Notes on Construction

The gowns, with the exception of the Flemish overgown, are all built in a similar fashion. The bodices are underlined with Aida cloth that has rigilene boning sewn to it at center front and side front. This gives a fashionable flat 16th century line. Evidence exists that the bodices of lower-class gowns were often not this stiff, especially the kirtle layer of Flemish dress. Since I intended to wear these without the overgown some of the time, I decided to construct them in a sturdier manner. Bodices are lined with thin linen.

All eyelet holes are made by hand and the edge next to them reinforced with a single plastic bone. Some images from the period show a stiff edge and some a soft edge next to lacing holes. The eyelets are offset to allow for spiral lacing.

Skirts are two lengths of 60" wide fabric gathered or pleated to the bodice. I made plackets for the side-back openings in the brown gown but have decided they are more trouble than they're worth. On the green gown I simply turned back the edges of the side skirt openings and have been perfectly happy with it.

The overgown has no underlining and is simply two gowns of wool put together back to back to make it reversible. It has a single plastic bone down each edge of the lacing and large metal eyes to take the laces. The skirt is pleated onto the bodice.

Petticoats are two lengths of 60" wide fabric pleated onto a self waistband with a hook closure.

Flemish chemises follow the age-old T-tunic pattern with underarm gussets and side seam godets. The sleeves are relatively narrow.

Notes on the construction of the stockings can be found here.

Aprons are simply rectangles with finished edges pinned several inches in from the top corners to the sides of the gown.

Round caps are a circle gathered onto a straight head-sized band.

More detailed construction information for some garments can be found in The Well Dress-d Peasant: 16th Century Flemish Workingwoman's Dress by Drea Leed.