I’ve been meaning to post this for a while. As you may have already noticed, I am a big fan of the 16th Century kirtle, that wonderful garment that features a boned bodice and which can be worn as underwear or outerwear.
The picture on the left shows that kirtle worn as outerwear. The sleeves are removable or you can just wear them hanging. If I wanted to wear this garment as underwear, I would wear an overdress on top of it.
I have also worn it with a green sleeveless doublet, which totally changes the look of the ensemble. Alas, too late did I realize that I don’t have a picture of me wearing it with the doublet. Suffice to say that it looks very similar to the lady on the right hand corner of the illustration of the Civitatis Orbis Terrarum, depicting people from Arras, France, below.
I will, at one point, take a picture of me with the kirtle and the wool doublet and post it here. Maybe showing it side by side with the Arras picture. How about that?
But topping your kirtle with a doublet is not the only way to wear this garment. You can also ditch the doublet and wear it with a coat.
In this case, I chose a short-sleeved coat: The Tudor Tailor’s English fitted gown pattern.
I must say that I loved that pattern. It is flattering, easy to construct, and incredibly practical. The fact that it takes less fabric than other, bulkier coats, is also a plus. I basically used the leftover fabric that I had from the construction of a compass cloak that I had made for a friend’s Pelican ceremony.
Then again, I usually order too much fabric for all my projects, but I am quite happy when I can get two garments for the price of one. Hooray for leftovers!
Oh, and did I mention that I lined it with assorted leftover linen from other projects? Only the visible parts of the lining are black linen and match the outer wool. If you look inside, it looks like the coat of many colors. Surprise! A fine and venerable period practice. No scrap left behind!
At any rate, another interesting feature of this type of coat is that you can either outfit it with pockets, or simply put slits instead. Why slits? Because you can carry a pouch underneath your coat and you simply reach it through the slit.
In this case, I decided to go for the slit. Why? Because I found it intriguing, and I thought it would be cool to simply pull my pouch from underneath as opposed to having a pocket.
Is it a better option? Well, that depends on what you want to do. Both options are great. I just thought that this one was a bit more unusual.
So I am including the three pictures below, showing what you can do with this:
I am hoping that this illustrates the versatility of this garment, and why I am addicted to boned kirtles.
Last but not least, you can always plop a hat on your head, leave the sleeves hanging, and go for a cup of coffee with your friends at your favorite establishment, as you can see in the picture below.
See how different it looks?
And this is why I am in love with the 16th Century boned kirtle.
Mix and match baby! Mix and match!
I hope that this has inspired you to make your own boned kirtle! What are you waiting for? Join the club!