Princess Dress

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

Kirtle

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

https://www.facebook.com/musee.renaissance.officiel/posts/10153407662910866
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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.

Continue reading Laureling outfit

How now Brown Gown?

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

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


Continue reading How now Brown Gown?

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.

Summary

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.

Considerations:
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 (fabric-store.com 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.
Continue reading Early Tudor White Partlet

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.**

Terms

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.

Continue reading In pursuit of a better kirtle

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 the last time I made a fitted bodice I’ve read a couple of very good articles and plan to try to incorporate those lessons into this fitting.

I use the same pattern for both my German garb and my 15th century kirtles. It makes sense to me as I remain the same shape. The difference is that the 15th century kirtle is fitted to my natural waist (about belly-button level) while the German bodice ends at the bottom of my ribs (about 2 inches above my natural waist).

Problems with previous pattern:
– I believe that I again fitted the pattern with me standing at attention with my shoulders thrown back. This means the dresses made with the pattern were comfortable as long as I was standing upright, but if I slouched or laid down I got a pain in my back in between my shoulder blades from the way the fabric pulled on my body. I want to pay special attention this time to see if I can eliminate this issue.
– The last dress was supportive but I could still wriggle into/out of the dress. I think this is because the under-bust breast band wasn’t actually as tight as it should be. I plan to bring this in. This should have the side effect of making a lace mandatory.
– I believe the armseye on the last pattern was too big. On this one I want to fit closer to the arm and eliminate some of the excess fabric the pattern was forcing me to add into the top of the sleeve.
– I am still dearly in love with short-sleeved kirtles with pin on sleeves. That said, since my son is still in my arms and carried quite a bit I can’t use pin on sleeves for fear of poking/scratching him. This time I may do a full length fitted sleeve. That said, I still want to be able to push the sleeve up to my elbows in case I need to wash dishes.

For this fitting I’m using a zipper on the center front seam to make it easier to get into/out of the dress for iterating on the fitting. This has been super great since it’s nice and fast. The only wrinkle is that the zipper takes up a different amount of seam allowance than the final lace placket will. I’ll need to take that into account when I cut out the final dress. I -think- I just need to add 1/2 seam allowance to the center front seam and I’ll be good.

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.
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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)