Saturday, May 28, 2011

Decisions, decisions.....

So before cutting my fabric for the gown I have done some last min reasearch and decision making.

After close inspection of this gown   it apears to not have a waist seam. Which makes things easier for me since I am more familiar with no waist seam kirltes and cottes.

Also typical is not having a front center seam except where hidden lacings would go, so the front is cut from one piece. Many of these gowns also apear to have less volume in the front and more in the back with pleats held by a belt and often a train.
 I have included a few other pics of
other transition gowns (most of them I believe are from Seven star wheel's blog). Some gowns apear to have waist seams and some do not, others are hard to tell due to the belts. A few even seam to have princess seams, and side gore leading into the sleeves. Some thinner, others with boxier waists.....

So the pic to the left is what I have decided to go with for cut and construction of this gown.

The front will be one piece with the opening for the hidden lacing (I might end up using hooks and eyes because that is what I have available) which will be placed on a folded edge to cut.

I will have two back pieces, with three gores. the two large gores will be inserted very high, creating the volume needed for the pleats, along with a shorter gore inserted at the waist level.

There are two smaller side gores, and two elbow length sleeves. I will try to get as much of a train as possible in the back with the fabric I have.

So with my fingers crossed, I go to cut the clothe.......

Friday, May 27, 2011

Kirtle Is finished!!!

So this is the finished kirtle, well until I give it to her and adjust a few seams if need be. It is baggy on me in the pic, but again it is for my friend, and she is a bit bustier than me, plus it is eaiser to take a garment in then it is to let it out. The neck line does line up, I just realized it had folded over when the pic was taken, and my kid brother couldn't take a better pic. (grumble grumble I really really need a maniquine....) I did include a placket for behind the lacing if she needs it.

Now I need to create the partlet and the overdress before I leave Thursday..... well time is wasting......

Monday, May 23, 2011

Quick and easy kids tunic

So this tunic is something I made for my son in less than 30 min. I took one of his shirts that is baggy on him, folded it in half, and traced a somewhat bigger shirt onto one yard of prewashed red cotton fabric that was folded into quarters. The black line is the shirt and the blue line is aproxmently what I cut.

I then cut a key hole neck, sewed up the sides, hemed the sleeves, neck and the hem, and then zig zaged the raw seams inside and voila tunic finish and boy is wearing it already. Cost less than five dollars and took a half hour to do, and is big enough to fit for a couple of summers hopefully.

Kirtle update

So sorry about the late post, finals, baby chicks, children, and the garden were calling my name....

 I did get the wide trim sewn onto the hem, The cuffs are done also, and I have squared out the neck line and started on the laciing holes. Once I have the lacing holes done I will be triming the neckline, and finishing the inside seams (in this case zig-zaging over the raw edges) and I will be done with the kirtle.
Cuff folded back

Friday, May 13, 2011

Kirtle in progress

Horrible pic I know. So this is the kirtle so far...I really need to get a maniquine.... I have got the body of the kirtle sewn together, and the sleeves attached. The lacing strip is ready for lace holes. I do need to trim the neck line a inch lower and square it out. I do need to add the trim to the hem, sleeves, and neck yet also. 

Lucky for my my friend is very close in size to me. I did baste the front seam to judge how well it will fit. I will have to probly take in the side seams a bit under the bust for her, the wrinkles at the waist is due to the large seam allowance I left inside, and due to the kirtle riding up a bit, since my friend is smaller in the hips. If I hem this gown the way it is it will just skim the top of my friends feet, So I will lengthen it about 4 inches with a wide band of black trim.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Starting on the Kirtle

So I decided to not use the fabric I dyed for my freind, the dye turn out blotchy, and I was not happy with how much it shrunk. So I will use it to make a camp kirtle for myself. While I was at the fabric store today there was a cotton blend broadcloth on sale for less than 3$ per yard. I picked up a nice golden yellow to line the inside of the gown, along with some black for kirtle trim and a partlet. I also picked up 4 yards of a deep blue color (not quite navy).

I double checked my friend's measurements with her teen daughter (yes her daughter is in on the surprize, she is able to keep quite about it though.) And now I have the kirtle cut, and the lining, which will only be lining the upper part (mid thigh and up) and is from scrap cotton material.

