Kirtle

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KinnieKat
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Kirtle

Postby KinnieKat » Wed Apr 04, 2007 10:47 am

Hi,

I am making a kirtle for War of the Roses and was wondering if it is ok to have small guards over the edges, e.g. over the hem at the bottom and neckline.

Thanks,

Kitty x



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Postby Tuppence » Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:00 am

I'm not aware of any evidence (or if I am it's gone in one eye /ear and straight out the other :D ), but I've used them on kirtles


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Postby sally » Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:31 pm

I may be wrong as I'm not by my books right now to check, but didnt one of the sleeves from the Museum of London textiles book have a silk ribbon folded over the edges and sewn down? Same effect I would imagine. I'll try to check that in due course unless anyone can remember one way or the other.



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Postby KinnieKat » Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:40 pm

Thanks very much for the replies. I'd be very interested to know if there is documented use, what I may do is finish off the seams normally and maybe tack a guard on.



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Postby Tuppence » Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:29 pm

sally wrote:I may be wrong as I'm not by my books right now to check, but didnt one of the sleeves from the Museum of London textiles book have a silk ribbon folded over the edges and sewn down? Same effect I would imagine. I'll try to check that in due course unless anyone can remember one way or the other.


come to think of it, something like that does ring a bell.


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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:57 am

Weren't there contrast guard strips in the C14th (along with elbow tippets and fitchets) and then they went out of fashion until the C15th collared V neck gown?

Kinniekat I would say it depended on time and status. You do see a same-fabric eased strip added to lengthen C15th kirtles - this often is read as a frill, but in fact if you look at teh period illustrations, the gathering is too minimal and the hem is too smooth for a frill. It is in fact the effect you get when you add a straight strip to a curved hem - the top edge is too wide to join onto the curve (cutting a curved addition requires a LOT more fabric) and so it not gathered but not straight stitched on.



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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:57 am

echo!
Last edited by Alice the Huswyf on Thu Apr 05, 2007 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Postby Tuppence » Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:55 pm

it does make logical sense to add them to hems too, as that's the part that gets worn most easily, and easier to replace a strip.

it's also possible that they were added after a hem getting worn away


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Postby vermont » Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:03 am

is this is what exactly is kirtle?as i know that the Kirtle is a lined, front-lacing bodice with steel boning and two-piece metal eyelet-reinforced lacing holes in the center front. The attached, unlined, gathered skirt is open down the front. The Kirtle is made of a cotton blend, in your choice of any solid color you can think of. Please specify fabric and eyelet color choices. The Kirtle is most often worn over a full-length chemise, which is sold separately



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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Sat Apr 07, 2007 8:45 pm

We are talking about english / northern european C14th, C15th and transitional early tudor kirtles. These are often underdresses, with gowns over them, often hitched up by the excess material being carried under the elbow, or belted and tucked up as with the later C15th gowns.

None have metal grommets. None have steel bones. None have divided skirts.

The C14th kirtle is cut from squares and the fullness and shape is from added gores and gussets cut from the remnants. There is no waist seam to separate the bodice and skirt. The skirt panels are cut in one. They are often four panel only. Neckline to pubic mound front lacing is used to close it by the lower status, back lacing from the nape to the coccyx by those who are dressed by servants. Sleeves are extra long, the length allowing for the tight sleeve to bend at the elbow until other tailoring techniques are developed later. THe sleeve tapers to and often past the the wrist and typically was buttoned closed from below the elbow to maintain the fit. The very rich would be sewn in each day . The fashionablle would extend the buttoned section up the arm. The necklines are round and modest, even when cut low and wide there are no puppies poking out.

