Waisted Kirtle

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 fabric-store.com 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 Fabric-store.com 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)

5 thoughts on “Seeing Red

  1. Pingback: Five Things – Feeling All Accomplished « Results Typical

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