This kirtle has a square neck line in the front and a back v common to a few transition gowns. It does not have a waist seam. Both the back and front have straite center seams, It is a seam my friend seems to prefer with all her underdress w/ bodices, and gives a more period appearance for this gown. It will be a front lacing gown, and I have folded the front seams under twice (covering raw edges) and pined it to form the lacing strip. There are 3 gores, one for each side, and one for the back. I choose to put no gore in the front because most of the images of these gowns have more fabric in the rear. There will be wide black trim at the hem and cuffs, and thiner trim around the neck.

I will not be finishing the seams, for a couple of reasons 1) Easier to adjust seams to fit better. 2) I don't have the time. for this reason I will also be using a machine to sew it. I would like to get the project completed by June 3rd, which is when the next event I am hoping to attend where we will both be at.

The back gore is long enough that I may extend the gore higher to help create pleats which is common in these gowns. This will also help make the kirtle easier to get into, but then a belt will be needed to keep the shape..... Not sure yet though. I am leaning to creating a waist seam and pleats in back on the gown though.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Trial and error... a change in plans.

So after I have dyed the white fabric several times, I have gotten a meduim shade of grey for the underdress. Plus it also shrunk a lot more than I was expecting. I will still use the grey for the underdress, but I am not dying it again. I have decided that instead of making a side laced dress, I will just make a front laced dress for her with a square neckline. I will be getting some black fabric (perferable wool if I can find it at the right price) to trim /extend the hem, and the sleeves with. That way the dress becomes more verstile also for her. I will be making a partlet like the one here on this page.  Other examples are here (number 3 at the top)

I might even make a hood to go with.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Is it period Garb???? Double Feature

So I have already discussed my husband's coat he is wearing, so this blog is about the gown I am wearing, and the outfit my son is wearing.

So to start with my gown it is a green velvet, and a woven material with small brown and gold medalions. it has hanging sleeves that are puffed and slashed to reveal the under sleeves. The matierals were both thrift store finds, and I did not have enough of eithier for a full gown. This gown I wont be discussing much because it is not period. It has a medieval flavor to it. The fabrics resemble period fabrics, the hanging sleeves were dipicteded in some mid 15th century french art. The torque and veil are period in the 12 or 13th century. (I have never seen patterned ones though in my reasearch) The silhouete of the dress is simular to many 14th and 15th century cottes. The contrasting front pannel is not period. In period the green would have been a seperate overdress which might reveal the kirtle underneath at the chest, the hanging sleeves, and the hem if lifted. But It is still a pretty dress, but more modern gothic than medieval... I have worn it to an SCA event, and might again in a pinch in the future.

So on to my son's outfit. It is hard to tell, but he is wearing a button up cotehardie (with fabric buttons). He has on a loose pair of hose (okay downright baggy, but with the way he is growing they will be too tight in a year), He is also wearing a hood with a lilipre (sp?) and a mantle. Both the mantle and hood have his "coat of arms" sewn on. Everything is parti colored. I did hand sew most of it (fabric slipped to much on the machine). My son picked out the colors and the fabric, which is crushed paine velvet. (Link has both a fire and water outfits in Ocarina of Time, and of course his "arms" is the golden triforce.) 

Sewing this took some time, after some trial and error with the machine I decided not to use it. All the seams are running stiches with a back stiche about every inch. I stretched the fabric as I went to make sure it wouldn't pull or pucker, and will stretch better when it gets tight on my son. This was the first time I made buttons from scratch, so took some time getting them even looking, but they worked wonderously, as long as the button holes were kept small.

The buttons held for the entire event (can't say the same for his foam sword), my son said it was warm and comfy, and he like being able to take off the hood and mantle if he was hot. The only thing I will do over/repair is adding a gusset to the crotch (he ripped it at the event, of course the one area I had sewn with machine, so it had no stretch.) Everything else amazingly stayed together for the event! Unstained even!!!

So is it period??? Well mostly. The glaringly obvious crushred paine velvet is not period by any strech of the imagination. The fit of everything is baggy for the growing child. (The good thing about the crushed paine is that is has a bit of strech to it so it will fit longer) The mantle is a bit short, and has a slight curve to the shorter front. (This is due to the trip factor) The triforce is not a period coat of arms.
 Most everything else is very period, the cut and style, sewing techiques, the hues, parti colored, The hood. The buttons are even made by stuffing a circle with scraps and sewing it closed. The button holes are hand sewn. Having a coat of arms sewn into your clothing was very popular in the 14th century.

