Waisted Kirtle

Mocha Waisted Kirtle

Mocha short-sleeved waisted cotehardie started August 18, 2012, then, in the middle of sewing it together I moved.. so this dress is took a lot longer than normal. Finished October 2, 2012. It had a weird pucker in the front and in October 2015 I opened up the front to add eyelets.  Half way through adding the eyelets I tossed the kirtle into a box when we moved AGAIN and forgot about it.  I found it in May 2019 and then FINALLY finished the eyelets.  Sadly the dress is now a bit big on me.. so it will be resized.  Because of course it will.

It occurs to me that you’re probably saying to yourself “Damn.. does she blog about every blasted dress she sews together?” Ok.. so I know I’ve been blogging the heck out of my waisted kirtles.. and if I’d come up with the ONE PERFECT WAY to do them then I’d blog that and stop blogging each individual dress.. but I haven’t found that “perfect way” yet.. and every dress is still a learning experience.. and if I don’t want to forget what I learned on the last dress then I need to make sure it’s written down so I do it right on the next dress. I promise, when I come up with the ONE PERFECT WAY to make these I’ll post it on the blog and then add links to it from practically everywhere. But until then… yeah.. fourth verse, same as the first (only not exactly the same.. changed only in the slightest.. but changed none-the-less).

So anyway. Building on what I learned with my Black, Crimson and Cobalt Kirtles (kirtle, cotehardie, cote, gothic fitted dress, whatever you want to call it) we come to my newest dress. I want a kirtle which is a little bit warmer than my other kirtles. To that end this one will have a wool outer layer and the bodice will be lined in linen. I contemplated having long sleeves on this one.. but I’m still really grooving on having a different color for the lower sleeve.. so this one will still have the short sleeves (added bonus, I know my pattern for short sleeves works.. and I’m not yet ready to finalize my long sleeve pattern).

Added bonus: I finally found a nice shop where I can take my sewing machine and get it serviced. I have an old Sears Kenmore machine and it’s a beast.. but the tension has gone all wonky so I need to get that repaired. I chatted with the shop owner and described my problem and he immediately said he knew how to fix that (well that and he complimented me on having such a nice machine.. yeah brownie points there). Anyway, he has a 3 week backup.. so if I’m going to take my machine in to him I need to be prepared for no machine sewing for 3 weeks. OMG 3 whole weeks? How will I survive? Simple, by quickly prepping any machine sewn projects in the pipeline so I have only a bunch of hand sewing over the next 3-4 weeks. Hence the reason I’m in hurry-up mode on the Mocha dress (which I want to wear the first week in October) and have started that one before I’ve even finished my Cobalt dress.

Inspirational Images

Triptych of Adriaan Reins, a Brother at Sint, Hans Memling, 1480
Le Roman de la Rose Made for Louise of Savoy, late 15th century
Le Roman de la Rose Made for Louise of Savoy, late 15th century
1470 Dancing Peasants

Mocha Waisted kirtle Todo:

– (done) Wash fabric (8 yards necessary)(see Learnings below)
– (done) Cut out the bodice and sleeves. (~1/2 yard per layer so in this case, 1/2 yard wool and 1 yard linen)
– (done) Cut out the skirt. (8 trapezoids see new cutting plan below) (~7 yards for the whole skirt, it’s unlined)
– (done) Sew skirt together. (French seam the panels together with bias edges towards the back of the skirt. End up with bias to bias at the center back. Better swoosh and the front hangs straight.)
– (done) Make the short sleeves (wool lined in linen)(sew inner and outer fabrics together along what will be the bottom edge. Then sew them into a tube making sure that the seam is matched up between the inner and outer layers)
– (done) Completely sew the bodice together and try it on to test the fit (use fully enclosed seams on front/back/2 sides then stitch the neckline on the front pieces before attaching the sleeve strap to the back piece and stitching the back pieces)
– (done) Attach the short sleeves to the bodice (sew down on the outside then flip and hand sew down the inside) (~3-4 hrs handsewing)
– (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


I -know- that two layers of linen will properly support my bust. I don’t know that one layer of linen and one layer of tropical weight wool will support me. So I decided to do two layers of linen for the lining of the bodice with the layer of wool on the outside. It seems logical. We’ll see how that works out. For the sleeves I only used a single layer of linen.

I purchased 10 yards of this chocolate colored tropical weight wool in April of 2010 from Fabric.com. It was a really good sale coupled with another good discount code it worked out to $4.79/yard. This has been languishing in my stash for a little over two years. Finally, yesterday when I pulled it off the roll to wash it there seemed to be a lot more than 10 yards.. more like 15 yards. I went back and checked my purchase order.. and yeah, I only purchased 10 yards. Regardless. I washed it and then dried it and then laid it out to cut out the bodice. That was then I figured out why they’d given me extra fabric. Throughout my hunk of wool there are occasionally spots where the dye is uneven. I’m fairly certain I’ll be able to work around them.. but now it totally makes sense why they threw in the additional yardage. After cutting out my bodice and sleeves (~1 yd) I have almost 13 yards remaining.. but it looks like 1 yard of that in the middle is splotchy.

For the linen lining I’m using up the last of a wad of Fabric-store.com IL19 Coffee Bean linen I have left over from another project.

Oh, and Chocolate + coffee bean = Mocha.

For this version I (again) tweaked my skirt panel cutting pattern. In the last version I cut the skirt panels as trapezoids instead of triangles. After that adjustment I found that I had 10″ of excess fabric at the bottom the skirt when I cut the hem. This seems aweful wasteful so I will adjust the length of the panels to be closer to 50″ (old measurements – 2 inches from the top and 8″ from the bottom). This should leave about 1 additional yard available for cutting out the bodice (4 panels @8″ each = 32″ of fabric no longer in the skirts). This means that I’m back to being able to get these dresses from 8 yards of fabric. It was a good plan.. but when I cut out the skirt panels I somehow ended up at 45″x58″ instead of 50″x58″. This would have put me ~5 inches short on the hem and that is just not acceptable. So instead I cut the skirt length along the 58″ measurement.. and I’ll just suck it up that the skirt is a little bit less full than I would like. Heck if it really bugs me I’ll cut out a couple more panels from the extra yardage I have and add to the fullness. I still think it’s a good plan (cutting at 50″x58″) .. so I will definitely do it on my next dress.

In addition to cutting the panels as trapezoids, this time I also evened up the trapezoids by nipping off another triangle at the top of each panel(see the cutting plan). This should make the seams hang straight.

After wearing this twice.. it has a weird pucker in the middle front. I think I will try washing/drying it and see if that goes away.. if not I may pop that seam open and add a lace there instead of having it pull over my head.

In October 2015 I opened the front seam and started adding eyelets.  Then I threw it in a box while we moved and lost it.  I found it again in May 2019.  I’m not finishing up the eyelets.

Progress Pictures:

Other Relevant Entries

Waisted Kirtles
Black Waisted kirtle
Crimson Waisted kirtle
Cobalt Waisted kirtle
15th Century Tailed Cap (aka: Flemish Kerchief)

1 thought on “Mocha Waisted Kirtle

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