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Kirtle (2nd Layer)

As Jane says, "One can never have too many petticoats."

Check out the Petticoat page for the first layer.

Brown Flocked Kirtle

This kirtle will differ from the red linen one in that the lacing will be back (I wanted to avoid back, but no way around it) The Red is already side laced and I don't want two lacing on top of each other.  The top layer will be front lacing.

Front will have boning just in the front and of cource the lacing in the back will have bones.  Looks like the TT ladies have bones on the side, so I'll add those as well.

It is the 2nd layer in a 3 layer gown.

                                    I'm redrafting the pattern to be a center back lacing bodice. I've decided not to line the skirt.  This fabric is heavy enough.  If I were using silk or brocade then I would line the whole thing.

Fabric is a cotton flocked upholstry material.  I think I got it at JoAnn's many years ago.

It has a large repeat and no flowers.

The weight is about a Denim.

  Here are the pattern pieces from the Tudor Tailor Ladies.
  Here are two pieces from Margo Anderson's Elizabethan.  I as you see overlaped the two pieces and give more seam allowance in the back. 
  This is the created new piece and I added the shoulder strap as well.
  Experiment, the Margo piece with the Elizabethan point..that will be going.
  Here are the two pieces I ended up with for the bodice.  You will notice they look like the same pieces as the tudor tailor ladies patterns. The back neckline is really the only difference. Since my Red Kirtle has this back neckline, I'm using the same one.
  Skirt is cut as two big rectangles.  Everything is just pinned

Don't know if I'll cartridge or pleat.    7_04_08

Happy 4th of July!


After looking at the skirt and doing a trial run of putting it on, I decided to make the front skirt panel triangular not a rectangle.  Too much fabric in the front for a thick material.

If I had a 25" waist, I'd consider it, but since I don't this shape will look better on me.

I marked the top in chak all along the top.  This way I can tell which way the nap is going on the scraps.  I measured my 1/2 waist measurment and added 1" for seam allowance.  Centered the measurment and marked the top point.  Marked across the uneven edge 46" from the top (depth of skirt) and marked the points.  Drew a line from top to bottom and cut along that line. 

The cut is on the bias, so now I have to let the fabric hang for at least a day.

  I'll cut the back skirt in half to met the back opening of the bodice.  This back piece is a little longer than the front.
  tudor skirt pattern
    So I ended up with pattern pieces like this.  I'm going to round the top front to match the curve of the bodice.  It will not matter with the back.  7" left open to be able to get the kirtle on.
  Started to put the pieces of the skirt together.  Sewed up the back skirt seam and realized that I should have french seamed it (duh).  Finished the seam allowences while watching Dune.  Sewed up one side seam using french seams (yes, she can learn).  I'm leaving the other seam open.  I'm thinking it will be easier to attach it to the bodice if it's open.

Now, I have to bone the lining of the bodice.  Must plan my assembly process first.  I'm a little unsure what to do in which order.  Only the bodice is lined, the skirt is not.

The lining is two pieces : cotton twill & cotton duck.


A lovely discovery I made today.  After sewing up the back seam, I of course ironed it.  Set the iron to cotton and guess what....The pile melted...yes my's POLY! OMG I'm totally bummed, I was so sure it was cotton.  Now I know it's a blend.

Gag me with a spoon.....7-13-08

This second layer is the shaping layer.  The bodice is boned to give the uplifted but slightly curvy shap of the early tudor or Henrician Gown.  It is important that it be tight.  The back lacing will have a gap.  I may put a modesty panel in, just in case I wear this kirtle by itself.  (why not, really no one cares)  I'm making it so that the bones should not show too much through the front bodice.
  most of the sewing instructions on TT page 107 1. mark bones on the lining & sew.
    2. back lacing: sew side-back seams and shoulder seams & lining sew up the same way.
    3. insert bones
  don't know about this 4. sew a piping cord 2" and a cord and sew between the lining around the neckline (?)
  don't understand this one, must re-read 5.  pin decorative strip of fabric along neckline (?)
    6. Pin skirt on, the TT ladies say 10" I only used 7" for the opening. (make sure farthingale is on & red kirtle before hem)
    7. Sew skirt after pleat are pinned
  Now to check Margo Anderson's instructions ..........7_14_08  
  God bless Margo, she really explaines the whole process and doesn't assume you know a thing.

pg. 27, explaines that you use piped binding on garments that need to be constructed and not turned inside a boned bodice!

'tis the way to finish the edges and she wants the piping along all the edges.  I'll have to see how the turn-overs work.  I have a very heavy fabric and four layers may be way to thick for an edge.


God bless the TT ladies, esp Ninya, she is very helpful.


It sounds like you have it OK. There are a lot of layers around the
neckline it's true, but they are all graded and the finished result is
suprisingly smooth. When I have had concerns about the thickness of the neckline in the past, for example on a child's bodice or when any of the fashion fabrics are heavy, I piece the decorative strip into the top fabric of the bodice instead of laying it on top. This does mean that you have to make up the calico/canvas layers as a bodice, by sewing the side (or back if it is a side lacing bodice) and shoulder seams together first, then apply the piping to the neckline and finally sew up the side and shoulder seams of the fashion fabric layer and pin over the top.

This was the method that I used for the Tower of
London child's kirtle which can be seen here Princesselizabeth.html (link no longer works)

I have used the method described in TT many times and the end result is good. Bear in mind that the kirtle is performing the job of a corset and all those layers around the neckline are the only ones
there, the petticoat and gown are set back from those edges.

Hope that helps,


    So now I must make up a piping cord & I'll get some lightweight silk to use as a decorative border.
  OK don't need these instruction till I get to the outer gown.  
  So I messed with the skirt and how I was going to attach it to the bodice and I think I have a nice idea now.  Lots of extra in the back and two small tucks in the front.  12-04-09
  So, I got the front of the skirt sewn to the bodice today. Making pleats to sew at the back.
  Cartridge Pleats
  I need about 4.5" total to close the bodice so I'll be adding a modesty panel to the back.   12_14_09

Finished the petticoat today except the hem.

I set metal gromets for the lacing and cartridge pleated the skirt onto the bodice.

It fits and the straps are tight and do not slip off.

I need to make a long lacing cord since I have 12 holes per side.

  So the kirtle looked OK, but the back was too long.  Even though you won't see the back once the overdress is on, I just couldn't let it go. So back to the kirtle and pulled out all the cartridge pleats and re-did the whole thing again, this time bringing it all up by 1".  Now the back is not so long.
  Not much changed in the front. The back has a big change being shorter.  The last 4 lacing holes are not being used, my lace is too short. Everything will be pulled in better when I get a new lace.  Also, I'll sew the modesty panel in to cover the gaps.                   12-31-09  Happy New Year.

I got the modesty panel in and I added a gore of fabric to the back.

Things are almost done now.  The hem to finish still   1_06_10

  Got the hem done today, so it's wearable       5-11-10 It only took me 5 months, I still can't get over the fabric being poly...
  July 2012
October 2012

I took out 4" in the body.  The lady who is helping me with my new Tudor  says that the waistline of this kind of gown is higher than natural (can't change that on this one, info for future reference).  My skirt length sould be 43.5" long without shoes on.

There is a modesty panel to cover the gap and I need a hook and eye to aline the top edges.

Still a pretty good fit.  I am not wearing the farthingale.

  She also said that smocks should be tight across the chest and I've made all mine is a ton of ease in them.  

Also the straps have to be pulled to the edges much more.  The angle is not good but I have a waist!!


Progression of my weight loss from Jan 2012 - Jan 2013

jan 2013 kirtle