So I posted about this on Facebook and on the Renn. costume forum but forgot to post about it here. Opps.
I’ve made a lot of kirtles, in various ways, with various materials and stiffening. I’ve also answered a lot of questions about kirtles, and while I will be the first to tell you I’m not the end all be all fount of kirtle information, I have learned a great deal about them.
I’ve decided to host a kirtle sew along, and go step by step on how I make a basic 16th century kirtle. This will help people just starting out, middle of the road sewers and maybe the experts will pick up a few tricks. I’m going to be posting in a mixture of photos, written instructions and if the weather cooperates, video.
I’m not going to hand sew this one, I tend to use the sewing machine where it will not show and hand finish the parts that will.
General Materials needed:
I’m giving a rough idea in the amounts listed if you are taller than average or plan to heavily preshrink your fabrics add more yardage.
4 to 5 yards of wool
4 to 5 yards linen for lining or just 2 yards of linen if only lining the bodice and sleeves
1 to 2 yards of twill/drill/canvas for interlining
2 to 4 yards muslin/calico for flatlining and mock ups
Matching embrodiery thread for eyelets
A roll of paper for patterning, or newspaper can work in a pinch..
Hand sewing needles, pins and so forth.
Lacing strips for fitting.
After much debate, I decided to use a store bought pattern as a base. Not everyone has a fitted bodice block, nor does everyone have access to a printer to print one out, or a dress form for draping.
Simplicity 3723 and 2354 is a basic costume pattern in a good range of sizes, the “Pilgrim” dress has waist darts and bust darts but no other fancy shaping so it is ideal for adapting. And in the U.S. with Halloween coming up they usually put the patterns on sale.
I’ll cover rotating out the darts, adapting the pattern to a curved front bodice, trouble shoot any fitting issues as best I can and any other things that might come up.
I haven’t worked with commercial patterns for a long time so this will be a refresher course for me.
We will be ignoring the pattern instructions, if you have a similar pattern in your stash, feel free to use it instead.