Pad stitching and Shaping a Linen Doublet


Some work in progress shots of a 16th century black linen doublet.

Doublet front basted and shaped.

Doublet front basted and shaped.


Under side of the doublet front, canvas and pad stitched wool


Under side of the doublet front, canvas and pad stitched wool.

Under side of the doublet back, more canvas and pad stitched wool.

Under side of the doublet back, more canvas and pad stitched wool.

Manteo de pano para muger

Juan de Alcega Tailor’s Pattern Book: Manteo or a skirt of cloth

I’m in need of a new underskirt or petticoat for my 16th century clothing. I’ve been using the same cotton broadcloth one I made back in 2005, for years now. It is serviceable, but it adds a lot of bulk at the waist and it isn’t very authentic in construction or materials.

So it is time to for a new one.

I have 3.5 yards of a lovely wine colored, lightweight worsted wool donated to me by Noel. (Thank you Noel! <3 )

I’ll be drafting the pattern on the fabric and  hand sewing the whole thing with linen thread.


wine red wool and thread


I’m working from the Spanish version of Alcega’s Book. The english translation is out-of-print and painfully expensive. I’m not a native nor fluent spanish speaker so google and a few other resources will be heavily used.

I’m using the translated chart of symbols from the tailors book into modern inches from the Curious Frau’s site.

Taking some inspiration from Other Andrew’s The Alcega Project.

And keeping in mind the information  of the Modern Maker has posted about his study of the patterns on his blog and on the Elizabethan Costume Facebook group.



Definition from “Nuevo diccionario portatil, espanol e ingles: compuesto segun los mejore…

Manteo: s, m : a church man’s cloke; a woman’s under petticoat.

Language is a fluid thing, always changing. The above definition is from 1728 far later than the 16th century. However even later dictionaries simply list it as a cloak or mantle. Context is key, when it is listed as Manteo de Muger, chances are it is a skirt.


A 1920’s Flapper Halloween and more

I’m not post much as I’m getting married Nov. 1st! All the wedding stress and appointments and planning means not much sewing time.

I did manage to get this patterned and partly sewn up the past few weeks.

It still needs a slip, binding, and hem but at least it is no longer looking sad on my dressform.


Red and black sequined 1920's inspired dressDeep V back red and black sequined 1920's inspired dress

Lucas DeHeere sketchbook #71 English women

Back to sewing in the 16th century!

I did sewing today finally! English Fitted Gown I took on to keep a friend from lighting it on fire, went on its way to the post office today along with a gift that I quickly hand sewed an hour before. 

I drafted, cut and sewed a pair of trunkhose. I then unpicked them because I once again tried to bag line them and ended up with an endless case of pants. Got that sorted by unpicking the crotch seam and pulling it out the leg hole and sewing it back together and then tacking the crotch seams together. 

Tomorrow is making the pants poof, tacking a few more things in place, waistband, and possible codpiece. No eyelets until I get a final fit on a doublet and that will not happen until Sept. Also need to mock-up the doublet in the extra twill fabric I have with me. Hopefully I have enough.

Started to pack up for the move! My fabric is all in boxes and safe from the cat for now.

Tonight I need to cut out my half sleeve, that I made too small last time and then my long neglected screaming red kirtle will be done.

Nonesuch map market woman

Fitting Points on the Tudor Tailor’s English Fitted Gown

I’ve made three English Fitted Gowns based on the Tudor Tailor’s pattern so far, and with each one I’ve tweaked how I’ve put them together.

olive wool fitted english gown

Light weight worsted wool gown lined with linen rayon blend

English Gown Front View

Black Velvet “Mockado” Gown lined with cotton broadcloth

Market Woman side shot

Wool broadcloth blend lined with cotton broadcloth

Issue one: Sleeve Dimples

Fitted gown sleeve dimple



Dress pins made from jewelry findings

I’m finishing up the bright red wool kirtle and this time around I need some dress pins to keep the sleeves on.

I remembered Catrin’s pin making tutorial but knew I didn’t have the right gauge wire on hand, but I did have some decorative head pins left over from making the  green tudor gown.

I followed the same process Catrin’s tutorial showed, save that I didn’t have to wire wrap to make the head of the pin, and I don’t have a jewelry anvil. I work-hardened the length of the pin by hammering it flat on my front porch, nipped the ends with wire cutters and sanded it down with a file.


Dress pins made from jewelry findings



Aqua Blue Elf Gown Work in Progress

We all have wip projects somewhere in the back of the closet. In my case I’ve been working on this Lord of the Rings inspired elf gown for the past three years (at least) using fabric I’ve had in my stash for almost nine years.

But the end is near! I have some bead work to do on the belt and neckline, the cloak to figure out and the sash to hem but that is it. There is a plain white under dress that goes with it since the odd textured knit fabric I used is sheer, but it does not fit on the form.


Aqua Elf Dress with cloak

Aqua Elf Dress without cloak











Aqua Elf Dress Fabric

Hand Sewing a Red Wool Petticoat/Kirtle

Hand sewing my way through another petticoat/kirtle project, this time in a scarlet colored light weight wool.


Sewing the skirt with a spaced back stitch

Sewing the skirt with a spaced back stitch.

Patterning the red wool kirtle.

Patterning the red wool kirtle.







Sewing the bodice with the back stitch

Sewing the bodice with the back stitch.

Sewing down seam allowances with the herringbone stitch.

Sewing down seam allowances with the herringbone stitch.

Betsy Ross House Living History Exhibit: Dressing The Bed

Cutting and ironing the fabric

Cutting and ironing the fabric- Image by Betsy Ross House

I got a lovely email last week about a new living history exhibit. Im a little late in posting about due to house plumbing issues,
but if anyone is in the Philadelphia area it sounds like a great project to check out.

Because I am nosy I asked some questions about the hand stitches that will be used in this project and got a reply back!

From Carol Spacht who is leading the project:

“The stiches are all very simple: running stitch, back-stitch, combination stitch (running & backstitch together) &  plain hem stitch. Seams with raw edges are felled, and seams with selvedges are stitched with either combination or backstitch, and then simply pressed; we are not felling or otherwise finishing-off selvedge seams. In the course of the project, we will be making many eyelets.

We will use a plain overcast stitch (no pearls) for the eyelets; we will also over-hand selvedges when we join  the pieces of linen together for the counterpane and, just for variation, we’ll do a Holland seam for the sheet – a slightly different stitch that is similar to over-handing.  Other stitches that we use with frequency in the shop include: overcasting raw edges, whipstitch, and spaced back-stitch. An interesting question that we are sometimes asked in the shop, regards the period names for stitches.

We have chosen to rely upon the research of Kathleen Kannik,The Lady’s Guide to Plain Sewing. Stitches often have variant names, but it appears that many of the common names that we know stitches by today, were also probably used in the 18th century.”




Cutting the fabric -Image by Betsy Ross House

Cutting the fabric -Image by Betsy Ross House


Nonesuch map market woman

Nonesuch Market Woman

Starting off the New Year with finishing a big project!

More photos can be found on the Nonesuch costume page.

Market woman front shot Nonesuch map market woman