16th Century

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.

4 thoughts on “Hand Sewing a Red Wool Petticoat/Kirtle

  1. Hrmm I want to say there is a tunic recently(ish) uncovered from around 300ad in southern norway, on what might have been a Roman era trade road. I don’t know if it has been conserved yet.

    This site has a great list of historical stitches used, along with sources,

    The MET has a few Coptic tunics that may have some clues, you may need to write them for more information.

    For what thread was used I really have no idea on what has survived, or if we know for sure.

  2. So- Simple answer in NO unit guidelines, basically make it yourself or buy it online. So I have been all over the net looking at patterns and historical data. I have a bunch of 24oz wool, I was trying to find out if wool or linen thread would be better to use.

    I was going to use wool/flannel blend for the paenula because I’m in the NW and it rains a lot over here. So I am also trying to find raw wool source or a way to waterproof the cloack.

    I am a long time history buff, and and avid living historian. So I really wanted to make the tunica that was hand stitched and breaccae too. We are Legio IV Cohort II currently in Briton so the weather at least matches.

  3. Hi Dan,

    The Roman area is not my usual area of expertise, does the Unit you are looking into have any set guidelines? Also who will you be reenacting/portraying and what era of Rome does the Unit do? Granted if you are making breaccae, I am going to guess post Gaullic war?

    Lots of questions I know, but it is usually best to work within the guidelines of your unit.

    Off the top of my head 24oz wool sounds like it is too heavy for a tunica. I would use that for cloak. You will need to do some digging into archeological finds for what needles, if any textiles or threads remain, or if there is any mention in written records.

  4. I have been looking at joining a Roman unit for a few years now, and I am finally getting around to making my Tunica and Breaccae. I am using coat quality 24oz wool, but I have no idea what to use for thread to hand stitch them thing together.

    Can you help me with some period Iron Age sewing tips? What is good thread, wool, linen, hemp and what kind of needle should I use?

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