This tutorial is long due, I took most of the pictures two years ago so when I decided to redo the skirt on my 16th century German dress a couple of weeks ago I took the last pictures for the tutorial.
The I cut my linen lining, I use my shell fabric as pattern pieces in stead of the paper patter, it lays better on the pattern and you can just cut them the same size, no measuring seam allowances a second time.
Put the pieces right sides together and pin the shoulder and sides seams together, I have made a sewing line with a pen so that my stitches will be straight, these lines will never be seen so no need to use any special pens.
I press my seams flat with my iron and then I trim the seam allowances down to 1cm. You can start with smaller seam allowances from the start, but by cutting them at this stage you can mask if you have not sewn 100% straight. I think this make the seam allowances look cleaner especially if you have a fabric that is prone to fraying.
Then I cast the seam allowances down, I use a filler thread because it is pretty and it keep the edge from fraying. To be honest the use of filler threads like this is something that might not be 100% historically accurate, the use of filler threads have been found on the garments from Greenland, but the findings is from the necklines only. But I do this anyway, as I find it historically plausible and pretty, but I wanted to make clear that it might not be correct.
Then I cut out the fabric for my guards. The width is you choice, there are a lot of variation in the pictures, but they are all fairly wide. I have also added 1cm seam allowance on both sides.
I cut them longer then I really need, to have some fabric to work with.
I sew them together in the right order using running stitches and silk thread, the reason for not using back stitches is that these go faster and on this seam there will be no stress so the strength if the back stitch is not needed. It is important to use the seams wisely. You are hand sewing this thing so why waste time by using a stitch that is unnecessary, time that can be better used doing other nice things.
Now we take a break from the bodice and make lacing strips. They are made from the same linen as the lining, folded so that you fold the raw edges inside so that the whole strip have four layers of fabric. As you can see the lacing holes are for spiral lacing, that is the most common lacing type in the 16th century.
Then I make my lacing holes, the next pictures are taken from another project, as I forgot to take pictures. I start of by punching holes in the fabric with the smallest setting. I sew them with button hole stitch, as this is a period correct way to do both buttonholes and lacing holes. The knots on the buttonhole stitch makes the lacing holes and button holes more even and it protect the edge. Each stitch is a knot and that means that when the buttonhole or lacing hole gets a lot of wear so that it actually wears of threads the rest of the buttonhole will be intact. If you don’t have the knots the entire buttonhole might unravel.
Then I widen the holes using my bone tool, I know a lot of people use knitting needles for this work, I made this bone tool to polish the edges of punched holes in leather, but it is perfect for making lacing holes as well.
Put the tread on the left side of the loop, and then take the needle through the loop from behind. It is important that you put the tread on the left and come through from behind, this is what makes the knot on the thread.
Pull the tread, see in what direction I am pulling the tread, this makes the knot end up at the edge of the hole. You can pull it so that it comes more up on the edge or even more inside the hole depending on how you pull the thread. It is a matter of taste where you place the knot.
After some stitches I like to use my bone tool again, when you sew lacing holes it tends to shrink as you work. Doing this makes the hole bigger, you can get a lot more stitches in and the lacing hole itself gets stiff from all the stitches, no need to reinforce with metal rings at all.
Take the needle through the layers and then up again.This is so that the end of the tread will not be visible. And if you cut the tread of just where you secured it the knot will unravel, having a cm of thread left will keep the knot secure.
I sew the sleeve together using back stitches, and then I sew it into the bodice also using back stitches.
The sleeve head have added 3 cm of ease, the sleeve is 3 to big for the bodice arm holes. This is to make a pretty sleeve and those 3 cm is distributed at the top of the sleeve around the shoulder seam. It is not supposed to be a puffy sleeve, done correctly you will have no small pleats or ruffles in the seam. for wool 3 cm of ease is not that much is you sew in linen it will be harder to fit the sleeve.
Then I cast the edges of all the layers together, this is all the finishing I will do on this edge, binding it would make it to bulky, but this is enough to keep it nice and together.
Remove all the basting threads left on the bodice.
Now on to the skirt, unfortunately when I took the photos I decided not to show you how to attach the skirt as I wore it as a separate piece. But is is much more period correct to have the skirt and bodice sewn together so when I decided to renovate my 16th century German dress and attach the skirt I took photos of that. But that means that I have no photos of how to sew the skirt part together.
But it is very easy. My skirt is made up by three widths of fabric sewn together with running stitches and then the seams are felled. In one seam there is a opening so that you can get in and out of the dress.
I choose three widths of fabric to make it wide enough in relation to my body. I am big, and to make the hem look on me as it does on the women in the woodcuts, to make the pleats as deep ad they need to be I needed three widths of fabric. If you are smaller you will do fine with less and it personal preference. I already have a good trossfrau body, round hips, small waist and big breast but I you need more hips the extra fabric will help you out. I like to joke and say I was built to for 16th century German fashion ;)
I have two rows of guards on the skirt, the cut-out is inspired by a woodcut, some people have puffs of silk coming out of these slashes, I wanted mine to be simple. I have also sewn down the slashes onto the skirt in stead of only hemming them. After a few incidents of getting stuck on low objects and benches and ripping the slashes or at some times part of the whole guard of the dress I decided to make it more secure.
As you can see the cartridge pleats “stands open” inside the dress, this gives you the extra hip boost that will give you the correct 16th century hips, and for us that already have 16th century hips naturally; we get the superfrauhips! More hips is good, the German ladies all seems to have a lot of them.
And now, you are actually DONE! With the dress that is, the list of stuff you need now is long, this is why the 16th century German women never gets boring. It is easy to give one dress many looks by simply changing the chemise, the veil or the size of you wulsthaube. Throwing on another hat, getting a fancy new gollar. I have tutorial for most of the details to make a 16th century German outfit in my tutorial list
Here is the pattern.
It is in cm as always and made for me.
Remember to do a mock-up before cutting into the real fabric.