This year I wanted a different skirt, specifically one made from the oodles of blue herringbone something-or-other wool-like fabric I've had since I started playing at faires many years ago. The weight of this fabric, in the volume needed for the skirt, is considerable, so it needed some sort of bodice or suspension structure to hold it up. Enter the kirtle.
Kirtles are great things. They're just so dang useful. A kirtle, in the 16th century, was a sleeveless under-dress, very basic, worn by all levels of society (in varying forms, of course). It's a great thing to have for renaissance faire, because you can make different things to go over it - in my case, a waistcoat/jacket, but how about a loose gown? an open-front fitted gown? a doublet? or even just a pair of tie-on sleeves? Versatile!
I made this one from The Tudor Tailor book. I chose the kind that laces closes at front, but has an overlapping flap that pins on the side to hide all that mess. There were no directions in the book for how to close this particular kirtle, but later on in the book, the Tudor noblewomen's kirtle closes this way, so I took the idea from there. The skirt is drop-front - I have no historical evidence for this, but it seemed to make a lot of sense, practical-wise, to close it this way - plus you get pocket slits, which are always handy.
Clearly it's not done, but will be in time for this weekend's festivities at Valhalla, South Lake Tahoe. I have yet to level the skirt, install the closures (and no, they're not going to be hand-sewn eyelets, I'm not a purist on hidden lacings, but it *will* be spiral laced), and finish the straps. I always leave the straps for last because I have a long waist and often need to drop them a bit, even if I've added to the waist on the pattern.
|Lacing closed under the front flap, once the eyelets are installed. There is plenty of gap there, for adjustability|
|The jacket over the kirtle - worn open, worn closed, either way.|