Yvonne’s Doublet and Kirtle

Yvonne approached me a while back looking for a costume that
was “easy to wear”, with the same sort of shoulder treatment I used
on my black doublet. Strict authenticity was
not her biggest concern, so we settled on a kirtle with a built in corset, and
a doublet. (Here’s a note for those of you who insist you don’t want to wear
a separate corset, and that building the corset into the bodice is “just
the same”…. It’s really not. If the boning ends right where the skirts
attach to the bodice, the line of the skirt at the waist is affected. (By “affected”,
I mean “destroyed”. Not that I have any opinions on the matter.) This
is because the excess of the abdomen that poodges out where the corset ends
pushes the skirts out and slightly up — it looks like you’re wearing some sort
of skirt support or bum roll too high under your dress. It’s not flattering.
I mean, it literally makes women look larger, instead of smaller, in the waist.
So if you *really* want to build the corset into the bodice, you’ll want the
boned lining of the bodice to extend at least a half inch lower than the outer
layer of the bodice does. (You’ll be hand tacking the outer layer of bodice
fabric to the corset lining, which is basically fine, or binding over the join
between the outer layer of the bodice and the skirts, and leaving it free from
the corset lining along the bottom, which I think works slightly better. The
slightly longer boned lining holds the body down below where the skirts join
in, and the line of the skirts at the waist looks nicer.)

She also wanted a small bumroll for the costume. Now, y’all
know I have a couple problems with bum rolls. Ignoring any issues of historical
accuracy (or the complete lack of evidence therefore in the 1570s), there’s
another wee little problem: Women almost universally put them on too high. And
it’s not just the women at Bristol: Jean Hunnisett remarks upon the problem
as well. “Never leave pads on tapes to be put on by the dresser or artiste
as the nearly always pull them too tight, making the pad ride too high on the
waist.” (Hunnisett, Period Costume for Stage and Screen, p.29) Fortunately
(or not, really),Yvonne and I are the same shade of blond when it comes to remembering
underthings for costumes, so the roll that supports the skirts is actually sewn
in to the bottom of the built in corset. Since the bodice opens to the back,
the roll is made in two pieces, which meet when the bodice is laced shut. Now,
she can’t forget the roll at home, and I don’t have to chase her around faire
and redress her. ;) (And yes, I have done that!)

The kirtle is relatively plain and made according to my kirtle
with fitted bodies
directions. Well, ok, we all know I can’t even follow
my own directions, but that’s the basic idea behind it. The doublet was made
from the bodice pattern from the kirtle, with obvious extensions in the shoulder
area. This was actually my first go at altering a pattern for a bodice directly
into a doublet pattern, and it worked out well — yvonne has nearly perfect
measurements for that trick. The doublet is made of linen, with panes of linen
over silk. (Lots of panes, actually.) The little yellow lines are cording couched
down onto the top layer of the panes. Since I hate the look of zigzag stitches
over cording, getting the cording down was more annoying than it really needed
to be.

I like it, though. I think it turned out rather elegant, and
I’ve been wanting to try a doublet with all that paning for a while. (Speaking
of things I’ve wanted to do for a while, I’ve only been meaning to put together
a page for this for the last, erm, 6 months.)

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