If all goes well we’ll
be attending a weekend event in a month, and as always, growing kids need new
clothes. B, now tree years old, can wear the blue kyrtle, though it’s a tad too
short for him. But evenings tend to get cold even in the summer, there is always a risk of rain, and our usual
camping place at this event is high up on a frequently windy spot, close to the
sea, so having the possibility to add an additional wool layer is vital. Kyrtles
are much more practical than cloaks for children at play, and as he’ll need a
larger one soon anyway, I made him one from green wool, left over from hubby’shose.
Quite long now, just clearing the ground.
That did not prevent any walking or playing though.
I made the kyrtle wide
and long enough for B to still be able to wear it in both two and three years’ time.
At the moment it just clears the floor, and the sleeves must be folded back
twice, but in a couple of years, the sleeves will fit nicely, and the kyrtle
will reach to about just below the knees, a good length for a boy that will be
wearing men’s clothes, and not those of small children, as he does now.
The whole kyrtle was made from this piece, about 150x75 cm, here seen on the fold.
The kyrtle is
constructed from to main pieces, with two side gores that reach to, and becomes
part of, the shaped armscye. A gore is also set in at centre front and back.
This construction is found in several extant kyrtles called “Nockert type 2”.
The sleeves are so
called S-sleeves, with a gusset set in at the seam at the back of the sleeve.
If need be, I can open up the bottom of the sleeves later and add buttoned
I needed to piece the
sleeves a bit to get a kyrtle from the material I had, but that is perfectly
period. It does mean that they took a bit more time to make than if made from
one piece, but what you gain in one end you pay for in another.
I lined the top portion
with a soft linen fabric, as I usually do on my young children’s kyrtils, to
prevent any itching or chafing that might happen if the shirt worn underneath
slips a bit. Not perfectly period, but it won’t show, and it’s a cheat I’m
willing to make, as it’s not my children’s hobby - they just tag along.
The kyrtil closes at
the neck with seven self-fabric buttons and buttonholes.
I sewed the
buttonholes one after another, with the thread lying loose between them, as
seen in extant examples. It is a very fast and practical way to sew buttonholes,
not having to fasten the thread after every one, or letting it travel between
the layers of cloth, though perhaps not the prettiest look…
All sewing is done by
hand with waxed linen thread, using stitches found in extant medieval clothing.
One of the gores, sewn into front and back.
The seam allowances and hems are rather narrow, ranging between 5-7 millimetres.
I submit this as a HSM
challenge, though it’s more than a week late - the whole family got ill, so time
and energy for sewing was a bit limited there for a while.
The Challenge: #5
Fabric: Melton wool.
Pattern: My own, based
on period kyrtles.
Year: Roughly late
Notions: Linen thread.
accurate is it? Decently – I don’t think it would stand out too much if sent
back in time. Though the cloth name Melton didn’t show up until 1823, the
quality existed during the Middle Ages - mine is machine woven though. The colour is OK for the period, but artificially dyed. The stitches are all period, as is the
Hours to complete:
Abut 15, including piecing the sleeves.
First worn: For the
Total cost: If bought
new, the material would cost about 150 SEK ($18; £11,8; €16), but everything
was in my stash.
And terminology.... I've used to call this type of garment a cote in English, but I rather like the word kyrtle, as it's closer to the Swedish kjortel. Is there a difference, or are they just different words to describe the same thing? I wonder...
Pritchard, F. & Stainland, K. (2001). Textiles and Clothing c.1150-c.1450.
Bury St Edmunds: Museum of London.
Nockert, M. (1985). Bockstenmannen, Och Hans
Dräkt. Halmstad och Varberg: Stiftelsen Hallands länsmuseer.
Østergård, E. (2004).
Woven Into the Earth. Denmark: Aarhus University Press.