Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Piecing it together.

Thus commenced the cutting out! We cut out the pieces in wool (1 front, 1 back, 2 back side panels and 2 front side panels). We folded the front pattern in half and placed it 1.5" from the fold of the fabric as the kirtle will be front laced and so will need some fabric turned to the inside of the bodice (to neaten it and add strength) - this will also create extra fabric in the skirt, so a false seam will be 'inserted'.

We decided to make the entire length of the kirtle (from shoulder) 1 metre 17" (Sorry, but I work in inches and metres. 17" would be about 40cm?) and flared the skirt out to 18" at the hem. When cutting out the side panels, we had to make sure the angle of the skirt part were roughly the same on both sides.

When we had done this, we cut out the front and front side bodice part (slightly shorter than the paper patterns) out in canvas, just to give it a bit of extra support, these were then pinned to the wool. All the seams were pinned together (1" seam allowance) and machine sewn together (I would have loved to have done it by hand, but time would not permit it, as there is a C15th event I want to go to in mid-october and I have lots of other sewing to do too!)
When all the seams were sewn I wanted to try it on. I cut down the centre front (it was cut on the fold, remember?), which measures about 17" in length. It fitted beautifully! I then proceeded to neaten all the seams by hand (apart from the one with canvas in) with a fell seam, and then ironed flat. I did the same with the false seam in the front.

The above picture shows the inside of the front of the kirtle -shows the opening, clipped curved seams and you can just about see the neatened seams at the bottom left/right.

After this, I cut out front bodice pieces (like the canvas) from some lining fabric (it's actually cotton that I've used, but I should have used linen, but I don't have any!) and I made sure it was slightly longer than the canvas so that it could be tucked underneath. I then sewed the pieces together like I had done with the kirtle and clipped curved seams.

I wanted to use the lining as a sort of facing for the front neckline, so you can JUST about see in the previous picture a couple of rows of stitching around the neckline. I sewed the extra row for extra added strength! I cut the canvas in the seam allowance right down, as it would be bulky, and clipped the curves. I then folded the lining back over and pressed with an iron (and with a damp cloth when pressing the wool side).

Once that was done, I pinned the lining to the bodice and sewed it by hand. Now, looking at the following picture, you'd probably think that my brain works in weird and mysterious ways. Well, you would be right, but there is logic to the weird looking lining.

The long bit to the left of the lining is to give the opening extra strength as the cavas doesn't reach that far. The pointy bit in the middle is where the canvas seam stops - it was slightly lower than the main canvas parts. Looks weird, but is in fact very neat and tidy! :)
Next I'll sort out the back neckline, then make sleeves and then add lacing rings (the cheats method of eyelets!) and then hem it. One final note, just to let you know, despite my parents being away and being left to run the house (kind of), I started this kirtle on monday 7th. It is now wednesday 9th and I've only 4 things left to do.


  1. Lacing rings aren't actually a cheat - they were clearly being used in the medieval period so are quite authentic.

    Nice kirtle and gown.

  2. I know, but for me it is - I usually do sewn eyelets! :)