This is something my son will wear many times, even if just around the house.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Being frugal with fabric

I love jewel tones, deep reds and purples, velvets, brocades, woven patterns, and having a noble persona well lets just say things can get expensive.
So being a broke college student with I family, I have to be very frugal with my fabrics. I am always looking for new material, specialy at thrift stores, discount sheets, and curtains. When I go into a fabric store I am there for hours, I look for all the bargins, I will get a simular looking fabric if it is on sale or clearance, my family often gives me fabric, I have gotten some fabric cheap from family of freinds who no longer are able to sew, and some from auctions at events, so now I have a small stash of fabric.

One of the best ways I have found to save money is by not wasting fabric when cutting. If I can make a nice looking kirtle out of  3 yards instead of 5 or 6, I save money. Even if it is on sale for $2.99yd. Often times when using found fabric (aka thrift store) it may be difficult to find large yardages of fabric that could pass for being midieval. So If I can find 3 yards of a wool looking material, Yeah! I can work with it if is wider (54'' min) Most often I find cottons and muslins at thrift stores, along with small amounts of fancier fabrics which could be used as trim for a gown, or a shirt for my husband, son, or kid brother. Same thing for trims, I don't often use bias tape, since it is expensive, and I prefer to hem my edges, I have used satin ribbon for trim, I have used thin stripes of fabric for trim, just folding the raw edges under before sewing.

So below is the cutting method I have found to be the least wastefull when making a kirtle or a coat. Click on it to bring up a larger image. Remember this only works if you (or the person you are making the dress for) is shorter. If one selvege can touch your chin, and the other drag 1'' on the floor it is long enough for a gown that skims the floor. I, being aproxmently a size 7 or 8 need a minimum of 3 yards for a slim kirtle such as here, which is fine for camp/working garb, but I prefer 4 yards for my nicer garb such as this one.

1) Take all your measurements, write them down, and draft them on newpaper, newsprint, ugly or scrap fabric or even the lining fabric etc... remember seam allowances, and lacings!!! I use 1''  you really only need one front, one back and one sleeve, unless using it as a lining.
2) Lay fabric on a flat surface, folding the fabric over itself by about 2 thirds.
3) Lay down your sleeve pattern on the single layer of fabric not folded over, so that it takes the least amount of width (which for me is shown above)
4) Cut off the rectangle where your sleeves will be. Make sure this is as straite as possible, and close to your sleeve pattern (you did remember seam allowances on you pattern right?) fold this in half and cut 2 of your sleeve pattern. Save your scraps!!!! You may need them for gussets, or repairs.
5) Repostion your fabric so that the two non-selvage edges meet. Postion your front and back patterns so that they are touching on the bottoms, but have space in between on the top of gores.
6) Cut out your front and back peices first, then your gores. Then you should be ready for fittings.

Note that for 4 yards layout, I have 2 gores in the center, on one the folded edge, and one that will have a middle seam on the opposite edge, my gores may not all be the same width, but I do keep them aproxmently the same height. The two gores that are the same size I use as side gores, and the one with the seam I use as a back gore. But that is just my preferance. Also that the bottoms of the front and back pieces will flare out more with 4 yards and less with 3 yards. The circumferance of the hem of the four yard skirt is almost 1 1/2 times large than the 3 yard skirt.

Is it period Garb???? Green Kirtle

This was my most recent kirtle I created. This kirtle probly fits me the best od the ones I currently have. My husband help to sew up the back on me so I could get the front and side seams. The material was a mid weight silky fabric (rayon blend ~ I cannot afford real silk). This kirtle is backlaced, it is not lined, but will be. I made this kirtle in a day's time, day before the event I wore it to. obviously it is machine sewn. There is a wide scoop neck in both the front and the back, the hem is aproxmently 3 inches on the floor.

I used the curved front seam method (see the link in a earlier kirtle post) The cutting method I used  is below (I had 4 yards for this kirtle, I will explain more in a later post)
 After I had cut out my basic pattern according to my measurements plus 2", I pinned the right sides together along the seams and put it on inside out. Then I had my husband literaly sew up the back seam to fit my curves along the back. Then I was able to adjust the rest of the seams as needed to get the fit I needed. I maked all the seams, and then cut the basting (sewing) along the back.

