16th century Peasant

One of the challenges in the HSF I found the most interesting was the nr 5 Peasants and Pioneres back in Mars. Since I’m obviosly a “princess” when it comes to historical costuming, I found it verry educative to force myself down the heraldic scale to the common people.

I serced my books and the internet, and pretty soon found the pictures to use as my inspiration.


It is a painting of dancing towns-people in the 16th century England, from the book “The Tudor Tailor”. A book who also had some suiting patter for the costumes.


I decided on the pattern for the Kirtle (or underdress) with a front lacing and room for a smal bumroll. The fabric used where a red cotton twill.

The Kirtle went together pretty easy and I boned the bodice with some cable-ties, and handsewed all the lacing holes with brown button-hole thread. I pleated the skirt to the bodice and left an open slit in the front for size adjustments.

2013-03-03 18.37.38Pay no attention to the white sick-sack thread – For some reason I started to gather the skirt. But then I came to my sences and pleated it, as is the proper 16 th century way of doing this.

For the apron I used a brown cotton sheet from my stash and made the pattern as a rektangel gathered to a waistband.

I also needed to make some headwear, both out of decency and to cover my own short hairdo. I used the pattern for a Henrican coif in the same book. And made it out of some pieces of white cotton and some wire.


When finished, me and one of my sisters went to my favourite location to shoot some nice pictures. I’m wearing the kirtle, a bumroll, the coif and apron, and an embroided shirt from a previous challenge.

Some finished Pictures.











sidan-solPhoto: Elin Petersson

Just the facts:

Challenge nr 5: Peasent and Pioneer

What: Early 16th century handmaiden, – Kirtle, apron and coif.

Fabric: Kirtle – 3m of red cotton twill. Apron – 1m of brown cotton. Coif – 40 cm of white/ivory cotton.

Pattern: Kirtle – “The Tudor Tailor” Basic women´s clothing – kirtle and petticoats. Apron – none. Coife – “The Tudor Tailor” Hats and headwear – Henrician coif with plane brim.

Notion: Kirtle – brown buttonhole-thread for the handmade eyelets, plastic bonning in the front, and brown cord for the front clouser. Apron – Brown thread. Coif – White thread, thin steal wire(?) for the shaping.

Historical accurate: Pretty good (exept for the cotton fabrics, which should have been wool and linnen). Lots of handsewing and historical methodes where used. The Apron and Coif are totaly handmade, and so are all the visual seams on the Kirtle.

Hours: About 20 for everything (3 hours each on the apron and coif).

Total cost: About 35 USD.First worn: On this photoshoot. But I would love too wear it again on some event, or even whitout one…

Floral anglaise of satin trouble – construction part 2

When I first realised I needed to cut away the beautiful part of the back, i refused to listen to that part of my brain. But after tedius atempts to fix the back of the bodice and to pleat and re-pleat the skirt in the right way, I grabbed the sissors.

Two cuts and it was done, and I was relieved to find that the pleating of the skirt went so much easier.

I pleated the skirt to the bodice and left two pocket slits at the sides when I sewed the skirt together. Once again things seemed to run on wheels, so I decided to cut out the petticoat after all. The sewing and pleating went so fast and easy that I finished it in no time.

Then it was time for another try-on.

I got help from my sister Elin to put the sleeves in the right position and to check the lenght of the skirt and petticoat.

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This time the back looked pretty good – I just needed to rise the waist a little more (I will have to live with the remaning wrinkles).

We decided that the skirt needed to be lengthen in the back – this meant I would have to piece the hem with stripes of fabric to get some extra length. And this was when the problem started again…

Of course I was out of fabric – all I had left was some small pieces for decoration and trimming.

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The only way to fix the 8 centimeters too short skirt was to take some fabric from the petticoat. I already had a 50 cm “patch” in the back, due to lack of fabric. So this time I had to cut away two 10 cm pieces on the horisontal of the skirt, and then re-pleat the petticoat to the waistband.

Then it was time to deal with the sleaves. To get the right 18th century look, and to save myself some trouble with getting the sleeve-cap in the sewing machine, I decided to handstitch the sleeves in place. When that was done all I needed to do was to put the shoulder piece over the sleeve-cap and hand stitch them down.

The only thing left to finish the dress was to put some trimming on it.

This proved more difficult and time consuming then I had anticipated. I cut stripes of the few pieces of fabric I had left and sewed them together in to one 4 m stripe. Then I had to hem the stripes both sides by hand (all 8 m), and then go on to pleat and baste it all down. Then at last I could attach the trim to the gown.

Well here it is – the finished dress. After all the trouble and setbacks I still really like this dress and feel pretty comfortable wearing it. I may even have to invent a reason to wear it.

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