Teal Wool Kirtle

Sometimes projects go together easily, other times they fight you every step of the way. I got this yellow blue reads as teal herringbone wool last year with the intent to make a kirtle. With it I had ordered some black wool for a fitted gown. However fabric.com ran out of black wool and I put the project on hold, not wanting to start without all the fabrics I needed. The teal wool sat on the time out shelf for a few months as I started to question if it would work well as a kirtle, or would it read like a modern-day wool suit.

One night I took it down and decided I was going to cut the fabric, the kirtles I’ve made so far as plain and I wanted something with texture and personality.

I traced out, cut and sewed the skirt in an hour and a half. The skirt half is unlined and I possibly over engineered it by using french seams on such a bulky material. But it gives the skirt a bit more body and structure. With the skirt done I started on the bodice, it has two layers of cotton drill machine zig-zagged to muslin, which in turn was flat lined to the wool. I turned the edges of the bodice down and herringbone stitched them to the interlining. The bodice lining is a linen cotton blend that I put in by hand with the whip stitch.


Teal Wool Kirtle Bodice

The kirtle closes with eyelets on each side, sewn with green silk thread. Sewing through the bulk of the wool proved a challenge and I would not grade myself on the neatness of the eyelets on this project. In the end I got them done and that was all that mattered. The back of the skirt is knife pleated using the fork method, it worked out rather well. I left the front side of the skirt over long and hemmed the top and side edges to form a mini placket. When the skirt was attached I let the hem drop, at the time my dress form was in use so I tried using my hem marker while wearing the kirtle. I tried it two different times with no luck to get an even hem. Finally I took all the padding off my dress form and marked it that way. By then I had already cut them hem once. The hem feels a little short to me, even if it is just about the right length for doing actual work. I finished it off with the overlocker to keep the wool from fraying and self bound the hem with scraps of material.

The sleeves are from a new sleeve block, in a fit of laziness I did not want to draft a new one so I wrapped my arm in tin foil, taped it in place and carefully slipped my arm out of it. a bit of tweaking and I had a pattern that fit the shape of my body’s armscye. The sleeves are just tacked in place with the whip stitch. There is a little bit of pulling on the bodice straps which I will rectify in the future.


*edit* Adding in here that I have no documentation/evidence for the use of herringbone wool in the 16th century be it England or otherwise. I based my use of the fabric off the Pisa “house gown” made of a patterned twill http://cockatricearts.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/extant-dresses-in-pisa-updates-on.html in that the herringbone wool gave a similar textured feel. Since I do not do living history I’m ok with this as my personal choice, but I would not use this in a kit until more information comes to light.


Teal Herringbone Wool KirtleTeal Herringbone Wool Kirtle











Teal Herringbone Wool Kirtle