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.

Sunshine inspired productivity

I had a relaxing weekend at home. It’s rare. In fact since the beginning of the year this is only the second weekend I’ve been at home… and the first weekend was the weekend where we did an open house.. so that doesn’t really count.
Continue reading Sunshine inspired productivity

Abortive beginnings

Diary started June 23, 2011
Black short-sleeved waisted cotehardie started March 5, 2012, finished May 23, 2012.

I’ve spent quite a while thinking about this and finally set to work on this a few night ago. I have a bodice which I’ve used for my german gowns. That bodice ends at around the bottom of my ribs. I fiddled with this pattern and extended it down so that the bodice now ends at my natural waist (I added ~3″-4″ to the bottom all around). I also fiddled the pattern so that it uses side seams.

Then I threw the brown linen I’d set aside for this project into the washer. I only have 5 yards so I hope that’s enough. I suppose if it isn’t I’ll have to order more linen.

[Edited: After I’d washed the linen I realized it REALLY wasn’t enough and went back to the drawing board. Then the project sat around for almost a year before I took it up again.]

15th century waisted kirtle


Once upon a very long time ago I made and wore a cotehardie. Unfortunately I didn’t think that cotehardies are particularly flattering on me. After the yellow cotehardie I wore a lot of basic tunics.. and finally started making German gowns. The bodice on German gowns is a lot shorter then the bodice needed for a cote. On my German gown the bodice ends at the bottom of my ribs. For the cote to look right I needed to bring the bottom edge down to my natural waist. That’s probably a 3″ difference. I’m awful bumpy below the ribs.. and in the German gowns I can camouflage that with the very high waist.. I’m not able to do that in the cote. Regardless after many years of -not- wearing a cotehardie I’ve decided to try it again only this time I want to do a 15th century waisted cotehardie.

In retrospect I think the issues with the yellow cotehardie mostly came because the skirt was fairly narrow.. and frankly I wasn’t that good at sewing.. so although the fit was adequate, it wasn’t great. Luckily, I’ve gotten better.

This time I’m planning to do a cotehardie (cote, kirtle, gothic fitted gown, gothic fitted dress, whatever you want to call it) with a waist seam. The addition of a waist seam will allow me to get a lot of added fullness in the skirt. I’ll add pleats to the back of the skirt to take up any excess (and to allow for sufficient flair over my hips). Lastly, I want to make this out of linen with short sleeves and an unlined skirt. Hopefully that will allow me to wear this at very hot events (eg: Pennsic) without overheating.

Research and Background

These dresses are seen in a lot of images by Flemish and French artists in the late 1400s.

Details to include:
– Supportive bodice with front, back and side seams.
– Spiral lace closure in the front that extends below the waist seam
– Waist seam at natural waist
– Rounded neckline front and back that has a reinforcement strip on the inside. (Though, if I was doing a strictly french fashion it looks like the front at least would be squared)
– Long sleeved chemise that barely peeks up above the neckline and comes to about knee height
– Short sleeves with pin on lower sleeves of a different color.
– Skirt pleated into the waistline. I plan to only have pleats in the back.
– Trapezoidal gored skirt.
– Belt worn at the waist, or, more comomnly, low on the hips
– White linen tailed cap
– Open hood

Inspirational Pictures

See Also:

Kirtles with a waistseam
Three kirtles illustrated by Rogier van der Weyden c. 1445-50.
15th Century Female Flemish Dress: A Portfolio of Images

Blue 15th Century Kirtle with Trapezoidal Skirt Panels (finds from london)
The kirtle the medival dress of the 14th century

Will the Real Fifteenth Century Sleeve Please Stand Up?

Lara Corsets & Gowns: 15th Century Women’s Clothing During England’s War of the Roses

Robin Netherton: The Gothic Fitted Dress FAQ

The Hundred Years’ Wardrobe: A Sewing Experiment

Men’s and Women’s Work Clothing: A Portfolio of Images Simon Bening, The DaCosta Hours. A lot of working women images from 1515 with short-sleeves.

Tangible Daydreams: Contrasting gores in cotehardies
In My Lady’s Chamber: Contrasting gores in medieval dresses debunked

Dress Diaries

Black Waisted Kirtle
Crimson Waisted Kirtle
Cobalt Waisted Kirtle
Mocha Waisted Kirtle

Other Relevant Entries

15th Century Tailed Cap (aka: Flemish Kerchief)