Crafting for the SCA – drafting Morgan Donner's kirtle

Before my trip to FoG (see that post here) I did a fair amount of crafting and sewing to prepare. Because we are traditional a lot of the things we own are handmade. I have to actually draft and sew all my gowns. Thankfully most of the patterns are straight forward because it took a lot of effort to make cloth so it was used wisely. Often a rectangle front back and both sides then triangle ish sleeves with gores under the arms to allow movement. Moving to the later 16th century and they became more fitted but this was still a simple style that had to last the owner may years through many body changes, pregnancy, gaining and losing weight. This meant that most were loose and then fitted with a belt or lacing of some kind to help it fit the wearer. There was usually an under dress or shift with a linen or wool over dress depending on the season. Hoods which covered the head and shoulders were more common than capes which were more of a blanket fastened with a broach. This meant it could also be used as a blanket. When traveling the less you had to carry the better so things were multi use.

I tried to make a small clasp purse from some scrap fabric which turned out really cute. And a front lacing gown (sometimes called a kirtle) which was a fail from start to finish! I followed Morgan Donners tutorial which was great. I made two mockups adjusting the templates as I went. Then cut into my precious linen. And the dress was about 2 sizes too big and the sleeves were too small...huh?

Many pinning and cutting sessions happened and what was left was a fitting dress with a much too wide neck. But hey, it was wearable.

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