Cabbage kirtle.

Named after cabbage as in waste fabric. Although whenever I hear the word “cabbages” I always think of my granda, when I was little he would come home from work, pick me up and rub my face against his stubble whilst chanting “cabbages, cabbages, cabbages” THis ritual was never adequately explained to my inquiring mind, it remains a mystery to this day.

I want a warmer tudor kirtle than my linen one, so I decided to convert an existing frock. When I moved house, seven or eight years ago, I brought along an almost finished Greenland dress, made with lots of nice gores in the skirt.

BUt you know how you always loose something when you move house and you never ever find that thing again? I lost part of that dress. I was a bit miffed, as the fabric hadn’t been cheap, but I’ve ever managed to match it again and it’s sat in my big workbox for years.

So I decided it was going to become a simple tudor kirtle. OBviously, turning a flared Greenland dress into a square tudor one was going to take some serious piecing.

cabbage panel

The thread colours are a bit whacky to boot. Some of the seams are original – I saw no point in unpicking them unless I had too – and are done in rust silk, others were done in a motley assortment of pink and green linen threads because I’d run out of the unbleached sewing linen.

cababge detail

I eventually managed to assemble sufficient square bits for a skirt.

I like handsewing long seams, but I always put my ability to embroider first. The linen canvas for the bodice is too stiff for me to sew without hurting my fingers, so I conceded authenticity at this point and did the two layers of canvas on the machine.

cabbage selfie

Gareth laughed at me for taking a selfie, which is a bit rich considering that when we were only net dating he asked for a picture of me in a period corset and got one! (why yes, I am a total slapper, and your point is…?)

One of the things I like about dress rings is that you can make a bodice and check the fit before putting the outer fabric on, and this seemed to hold everything in place quite well. No mean feat since I’m a D cup. I ended up marking the neckline etc with a sharpie since tailors chalk wasn’t working in any colour.

It’s still quite hard to judge the correct length for the bodice though, and as you can see below I made mine a little too long. I find it hard to judge just how much the wieght of the skirt will pull down on it. I’ve since unpicked the skirt and shortened the bodice for a better fit, but Gareth isn’t here right now and I have proved spectacularly unsucessful at taking a selfie of my own bottom.

cabbage front

cababge back

forgive the black blouse – couldn’t be bothered changing into a shift so I threw it on over my everyday clothes just to try it

~ by opusanglicanum on May 6, 2014.

8 Responses to “Cabbage kirtle.”

  1. I can just imagine it would have taken some serious unpicking – but looking good now!

    • trust me, Unpicking was easier than piecing it back together, cos I not only had to make a sheet that laid flat which incorporated several curved edges, but it all had to be on a straight grain with itself. there was much thinking in the piecing, whereas the unpicking was relaxingly brainless and destrutive

  2. Looks lovely. I am intrigued by the dress rings comment. What are dress rings?

    • dress rings are little iron rings that you sew along the edge of an opening, and then you lace through them, used instead of eyelets. I dont think they’re really any easier to sew, because you do need to sew them down quite firmly, but they have the advantage that if you do pull one out they’re much easier to replace than repairing a sewn eyelet, and as I said it means you can fit a bodice lining ebfore you’;ve added the fashion fabric. they’re based on finds, I get mine from six of one, who are on the net

  3. Being spectacularly unqualified to comment on period clothing, I will say I’ve always had a fondness for the phrase (whatever the French is for ‘my’) petit choux. Sounds so sexy. If I spelt it correctly, it translates to “my little cabbage”. Perhaps that’s where your Grandfather got it from?

  4. Interesting, I never knew ‘cabbage’ also referred to waste fabric. Although would ‘cabbage cabbage cabbage cabbage cabbage’ constitue 5-a-day?

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