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double checking kirtle pattern before hand sewing!

Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:36 pm
by kate/bob
I've decided that I'm going to make my new kirtle (as opposed to overkirtle) by hand, so I want to make sure that my pattern and plan for stiches to use are right before i start!

We do WOTR and I'll be working while wearing it, not sitting around being posh.

The pattern's got a shaped front panel that flares out over the hips, a side panel which doesn't have much flare, and a back panel, which again flares out over the hips. It doesn't have any gores in the skirt. I've looked in the Tailor's Assistant and it seems ok. I've also looked in the MoL textiles and clothing book, which has a picture of a kirtle with gores, but it seems to be late 14th c.

I'm planning short sleeves so I can roll my shift sleeves up and get my hands dirty.

My plan for the seams is to do "seam-and-fell seam" stitch as in the Tailor's Assistant.

I've not looked at how to put it together yet, but know that there's a section in the MTA about how this differs when you do it by hand. I want to get the pattern right first before I worry about that bit!

I'd really apprecaite any thoughts, suggetsions, critisms anyone has. Much better now than after I've made it!!!!! :$

Re: double checking kirtle pattern before hand sewing!

Posted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:05 pm
by kate/bob
does the lack of replies mean that my pattern is perfect or too awful to even talk to me about?!

Re: double checking kirtle pattern before hand sewing!

Posted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:31 pm
by lidimy
Was witholding because there are people on here who know far more than me on the period, but a few questions I would ask before they find this thread: where exactly do the seams of the side panels lie? also are you side lacing it or front lacing? what shape neckline? will you be wearing anything over it? :)

Re: double checking kirtle pattern before hand sewing!

Posted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:53 pm
by kate/bob
Hi,

the side panel covers most of the underarm and the seam goes down the side of the bust at the front.

It'll be front laced (as I said, not posh) and will have an overkirtle over the top in all but the warmest weather. I'll probably tuck the front skirt into my belt. It's a round neck, not too low, it mirrors the neckline on my shifts and the overkirtle.

What do you think?

Re: double checking kirtle pattern before hand sewing!

Posted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:56 pm
by The sempster
Hi, sorry I get into this a bit late :-)
There is evidence for front laced kirtle with seams curving over the bust for ca. 1450, have a look: http://www.artbible.info/art/large/601.html. So your pattern should be ok.
I take it your pattern has a front, back and two side parts (left and right), or is it 6 panels?
Are you using a bought pattern, or is it fitted to your body block? If it is a bought pattern you might want to check the fit of the pattern by cutting it in a cheap material and machining the seams, if you want to make sure it looks good before putting all the effort in.
If you want more fullness at the bottom, you could always insert triangular gores into the seams. As you can see in the picture of the Virgin and child from the link above the upper part of the kirtle should be fitted tightly to the body, it supports the bust (and can give a nice lift to it as well :-) ) and the tight fit around the ribcage makes sure the dress does not ride up when you pull the skirt up. If you have the book, look at the section in Katrin Kania's Kleidung im Mittelalter (p.161ff.)
What material are you using? Seam-and-fell is a classic linen seam, but very work intensive (especially in case you haven't done it regularly). If you are using a material that frays rather easily you could also use a run-and-fell seam, just make sure you use a backstitch every couple of stitches instead of a running stitch to stop it from being pulled. If you are using a denser wool, you could use a an overlapping hemming stitch (Sarah Thursfield refers to it as Lapping a seam, MTA p. 45) It has been found on extant garments, where the overlap is only 0.5cm. This creates a flat seam, whereas run-and-fell or seam-and-fell get more bulky. If you are using linen, definitely use the seam-and-fell seam, it gives a nice flat and very sturdy seam especially if you flatten the oversewn seam down before hemming down the other side.
I'm still looking for evidence depicting short sleeves for English women's kirtles in the 2nd half of the 15th century. If you have one, I'd love to have the source, it would save me hours of more search! Most pictures I have seen so far show long sleeves that could possibly be rolled up (buttoned or laced sleeve). I know, there is the women in the blue kirtles in the month of June in the Tres Riches Heures, but it's Northern France, and 1st half of the 15th century.
Hope this helps, and I haven't bored you :-)
Best wishes, and let us know how you get on
Christine

Re: double checking kirtle pattern before hand sewing!

Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:58 pm
by kate/bob
Hi,

the pattern is three panels, but I've made with six when I've had narrow fabric. It's a copy of a friend's pattern that we fitted to me. I've made it a number of times.

I'm using a lovely dark madder orange linen, so that's good to know that I'm thinking of the right stitch. I'm used to hand sewing, I just haven't had time to hand sew any kit before. Usually I've needed it pretty quickly so I've machined sewed it and hand finished. This time I'm replacing a kirtle that's ok, but not as authentic as I'd like so I've got the luxury of time.

I've got a picture of a working woman with a short sleeved kirtle and her shift sleeves rolled up in my mind, but I can't for the life of me remember where I saw it. It might have been the Medieval Tailor's Assistant, but I cant' check as I'm at work.

Thanks for the post, much more interesting than copying comments from audit forms which is what I'm supposed to be doing!!!

Re: double checking kirtle pattern before hand sewing!

Posted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:14 pm
by The sempster
Hi,
I had a very disappointing day trying to get my new semi-industrial sewing machine set up, and it took out the mains, twice! So had to pack it all up again (weighs 17 kilos!) instead of getting started on the interesting things :-)
If you're used to hand sewing the kirtle should pose no problem :-) When you find the picture, could you please send me a link?
Cheers,
Christine

Re: double checking kirtle pattern before hand sewing!

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:50 pm
by kate/bob
I've managed to find a bit in MTA that says that there's some evidence for short sleeved kirtles, but I can't find the flaming picture that I'm sure I've seen.

I'm going to keep looking for evidence and (if I've got enough fabric) cut out the kirtle and leave cutting out the sleeves until later. I need to find something else to trawl through my books for and then I'm bound to find loads of pictures!!

Re: double checking kirtle pattern before hand sewing!

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:11 pm
by The sempster
I know, there is the picture of the woman carrying a jug in the Rogier van der Weyden "St Luke drawing the Virgin" that Sarah is referring to in the MTA, but again, that's flemish. I have the sneaking suspicion that there is no English painting... :-(
Well, most of the visual sources are northern French or Flemish, I will just have to live with it :-) Even if I find something that seems to be English, when you start digging you find that the painter trained in Bruges or some such thing.
If you find someone to go through all your books, can you send them over when they're done? There is nothing as annoying than knowing you have seen it somewhere, and then not being able to find it again! :-)

Re: double checking kirtle pattern before hand sewing!

Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:56 pm
by Colin Middleton
The sempster wrote:Even if I find something that seems to be English, when you start digging you find that the painter trained in Bruges or some such thing.


Why should where a painter TRAINED affect what they're painting? Surely they will paint the clothes that they see around them, or that they grew up with, not the ones that the remember from when they spent a few years abroad learning to paint. Or have I misunderstood your point? :?