linen hose
– appropriate belt and pouch
– Adjust short sleeve pattern. Rotate sleeve pattern so that the sleeve seam matches up with the side seam
Adjust bodice pattern so that shoulder seam is moved to the top of the sleeve cap (?? no proof of this.. but the current placement “feels” wrong) I changed my mind. I’m going to leave it as it is.

Other Relevant Entries

Waisted Kirtles
Crimson Waisted Kirtle
Cobalt Waisted Kirtle
Mocha Waisted Kirtle
15th Century Tailed Cap (aka: Flemish Kerchief)

Do you see what I see?

La Belles Heures de Duc de Berry, Nativity, 1409

Random observation is random.

Sometimes I’m too modern for my own good and it takes me two or three tries to spot the weirdness in an image. That is, something that would be immensely weird and out of place to the medieval eye but is commonplace to the modern eye.

I just stared at this for a while. At first I thought it’s because her dress is orange.. I mean orange -is- an odd color for these things.. I think this is possibly the first orange short-sleeved kirtle I’ve seen (the other one I can think of may possible be a bad scan which has mucked up the colors of the image (now it’s orange), (now it’s not)). But.. even after identifying the odd color the image still felt weird to me. Last night I woke up with a gasp and realized what it is… I can see her bare arms.

There’s no hint of a chemise pushed up to elbow height.. it’s just skin as far as you can see. Aside from “bathing beauties” I think this is the first time I can remember seeing bare arm skin on a fully clothed medieval woman.

Scandalous… and right next to our Lord and Savior. Harlot.

Waist not..want not

I am a big giant dumb ass with OCD tendencies that run amok.

So I’m working on this 15th century linen kirtle. The bodice is two layers.. and the skirt is a single layer.

A while back I decided that I’d use a binding on the seam between the skirt and the bodice. It seemed like the best way to attach the skirt. I don’t want any raw edges exposed..and the only other thing I could think of was attaching it as a french seam.. and that just seemed awkward.

So I sewed the dress together including hand finishing the second edge of the binding. Then I tried the dress on.. and found out the bodice was a little bit too long in the back.. so I removed the skirt, shortened the bodice and reattached the skirt. Reattached as in I have entirely, 100% finished with the hand finishing on the binding strip.

Then when I started on the sleeves I decided that instead of using a binding strip on the sleeves I’d sew the sleves down on one side.. and then hand finish the other side. I’ve finished one of the sleeves (and I hope to goodness I don’t have to pull it off because the stitching looks lovely) and I’m sitting here.. idly thinking about the dress..and musing to myself how sad it is that the waist seams binding is so bulky.. and is making the waist seam stand out a bit.. and at the same time I happened to stumble on a flickr picture that someone posted about how they attached the skirt on their dress…. and now I’m just kicking myself. They attached the skirt to the front side of the bodice.. and then flipped the other edge of the bodice and hand sewed that down.. it’s much nicer and less bulky than a binding.

Picture 1, attaching the skirt to the outside fabric.

Picture 2, hand finishing the bodice on the inside.

So now that I’m thinking about it.. I’m going to have to do it. Stupid OCD.. now that I see how it should be done.. there’s NO WAY I can leave it as is. So yes, I will be removing my skirt for the second time and sewing the damned thing back together.. AGAIN.

BTW: Is there a sewing term for this kind of seam? I want to be able to use a term to describe what is happening and have people able to understand what I’m talking about without having to redefine the process each time I mention it.

What’s with the ruffle?

Have you ever noticed that when you start gathering together images as “proof” of whatever historical things you’re planning to sew that suddenly you start seeing things in the images you’ve never seen before? Yeah, it’s like that.

Here we go, I’m working on a 15th century kirtle (or cotehardie, whatever you want to call it) and I’m tickled at the idea that for only the second time during my time in the SCA I’m actually working on a garment which is temporaly correct for my “persona”**

Anyway, I made a pinboard of images that show the kind of dress I’m trying to create and suddenly I’m noticing the weirdest thing.

Here are some example images:

1470 Dancing Peasants

Continue reading What’s with the ruffle?

