Back when my husband and I first started in the SCA, we went through what every newcomer goes through: history confusion. 🙂 We started out with “early period” garb, and then I wanted something “later,” but I hadn’t done any research and was just going off the patterns I had on hand, altering things as I went to approximate the “idea” I held of what constituted “late period” garb.
For our second event (Yule Feast), I made a special dress:
As I narrowed down what I wanted for my persona, my garb got better. About six months in, I quit wearing the infamous “Yule Dress.” And it sat in my closet.
This last month I looked at the sheer number of historical costumes I have made over the last year and realized I should consider getting rid of some of them…
But, I’m cheap. Because fabric is expensive.
And then, in my Tudor research, I found something cool: the kirtle.
Ah hah! I thought. I knew what to do with that Yule Dress.
I honestly can’t quite believe it worked. I chopped off the Yule Dress just above the side gores for the skirt, and cut the bodice pieces out of the “tippets” (or “wings” as some people like to call them) and the remaining fabric in the back. Many kirtles were side-laced (which is what this one is), and had embroidered accents across the top edge of the bodice.
The cool part? The only thing I bought was the lacing. A total of $4.
I lined it with some freebie white taffeta that I had to keep the cotton from sticking to itself and give it some body, and I reinforced the bodice with some canvas that I also had picked up for free somewhere.
Even though cotton is a fairly dubious fabric for the time, I now at least have a proper looking dress for my era and station as a sail-maker’s wife! At least until the linen goes on sale, next. 🙂
Until then… I think I’ll wear it at Yule… 🙂