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.


I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at early Tudor (1485-1515) 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.

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 ( 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.

I have finished my first version of the partlet. I’m concerned that the center front won’t be close enough together where it runs under the neckline of my kirtle. I’ll need to model this with my kirtle on in order to find out.
I may need to alter my pattern.

I wore v1 of the partlet all day at Crown. It was comfortable and kept the back of my neck warm. That said, I was right, the front is WAY too wide. I’ve jiggered the pattern (see franken pattern v2 below) and will make a new partlet to try out. I really want to wear it at an event before I make the final version out of velvet.. that said.. time is running short. I may wear it around the house for a bit and try it out here.

I changed this version so the that front diagonal connects the top of the neck with the top of the kirtle neckline instead of the bottom of the partlet. This should bring the front edges closer together at the kirtle neckline.

I had a brilliant flash of insight (which negates most of my work so far). If I did two side ties instead of one center tie and sewed up the front then I’d be able to take off the partlet in the middle of the day if I get too hot. I could also put it back on (albeit with a bit of struggle) even once I’m dressed since my kirtle has no sleeves. This also has the bonus of making the partlets easier to sew. I mundged franken pattern into a new franken pattern(v2). It’s getting close. I think now the pieces need to be wider.

I wore V2 of the partlet yesterday at Golden River’s Championship. The center front was right but it needs to be wider at the shoulders, wider at the bottom (to extend further around me) and shorter top-to-bottom on both the front and back (esp if I plan to use this pattern for a black velvet partlet which will be worn on the outside of my kirtle). I again mundged franken pattern into V3. I’ll sew this up and wear it next weekend at Civil Unrest. At this point I’m running out of IL020 linen. I have just enough to make V3 but will have to order more before I can make any additional white linen partlets. Crossing my fingers that v3 will be sufficient for me to go ahead with the black velvet version.

With the newest alterations from V2 to V3 the partlet now only takes 1 yard of fabric to make a double layered linen partlet. This is a nice change from V2 which required 2 yards. This means that when I make the next version which is black velvet lined in black linen I should only need 1/2 yard of each.

Inspirational Pictures

Pinterest board: White Partlet Northern Europe 1485-1515

Todo List:

– (done) Create a pattern from my toile. The back neckline is going to just round the neck. The front will make a V to the center front bottom.
– (done) Cut two layers from handkerchief weight linen
– (done) Stitch under arms on the outer layer and the inner layer.
– (done) Stitch inner and outer layer together around the outside. Leave ~2 inches unstitched to flip the garment through.
– (done) Clip seams and flip outside-out. Hand finish the last 2 inches. Iron.
– (done) Sew a channel across the bottom which will hold the drawstring tie.
– (done) Thread a drawstring through the channel.

4 thoughts on “Early Tudor White Partlet

  1. Wow, I love how you document all of the steps, successes, as well as flops. You make it all look possible for us mere mortals I learn something almost every time I stalk your blog.

  2. It litererally boils down to the fact that I don't have a book showing the "one true way" of doing these things. I'm experimenting and trying out ideas.. and I'm not shy about saying "well that didnt' work.. must try something different next time." No failures, only learning experiences.

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