The C15th kirtle is cut more from body blocks as we would recognise them. They are still cut in one piece with the skirt undivided from the bodice by a waist seam. Vertical princess line shaping is introduced by the later part of the century, but not with seams curving into the armholes as with modern princess line cutting: the shaping seams run vertically from hem to shoulder. Sleeves are set into shaped armholes and the old style of gusseted armpit lingers in the construction of the smock underneath- which very,very, VERY rarely has a gathered neck. Sleeves are not cut so tightly. but for working women, a short sleeve with a long separate lower sleeve which can be pinned on when not working is popular. Again the neckline is round, and the breasts do not bubble up and over, but are often clearly seen as separate, natural rounded breasts fitted into the bodice, rather than with a modern fitting designed to show them above the bodice by supporting from below (hence tehe modern development of the princess line cut under the side of the breast and running into the arm scye). The kirtle often has six panels, sometimes eight to allow for this fit. They can be front laced, back laced - or even side laced. Tight lacing is achieved by linen strip facings to the lacing run and closely spaced alternating lacing holes to take the strain. This is from the Thames river banks finds: and as a method, with hand worked eyelets, it really works, even with moderalty heavy breasts. Hand sewn eyelets are far, far stronger and more reliable than grommets. Grommets cannot take the pressure of lacing and eventually pop out of the fabric entirely.

The transitional early tudor gown is the first to divide the skirt and bodice pieces with a waist seam. The bodice block is cut with multiple pieces to get fit (up to six in the back alone), but with a flattening front section to the bodice. The skirt is often cut with only 4 panels and laced side fastenings. The english join the skirt to the bodice without gathers, The flemish join is with a small gathered section in the bodice centre back and front, but smoothly otherwise (although I might have the nationalities back to front). Sleeves are long and fitted. Sidelacing does not spoil the line.

Higher status gowns develop angel wing style sleeves, a high natural waist and centre front fastening, probably with hooks but the method of fastenings is hidden under a contrast decorative strip. The necklines for this period square off until the true square is reached. The skirt is still undivided. There may be bodice stiffening by this point, but int he early gowns this would be a stiff interlining and by fitting a flat front instead of a naturally shaped, contoured front. Still no heaving bosoms though.


HOWEVER you are perhaps describing something italian: separated bodices, gathered skirts and split overshirts could describe a high rennaissance dress - but the rennaissance started in Italy well, well before it hit northern europe, and fashions varied from state to state with very slow transition. What Italy was doing was remarkable becuase it was as relevant to what was going on elsewhere as the customs and couture of a martian colony in Scotland.

By not metal grommets - they just don't go the job and weren't around for a long, loooooong time .



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Postby seamsmistress » Sun Apr 08, 2007 2:03 pm

two-piece metal eyelet-reinforced lacing holes in the center front. The attached, unlined, gathered skirt is open down the front. The Kirtle is made of a cotton blend, in your choice of any solid color you can think of. Please specify fabric and eyelet color choices


I concur with everything Alice the Huswyf has taken great pains to write and explain - my lady, you have infinite patience.

As Alice points out, metal grommets - no way. Any eyelets would have been hand made, using linen thread for the lower orders and quite possibly silk thread matching the background cloth for the upper orders.

As to cloth - cotton blend, any colour you like? Nice try, but again, cotton not around for the possible style of gown/kirtle you are describing and colours are a whole subject, all on their own, depending upon date/social status and sumptuary clothing law.

It sounds like the garment Vermont wishes to draw our attention to is perhaps the sort of garb seen at renfair, where absolute authenticity may not be the key issue.



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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Sun Apr 08, 2007 8:49 pm

Renfair 'kirtles' are either high waisted and styled after the italian high rennaissance style with laced on and segmented sleeves to allow the camosa to puff through, tudorbethanesque styles with lace on sleeves or sleeveless with bracer style gauntlets to make the full chemse sleeves tight wristed int eh same fabric, or a C17th pirate wench stylee garment with much boning and no sleeves. All having divided front skirts.

All very attractive, and great fun - often well made, but essentially as often seen are a comfortable fancy dress with references back to period clothing. But not accurate reconstructions of period clothing. But then rennaissance fair and SCA is not re-enactment, but a separate and interesting world of it's own. Not compatible, not worse - just very different.

We really need some tudors to take the development on from here - however I suspect that what Vermont is referring to as a kirtle would be described as a gown by them.




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