I cut of the extra fabric along the marked seams, leaving a 1/2'' seam allowance, except where the back lacing was to be (which was 2") I then added a couple layers of scrap muslin to the back seams. I folded the green layer over twice (no raw egdes) leaving me with a 1/2" wide strip with several layers.

 I then stiched the rest of the seams, including adding the sleeves. I made some lace holes (unfinished) and and laced up the kirtle, then I tried it on, laced it up, to see where I needed to adjust my side and front seams. I took it off,  re-stitched what I needed, and repeat, and repeat several times until I was mostly happy with the fit. (the bodice still puckers to much, but a lining will help that)

Then I hemed the neck, wrists, and hem and I was ready to go....

Future construction
I will be lining this kirtle and finishing the inside seams (they are currently raw) I also will be hand sewing eyelets for the laceing, and I have some pretty trim I want to add to the neck and wrists. I may create a gaurd or embroder the bottom of the kirtle to match the trim. I plan to use this as my good kirtle under some of my court garb.

Notes, thoughts, observances
The sleeves are a bit tight. This picture was taken at the end of the event after the fabric had relaxed, so it shows more wrinkling in the bust, that was not there at the start. (my belt also is pulling on the gown causeing wrinkles below the bust) The back was a bit to low to wear the current smock or underdress I have, So I ended up wearing a white cotton spagetti tank, and leggings instead. (I'll have go get going on a new smock soon anyways) This dress also had a lot of static by the end of the day, having a lining and a proper underdress would help this. This dress breaths very well, did not keep me warm at all when wearing it. Diddo with the lining and proper undergarments.

What I will be fixing
Besides the future construction, I will be fixing the bodice more to get rid of the wrinkles, and take in the seams just a tad more. Will not be able to lace up all he way until I have worn it a bit (15 to 20 min), but then it will still fit right after the fabris relaxes. I might try to let out the seams in the sleeves about 1/4'' to help reduce the tightness.

What is period about it???
  Well this kirtle has a simular shape to many kirtles found throughout europe durring the middle ages. It has a simular color to the gown below also. It has been worn before being completely finished, Which I am told by one of the laurels I know is very period.
  What isn't period about it??? 
It is machine sewn, it uses a modern fabric, The fabric was much wider, so I didn't use period cutting techniques. The gown is very plain, Most midieval kirtles/gowns that would be made of silk (since this is the type of fabric represents silk) would also have some trim, bling or embroderiry to it.

Fabric for pre-tudor transition gown

So I dug thru my fabric stash, found these gems...
The color is a bit off, the purple fabric (synthetic, but will be an overgarment so not so bad) is a bit more on the red tone, the silk fabric is a very pale gold color, and so is the background of the patterned material, which is eithier cotton or linen, the pattern is printed instead of woven, but is very medeivaliod. I also found enough white cotton for the kirtle and lining, All I need is fabric dye, and time.

The following site has some great pics of side laced kirtles.....
I will be making a kirtle simular to the red one halfway down the page without a waist seam. I have found very few kirtles with v-necks though that were not front laced, the pic next to it has a front lace kirtle under another that has a v-neck. If I wasn't making this as a surprize, I would fit her for a front laced kirtle.... 

Musing over next project.....

So a very good friend of mine has an persona from 1485 Ireland. She recently gained a bit of weight and does not have much garb that fits, and nothing spectacular to go with her balefire award. (Plus her husband is thinking of fighting in crown tourney) So I am thinking of doing a pre-tudor transtion gown for her. I have four yards of a 60" woven purple matieral that would be great for a warm overdress (cotte) she is short like me, so it should be plenty for her modest irish persona, If I can use just over four for my houpes. See the green gowns below.

In the second pic, it would seem that the black v at the neck would be a kirtle, judging by the black at the sleeves, instead of a plaket or partalet. So I will make her a side laced kirtle, (back laced are difficult for her) without a waist seam, and a v neck. I just need to find 3 yards of black cotton or linen, plus lining material.

The dress it self has a front seam just past the natural waist, and is closed eithier by hooks and eyes or hidden lacing. There does not apear to be a waist seam, it has a square neck line. I will find some golden colored brocade or damask for trim around the hem and the neck line. Also I should find a couple yards of a soild silky light golden color for the sleeves. (Purple and gold are her device colors and her favorite)

Lucky for me her size is simular to mine, So I can make most of it by adjusting my measurements. I will have to wait to sew up the side seams on the overdress until I can surprize her with it.

