How to Make a Velcro Corset Busk for Fittings and Mock-ups


Trying to fit a corset mock-up on your own body, by yourself, calls for patience and flexibility. I wanted something I could sew on quickly so I could check the general fit of a corset, without having to worry about busk length, zippers, or safety pins.

The Velcro Corset Busk



  • 2 lengths of flat steel boning
  • 2 sturdy strips of fabric, wide enough to fold in half. this will make your boning channels.
  • Velcro, either the sew on kind or the industrial strength adhesive kind
  • Sewing machine, pencil, scissors


Wills and a Possible Linen Kirtle


Last Friday and over the weekend I put together a list of 16th century English wills that are available through google books.

Some highlights include the Sandwich Book of Orphans which gets into orphans their wardship or guardians and the cost of their upkeep. Most interesting is the record of Tomasine Wolters, it covers the repair of her houses, the amount of rent her properties collected, the repairing of her shoes and purchase of her wardrobe and other necessities.


Another interesting tidbit (in a different document) was the mention of a possible linen kirtle.

“..To Effam Hargrave widow one lyne kertle and my white petticoate”

The full will is here.

It started a good debate on FB, did that mean linen, did that mean lined? I haven’t run across any other mention of a kirtle like that before. So I did some digging, drawing on Drea Leed’s database for variations on how linen was spelled in period.

“linen” “lening” “linnen” “lynon” “lynen” “lynne” “linninge” “lynnynge” “lyn clothe” “lin[en]” “lynn[en]” “lenone” “lin clothe” “lynenn” “lynnyne” “lynnyn” “lynuen” “lynnen” “lawn” “lockram” “cobweb lawn” “cobweb lawne” “copwebbe lawne” “cobwebbe lawne” “cobwebe lawne” “copweb lawne” “copwebb lawne” “band of lane” “lane slevis” “layn” “lawne” “lokeram” “lokorame” “lockeram” “lockrom” “locram” “loceram”

And I ran it through the will I had collected, then I pulled out anything that wasn’t the usual coif or tablecloth.

Snippet view couldn’t get what year
15788 Item vij paire of Sleves three of linnen clothe and iiij of Lawne wroughte with golde and Silke.

1587 – Will of Roger Simpson
2 lynnynge apprens, 2 linninge churchef, 3 napkins, one payre of lynne sleves….

1606 Sandwich Book of Orphans
 It m paid Tho Horsman formakinge a Dublet a paire of hoose and a wastecote he fynding lenone for tho Dublet for Tho Ingram iiij s ij d

1564 Mychaell Clerkson Testamentum
A pair of lynnyn sleves and a pair of fusshyn sleves, xijd

1592 Will of Richard Rawstorne
I geve 8m unto Ralph Hoult one sute of my worst apparell To Edward Nuttall a paire of gray breeches laid wth vj laces and one dublet of milion fustion and my best paire of netherstockf saving one To Rogger Pilkington one paire of lynuen breeches cutt To my sonne Henry my best oloake best dublet best jirkin and my best hose To William Pilkington one dublet of cutt canvas and one paire of new shooes ..

Snippet view couldn’t get what year
one lynnen apperne

So no other kirtles but the one mentioned, but it may crack the door open an inch to the possibility of them.



A 14th Century Kirtle or a Fantasy Gown Depending on the Accessories…


I have a friend who lives in the wilds of Oklahoma, her local medieval fair runs for only three days. She has needed a costume to attend just for fun but being a fellow history nerd wanted something that would work. Her fair set in 1360, it has a different flavor than my local fair that tends toward the 1540’s which means my go to comfy bodice and skirt kirtle wouldn’t really fit.

A few years before we got some lightweight wool suiting in plum color from Fabricmart and then I sat on it like an egg as we went back and forth over what style of dress she wanted.

  • Bliaut? (which we started to call a blablahblu because we were never sure of how to pronounce it..) It is earlier than the fair timeframe, but she liked the look of them (Possibly watching too much Brother Cadfael at a young age.) Buuuut large flappy sleeves can get in the way and being able to get dressed by yourself is a good thing.
  • Go for an Elizabethan kirtle anyways cause I can make those in my sleep? Fashion forward!

We pinned a lot of photos, used historical doll makers to share ideas and when she came down in 2014 for my wedding I got her measurements, drafted a block, and fitted a mock-up.

The best-laid plans…