Wedding Garb, Kirtle bodice
So my current project is making a Henrician lady’s outfit based on The Tudor Tailor. This is a picture of our overall plan
As my wedding dress it actually marks a nice transition point for my SCA persona. When I was single
my persona was lady in waiting to the Countess of Worcester (as an explanation for why I didn’t
have male relatives with me wherever I went and was still unmarried in my late 20s) so this outfit
(far richer than either my father or my husband could afford) is her farewell/wedding gift to me.
This is why I have far more brocade than my groom where he has to make do with taffeta (a much
cheaper silk both in period and today). I’m also reflecting real life that I’m unlikely to ever make
another outfit this fancy again.
I’m starting this dress diary partway through the construction process as I think it may work as a
way to motivate myself to get things done. Right now I am up to a partly boned mockup of the kirtle
bodice. I’m starting this diary part way through this process as a way to keep me accountable and
make sure I keep working on this.
Today’s dilemma, how large do you make the ‘cups’ on a Henrician kirtle. The boning is laid out in
a way that leaves an area over the breasts unboned based on the corset in Patterns of Fashion as
worn by Dorothea Sabine von Neuberg
The problem lies in the fact that the pattern in the book is designed for several sizes smaller than
me and I’ve had to grade it up, so I’m not sure where the boning is supposed to sit. Is it supposed to
sit below the breast in the same spot as the underwire on a bra or should it cover the bottom of the
breast so you have more of a smooth line?
As the Tudor Tailor facebook page didn’t provide a definite answer. My solution was to try it both
ways. I tried on the unboned mockup over my bra and marked where the underwire sits, on one side
I cut the bones to that length on the other I cut the bones 1 inch longer so they come up slightly over
When I tried it on I found a more serious problem. It’s too big by about 3 inches I’m really not sure
how this is my second mockup and the other one fit well except for the length so I’m not sure if I lost
weight or I forgot to transfer the adjustments to the new pattern. In contrast to my usual situation
I’m actually hoping that it’s not because I’ve lost weight as I want this outfit to be wearable in August
2013 and I won’t have time available to do the adjustments closer to the date.
With the bodice loose like that I think the full cups work better but I need to check it when the
bodice has been adjusted to the right size.