Once twice.. three times…

I’m making good progress on my waisted cotehardie. I badly wanted to wear it this last weekend (very hot Mist/Cyn war).. but sadly it’s still far from being done.

I finished sewing down the binding strip between the skirt and bodice and -then- I tried the dress on. Overall I like how the dress is fitting but after nitpicking for a while I decided the bodice was too long across the lower back. So I marked where it needed to be shorter, removed the skirt and binding strip, cut it down and then finally reattached the skirt.

This time I tried it on BEFORE finishing the binding strip. Now I -really- like how the dress is fitting. So over the next few days I’ll finish the binding strip and start working on the sleeves.

Flidais gave me a copy of her short-sleeve pattern for her cotehardie. I made a mockup with her pattern and tried it on. The fit is mostly right at the armseye but a bit small in the bicep. I fiddled with the pattern and came up with an update. The update was pretty close but still needed a bit of fiddling. So I fiddled it a bit more and last night attached it to the bodice. Unfortunately I sewed it on backwards. *sigh* (it was late at night and I was watching TV and not paying attention) So tonight I’ll remove the sleeve, re-attach it and then try the dress on. If it works well then I’ll be all set to make the sleeves out of the “real” fabric and get that part of the dress done.

Originally I thought I’d use a binding strip to add the sleeves but I changed my mind. Since the sleeves are two layers of linen I think I’ll sew them in on one side and then hand-finish the other side. This will end up with a less bulky seam than if I’d used a binding strip and should be strong enough to hold up since those seams aren’t -really- under stress.

Assuming I get the mockup sleeve removed and reattached correctly. And assuming that once I try it on I don’t need to fiddle with the sleeve pattern any more, I should be able to make the final short sleeves for this tonight.

Black shall be the color

Ok.. all productivity was put on hold during the move. Luckily the move is done now.. now it’s just the interminable unpacking.

Anyway. I’ve decided I want to wear my black waisted cotehardie for Cynaguan Coronet May 25-28. A while ago, when I thought I’d be able to wear this for Gaston Phebus, I put together the bodice. At the moment it’s totally sewn together and I can pull it on over my head and shimmy into it. It’s fitting.. but not as tight as I’d like it to be. The current plan is to make the skirt portion and attach that to the bodice. Then, if there’s enough time, split the front seam of the bodice open, roll each side back 3/4 of an inch and add eyelets for spiral lacings. The idea is that I really want it to be wearable for Coronet (pull over the head).. but long term I want to be able to lace the dress tighter.

Cutting the skirt panels

To that end I’ve finally laid out and cut the skirt portions (yes, that is the fabric laid out on the back patio.. it’s the only big flat surface I could find to lay out the fabric to cut it corner-to-corner). I’m going to do an unlined skirt.

If my mental image is right.. I’m doing 8 sections where each section is 1/2 of a 58″x58″ square of linen. The sections will be french seamed together with a bias edge to a straight edge.. and if I figured it out right.. that should just about make a skirt that drapes very fully. In fact, I -think- that will make it a full circle skirt.

After I get the triangles sewn together I’ll cut out the top of the triangles to fit the length of the bottom of the bodice. I think I will be cutting the top of the triangles so that the tops are flat and ~8″ wide. If I was math smart I probably could have laid that out when I cut out the skirt.. but that math eluded me.. and since I didn’t want to mess it up, I decided it was ok to end up tossing a circle of fabric where all the triangle points come together.

When the skirt is attached to the bodice the skirt will be lined up so that one of the seams exactly matches up with the center front seam on the bodice and the opposite seam exactly matches up with the center back seam on the bodice. Then I’ll take up the excess of the skirt by adding a box pleat to the center back..and knife pleats evenly to either side until the excess is taken up. Then I think I’ll us a binding strip to attach the skirt to the bodice. I could french seam it.. but a binding strip seems much cleaner. Changed my mind.

The dress will have short sleeves with pin-on lower sleeves. I think I’ll also use a binding strip to attach the short sleeves to the bodice. Changed my mind. See next post.

Then I just have to hem it an I should be good to go.