Now just to find the time..........

Is it period Garb? Purple houppelande/burgundian

This is the last of the blogs I have copied from my profile at Although I may repost some other blogs there as well.

So this is my latest creation. It is a purple houppelande trimed and lined in "fur". The purple is a synthetic velvetine, and the fur is fake mink, which I am assuming is acrylic. This thing is very heavy, and very warm. This houpe does have a waist seam, like my perivious houpe (due to the amount of fabric I had to work with and lack of $$$ to purchase more), which is hidden by the belt. The font opens to a little lower than my natural waist. Much of the lining on the inside is both black and brown of the fake mink. The front of the gown trails on the floor about 4 inches, and the back is about 18in. If it was not for the angel sleeves this dress would be very simular in apearance to a Burdundian gown. The gown is hand sewn, except for the trim on the sleeves (which is actually a shorter "fur" of a simular pattern to the rest since I ran out of the other. I was told it looked like I shaved the fur, so as to make it easier to be kept clean) since the fabric was too heavy for my sewing machine to handle, it took me several months to complete.

The belt is a wide stiff woven material (synthetic) which is fastened with 2 metal D rings. The headdress is a stuffed rolled hat. The rolled part is some srap fabric, stuffed with batting from an old blanket. Then it was was covered in a white satin (rayon/cotton blend) then I glued a few "gems" onto the front and wrapped some spare ribbons around it. The hand crocheted snood was a gift which I lined with the same satin on the rolled had, which was threaded with a satin ribbon to tighten it. The veil is a semi-sheer poly/cotton blend, which at this moment has raw edges. The green underdress will be discussed in another blog post.

This dress was very time consuming, I had tried to use my machine on the garment, but after breaking 3 heavy duty needles on the first seam I gave it up and took out my hand needles. I wish It was possible for me to obtain more fabric to make a true rotated point circle houpe with full sleeves, but alas funds do not permit it. So I worked this out of 4 1/2 yards of the purple and 5 yards of the fur, of fabric I recieved for next to nothing. (In fact the head gear and belt cost more than the stack of fabrics I recieved) I am very happy with how this dress turned out, other than the lack of fabric.

The head gear took some work. At first I tried to just stuff the satin, but the stuffing was way to lumpy in the thin satin, so I ended up makeing a second tube a bit smaller than the satin with a few layeres of scrap cotton/poly blend fabric I had. The second problen I had was tring to get the satin to lay flat on the roll without puckering, so instead I just left it a bit wider and longer and purposly let it wrinkle. Because I was not entirely happy with the hat, everything is not sewn, just pined even the ribbons, so that I can redo it at a later point. The hair bag under the snood I did not have time to finish the seams or hem, so by the end of the event I had little threads peeping out of my snood. So I have to take the snood off and finish the seams.

If I could do it over I make sure I had enough fabric for all the trim, so I wont have to scramble a few days before an event to find matching trim. Also I would like more fabric, but I am proud of what I was able to do with what I had. Also I would take more time to completly finish my headgear.

Is it period? Well the fabrics are all synthetic, but they mimic period fabrics in texture and weight. My dress does not have the large amount of fabric and pleats above the belt and leading to the shoulders that the houpes always seem to have in period art, but many of the burdundian gowns seam to have tight fitting bodices as my dress has. The sleeves are pieced, The waist seam is not period for my persona in brittany, but there are images in which there is a waist seam, tight bodice, and large flowing sleeves, but it just may be a GFD. Edited to say I have found gown very simular to mine here #2 on the page has sleeves very simular to mine.... So I would say this gown is more of burgundian style than a houpe.
This dress is a melding of both styles. The suffed hat is period in style, although all sourses I have found were very smooth. They were often worn with cauls and were often angled up on the sides of the heads, being supported by wire frames containing the hair on the sides of the face. Which I tried to mimic with the snood lined with the satin. (crocheted snoods are not period eithier, although netting is.)

Is it period garb? Turk coat

 My husband wanted to take a trip to damascus in the 1190's  and not be tagged as a crusader. So this is a coat I made for him. The outside is a floral patterned cotton, the lining is a green/gold felt with a few pieces of a golden satin to cover what the felt would not. The trim is satin ribbon. There is cotton batting between the layers to make the coat warmer since it was made for fall events. The fabric belt and the pants are both of a yellow striped cotton. It is machine stitched.

