This has been on my to-do list for a while now and I’ve finally gotten around to it. I would have loved to make one in green, but I’m on a budget and red is what I had on hand. Actually, nearly this entire outfit is made from materials I had already, which is not a terrible thing.
So lets start with my resources. First, if you want to do anything Burgundian you should check out this site. Seriously. The info compiled on it is fabulous and I got great ideas from it. For the cut and construction I used The Medieval Tailor’s Assistant. I’ve mentioned this book more than once. Its a great reference.
I think I’ve said this before, but I want to mention again that I’m self taught. I did not go to school for this. I did not take any classes on sewing. Much of what I’ve learned has been through trial and error. So if you’ve taken a class or two and you see something I’ve done that isn’t the typical way, please excuse me. There are probably plenty of things that I do the “hard way” because I’ve never learned the “proper” method.
So, with that in mind, I decided to try my hand at draping. I got out my dress form and made a kirtle bodice pattern with muslin:
After I got it to fit the way I wanted it I cut out my linen. A friend of mine gave me some medium weight pink linen a while back so I decided to use that for my kirtle. I don’t normally wear pink but I decided to make it a challenge to use almost exclusively what I already had instead of buying more fabric. So pink it is.
I was going to use metal eyelets but realized I had already used all of my small ones on other projects. Since I wasn’t in the mood to go to the store I decided to sew the eyelets by hand. This is truly the most bizarre form of laziness on my part.
I think I’ve taken step by step eyelet pictures before but I thought I would do it again in case you aren’t familiar with it.
I left a channel in between the eyelets and the edge of the panels so that I could add boning. I do this whenever I do lacing on a bodice to keep everything from bunching up. In this case I had reed caning left over from my 18th century stays so I used some pieces of that.
I always spiral lace my garments, unless they’re modern of course. I made the straps tie in the front so they could be adjusted. The pattern in the book does not have you do this but I wanted the option.
Then I pleated the skirt into the waist. The skirt is just two rectangular panels.
Once I had the skirt on I hemmed it to the desired length and that was that.
Next I draped the over gown bodice in muslin over the kirtle.
Once I had those pieces how I wanted them I took it apart and used the pieces to cut out my wool. The sleeves took me several tries. My advice on sleeves is that if you need more movement make your armhole smaller. In my own head this is counter intuitive but it does work. The more fabric you have, the more flexibility.
I made the front and back panels a little short because I planned on trimming the bottom with bands of black velveteen. Since the hem had a curve to it I had to cut the velveteen panels in two pieces instead of folding one in half.
After the trim was attached to the front with the machine I whip stitched the back side by hand so that there would be no machine stitching on the front.
I did something similar for the sleeve cuffs so that when you turn them back you can’t see any stitching.
I love those sleeves. If it gets cold I can turn the cuffs down to cover my hand. Or if I’m working with my hands I can fold the cuff back.
That’s the gown without the collar. I also hand stitched the inside of the collar down when I attached it. And I tacked the edge down so the material would lay flat against the lining.
I created a placket to pin to the kirtle in a gold damask.
Not too shabby, right?
And I couldn’t have done it without my assistant:
UPDATE Feb 2014:
I finally got around to wearing this gown recently at an event. I previously made a truncated hennin to wear with this gown that I wasn’t happy with. It was a little too heavy and awkward to reasonably wear. So I improvised and made another on short notice. Its (again) not the “right way” to make a hat. You really want to use buckram and millinery wire to do it right. But what I did worked in a pinch. I used thin cardboard and craft glue.
I tacked the loop directly to the hennin. I’ve read that in actuality the loop was attached to a band or a hood underneath but I probably won’t wear one so I just put it there for looks. I based what I did with the veil on this painting.
This is such a fun style to wear. And its comfortable! Next time I want to make the skirts fuller. And maybe make a hat the correct way.