Just call me Alison…

So, I need a basic c15th kirtle. I have many rather posh c15th gowns and have never needed a kirtle under any of them, due to wearing them exclusively on very very hot days. (I know, I’m very very naughty and an ostentatious tart who’s all fur coat and no knickers)

I have in a chest a kirtle I started making about ten years ago, its a lovely madder coloured wool. However, there were two minor problems with finishing it, firstly, I’ve lost a far bit of wieght and making it fit would mean pretty much making it all over again, and secondly the reason I never finished it was because whilst moving house I lost one of the sleeves(it’s all finished apart from the sleeves) I’ve never been able to match the wool and I don’t really want a sleeveless kirtle. (I’m very broad shouldered and get quite self concious about it, sleeveless things make it look worse)

Obviously I decided it was easier to start all over again, preferably by spending as little money as possible. Hence, the lining is made from linen left over from something else and the wool came from stash.

This particular wool came from ebay, I bid on it speculatively, figuring three 15metre rolls would turn out not to be proper wool – boy was I ever wrong! Three superb rolls of best quality melton (the kind of thing I would usually pay up to £25 per metre for) were mine for £50. I don’t suit blue, so I used that roll as gifts for friends and childrens costumes, the other was purple and I’m still using that for picklepatch designs cos its yummy, which left an untouched roll of red.

I decided to used that.

Even if people will inevitably say I look like the wife of Bath. I’m certainly in full possesion of a sufficiently dirty sense of humour.

First hurdle was the cut. I wanted one fitted enough to support my rather large bust. I did look at a tutorial online about how to fit a toile, but decided against it as it would obviously run into the same problem as I had with the tudor kirtle, i.e. that it probably work very well if you have an accomplised seamstress to do the fitting, but I only have gareth, who can, at a push, thread a needle. also, no way do I have the patience to sit still for a whole hour and a half. In the end I did what I usually do and guessed – I adapted the pattern from my tudor kirtle so that it would fit tight under the bust (as that’s where you get most of the support from in a well fitted bra) and allowed room to adjust the shoulder seam upon completion.

I cut the lining fabric first, tacked it and did an approximate fitting before slicing into the expensive stuff. As you can see I’ve done four panels, with three triangular gores (I didn’t put one in the front  as I tend to a fat belly, and what’s the point in making your own clothes if you just go ahead and emphasise your worst bits?)

I flat felled it throughout using linen thread. It should have been undyed linen but I’d run out and Debbie hadn’t turned up at the IMC for me to buy more, so I raided some red from my weaving store…

One of the reasons I could never bring myself to machine stitch a dress like this is how beautiful the finish is on a hand sewn seam like this. I love the way it looks and how it hangs – you just can’t replicate it on a sewing machine. I get as much satisfaction from good plain sewing well done as I do from embroidery.

 This is the outer before I sewed up the middle. Obviously it’s very important to make sure you always have adequate feline supervision when playing with scissors (Wtf is it with branston and scissors?)

I completely forgot to take any pictures of the eyelets down the front, sorry. They were pushed through with a bone pin and done in the same red linen I sewed it with, but because I was worried about the strain some would be under I concealed dress ring inside strategic eyelets.

Gladys (My dressmaker’s dummy is called Gladys) needs letting out a bit to fit the dress properly, although she never has a bosum to speak of – I shall get some proper pics of me in it later in the week. It supported beautifully when I tried it on. I do need a better lace though, that blue linen tape looks ghastly, doesn’t it?

I need to wear this at the weekend, so between now and Thursday I need to make an apron, a headress (Am leaving that til last as if I run out of time I can just do a simple white linen headwrap) and sleeves – so there should be an update later this week on those, hopefully with the dress better modelled.

There is one mroe thing I want to make for this, but it’s unlikely to be finished for a month of two due to the fact I’ll need to ahve it hallmarked. I’ve seen the ugliest possible c15th brooch, it’s seriously hideous and I wants it.

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~ by opusanglicanum on July 25, 2011.

6 Responses to “Just call me Alison…”

  1. Lovely!
    Good luck finishing the other items in time!

  2. It looks great – I must say, though, the Wife of Bath will take some living up to!

  3. Gap between teeth and five husbands? Go for it! Want to see the seriously hideous brooch, I have a thing about jewelry! Pre-fur-ably with appropriate feline supervision.

    • I have gaps either side of my two front teeth and am on bloke number 3 – its good to have a threat to keep them in line (esp when he comes out with lines like, “your cooking is the best thing thats ever happened to me” or “when you used to have cheekbones…”)

      the brooch will be october or november – I’m getting my hallmark sorted out now, then once my blowtorch gets fixed (hopefully next week) I have to make the thing, send it to be marked, then enamel it and assemble. Its a big (I mean BIG) enamel daisy with a gobstopper gemstone in the centre – looks like you’d find it in a christmas cracker designed for kitcsh toddlers

      there will be mant jewelery updates once the torch gets fixed tho, oh yes!

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