He wanted a Selunjk (sp) turk outfit so I did some reasearch, and decided to try and make a Yalma for him. It didn't turn out exactly as planned, seeing as the overlap was not enough to reach all the way across his chest, and lack of fabric and time to fix it.  So it is more of a hibrid between a yalma and a kaftan.  But my husband was happy with it, and it kept him warm enough for the event.

If I could do it again I would have more fabric, to fully make it into a yalma. I would also add the gold bands on the arms. The pants also could use a bit more fabric.

Is it period? Mostly. The felt is synthetic, also wool was not very common as I understand it in the arab world durring that time period. Also it is not truly eithier a yalma or a kaftan. plus it is machine stitched.

Is It period Garb? "Link Tunic"

So this is my son's favorite garb. I orignaly made this as a halloween costume. It is based off of his favorite hero, Link's, dress in twilight princess. (Zelda game) It is a tunic with half sleeves, It does have shoulder caps, It has leather ties to close the front, and decorative ties on the sleeves. The fabric is felt (synthetic). The under shirt is also a simple tunic, made of a woven cotton in brown and gold in a small zig zag pattern.

So what is period about it? The cut of both tunics, the under shirt, leather ties. So what is not period about it? Synthetic felt, shoulder caps, decorative ties on the sleaves.

Is it period Gard? Cote #1

 First a note on terms I use. I consider a kirtle to be a dress that can be worn alone or under another dress, I consider a cote to be a dress that can't be worn alone (must have a kirtle underneath) short for surcote. An underdress or smock I consider to be underwear, worn underneath a kirtle, but not seen.  I consider a Gothic Fitted Dress (GFD) to be a garment that is fitted thru the upper body, flaring at the hips to form a wide skirt, and can be either a kirtle or an overdress. Much of the garb I wear would be considered a GFD, hence the use of kirtle and cote to distingish the type of garb (or layer) I am describing.  Here is a pdf that helps understand the layers and debate about the "cotehardie"

This is my first attempt at a fitted cote, or over dress. I am not sure the type of fabric it is made of, although I have heard it called changable taftita. I should of paid more attention to what type of fabric I was buying, But it was so beautiful. The fabric is blue/brown brocade and changes with the light, it is woven with silver. It is synthetic. The pattern is what I believe is large repeating pomagrante. The cote just touches the ground, had small round silver buttons only down the front (well half way down the front currently) the cote is fitted. The weird buldges around the waist is due to the girdle I was using as a belt underneath. ( This was a layer I was asked to don quickly so someone could see how it looked.) It is machince stitched, but the button holes are hand sewn.

I like how this garment turned out. I like the blue silver combo. I do have an issue with the top button poping out of the button hole, when I move certain ways, so there is to much strain on the fabric there. After working with natural fabrics that give, I forgot that snythetics don't. Also this was on of the garments I made before I got bustier. The buttons only go halfway down the front, and honestly It will stay that way. I dont have any more buttons that match, don't want to spend any more on them, and I sort of like it the way it is. I might use a hem stich to close it to the hem though.... project for the future.

If I could do it all over again I would make a wider curved neck line instead of a v neck. I would leave more room about the bust, and I might take the waist in a bit more.

What is period about this garb? The pattern woven into the fabric is period, even if the fabric is not. The buttons and hand sewn button holes are period, the cut and fit of the garment are period except the V neck.

What is not period about it? The synthetic fabric, the machine stitching, the v neck, the front seam is open all the way down and not buttoned all the way down.

Is it Period Garb? Houppelande #1

So this is my first attempt at a houpelande. It is made from a  a heavy linen or cotton woven fabric. It has red, yellow, and purple hues in a diaper pattern. It is made with a bodice peice with an attached skirt, with the seam  and a couple of  hooks and eyes to help hold the fabric together  hidden by the wide fabric belt just below the bust.  The hem hangs a couple of inches on the floor in front, and about 18 in in the back. It has small collar,  and wide bell sleeves. The whole of the garment is machine stitched.

