15th Century Working Woman's Overdress
The overdress is made of orange merino wool and lined with yellow linen.Underneath a red linnen kirtle and a white linen chemise are worn. On my head a black woollen open hood over a simple white linen triangle kerchief headdress.
L'Annonce aux bergers. Danse champêtre.Heures de Charles d'Angoulême, Folio 20V. French, late 15th century.
No commercial pattern used.
A slightly wider version of the 15th century kirtle. This dress started out as my "normal" kirtle, but turned out too wide and not giving me enough support in the breast area. Instead of trying to make it tighter, I choose to make an overdress sometimes called an overkirtle out of it. The only thing I did was sew up the front seam where the hidden lacing had been. The idea to make an overdress came from the book: A Medieval Tailor's Assistant written by Sarah Thursfield. She calls it a working woman's overkirtle. The working class ladies needed overdresses they could work in, wealthier ladies could wear fancier overdresses like houppelande over their "basic" kirtle.
(l) Here is the overkirtle worn only, directly over the chemise. Without the support of the red kirtle, the difference is clearly visible.Costume made in 2007.