 I had some problem with the collar, so it has a couple of extra peices.  After wearing this garment a few times I had to repair the seams, and to surge them. (again not knowing how badly woven materials fray without finished seams.) All in all I am happy about how this garment turned out. This garment is warm, but not overly warm.  Works well for a drafty indoor winter event, but not warm enough for a cold fall evening at a camping event.

If I could do it again, I would line the whole of the garment, finish the seams right away. I know more about making colars,  So the collar would be not pieced. I would also buy more fabric,  so I could do a rotated-point, Circle-plan Houppelande,( ) or at least not have a seam under the bodice  (that is if money wasn't a consideration). I also would probly at least trim the houpe with fur, if not line it with fur.

What is Period about it? It has a natural woven fabric, it has a simular apearance to many early houpes. It has a decent length and sleaves for a modest houpe.

What is not period about it? It is machine stitched, it does not have pleats leading to the shoulders which most houpes have in period art work. Most Houpes are also lined, trimed with fur, or both.

Is It Period Garb???? Fitted Kirtle 2

Another blog I am reposting from

This was my second attempt at a fitted kirtle. It is front laced with placket, and has lacing on the sleaves. It is a linen cotton mix fabric. It has no trim and has a modest neckline. It has hand done eyelets on the front bodice, and grommets on the sleaves. The front with the eyelets has been lined with several layers of cotton muslin to prevent puckering of the dress when laced. It has gussets under the arms, and has a curved front seam. (for comparison of curved vs straight seams)

kirtle   Detail of Shepard's dance, MS Lat.873.f21. French, late 15th century, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Source: A Medieval Book of Seasons.

 I use this as my working kirtle. It is easier to get on and off since it laces up the front, it is also a bit shorter than I would have liked it is about an inch off the ground, but I was working with limited fabric. I also ended up bustier soon after I made it so the lacing is further apart, defently not court garb. This kirtle is very comfy though. My husband likes it because it shows off my curves.

Things I had to fix: I ripped out the grommets that were in the bodice, lined it with several layers of muslin, pieced scrap purple fabric to cover the holes left by the grommets and hand did the eyelets. This stops eyelets from popping out, also smooths the fabric and prevents puckering of the fabric.

Is It period??? Well, cotton was not a common fabric, the kirtle is a bit short, the bodice gaps a bit much, and has extra lining on the bodice. It does however passes the 10 foot rule no problems once I replace the white lacing.

If I could do it all over again I would not use any grommets, line the whole top of the bodice,  add an inch or two to the bottom lenght, and not get bustier after it was made. It also shrunk when I washed it, so I will make sure I prewash the fabric at least twice in hot water. This is the kirtle I prefer to where, of the ones I have. This kirtle is very comfy. My husband likes it because it shows off my curves. (Purple is also my favorite color)  although it is becoming stained, so If I where it to court, I through on an over dress. I have plans to make another fitted kirlte or three like this one.

Is It Period Garb???? Fitted Kirtle 1

This blog along with several that will follow are actually reposts from my profile at

  In the blog series Is it period garb??? I am documenting my garb that I have made. I will be taking pictures of the garb, describing that material, and style, and also deciding what is period about it, what isn't and what I would do It I could do it all over again.
 So here it goes.....

This is my first "period" item I have made. It is a red fitted Linen Kirtle which is backlaced, with a placket. It has grommets to hold the lacing. It has gold scroll trim. This kirtle Is based off of 14th century fitted kirtles.

 Duc de Berri's Tres Riches Heures, c. 1410

This was also my first time working with linen, so it was a learning experiance. It is almost period. It does have princess seams in the bodice, and trim under the bodice which ist not period, nor is the placket or grommets I believe. It is also machine sewn with visable stiches. It is a heavywieght linen, the trim could pluasably be period. The fit is period, and the cut other than the princess seams is also period.

I have had to repair it a couple of times, due to the linen unraveling at the seams, and I had to add gussests under the arms, due to the taking in of the seams. The seams have now been surged, and do not unravel. I also had to add extra fabric ito line the back and redo the grommets, since they popped out after wearing it twice.

If I could do it over again I would make a bit more room in the top of the sleaves, get rid of the princess seams, I would also line the bodice area with a lightwieght linen or cotton to help take the stress off of the seams. I would also add gussests and surge the seams at the start. I would also hand sew holes for the lacing, instead of metal grommets that keep popping out.

All in all it it still decent garb. I still wear it, it is warm and comfy, and it passes the 10 foot rule.