For my birthday last year I was lucky enough to receive a generous Spotlight gift voucher from my dad, and not long after that Spotlight had a sale that included 50% wool fabrics. As I was in need of new medieval garb (as my pre-baby stuff is all a bit snug) to attend more events now that my son is getting a bit older and easier to take along. I realised a lot of my garb so far has been brown, not intentionally, it was just what I had found at op shops that could work for the era, and I am really more of a bright colour person. The range of wool at Spotlight is a bit dismal, so the brightest I could find was this lovely red wool melton. Unfortunately is is a blend 50% wool and 50% polyester, but I think it passes ok. To go with it, I also bought some black cotton velvet and a few meters of off white linen for a new chemise (which I still haven't finished). I bought the remaining 2.8 meters of the red melton, with the intention of making a Tudor kirtle, but it does seem to have turned out more Flemish than English due to the guards on the skirt. Good thing I am not too picky about that.
To begin, I prewashed the fabric, in case of shrinkage and colour run. I didn't notice any shrinkage, but there was definitely colour run, in fact, if I were to buy this fabric again, I might even wash it several times before sewing.
After my last garb attempt didn't work out as I had planned, I decided, to hell with period accurate patterns, and just used a princess seam bodice pattern that I had previously used for my brown kirtle. I was too lazy to go find the pattern in my super messy sewing room, so I just traced the pattern directly off my brown kirtle, adding a little extra width for recent weight gain, and then seam allowances. I cut the skirt portion out along the full 2.8 meters, long enough for a hem as well as a fold of fabric underneath the pleats to give them more body, then cut the bodice pieces from the remaining piece, as well as a lining from calico.
The dress went together fairly easily, and I didn't really take any progress photos at this point. The faux cartridge pleats were acheieved through very large, regular gathering stitches
At this point I realised I had actually made it too large to be able to lace it tight enough to support my bust. As I did not want to undo all the hand stitching on the black velvet trim, I simply unpicked the skirt at the side seams, carefully took it in about 1.5 inches on each side, then redistributed the gathers/pleats of the skirt and sewed it back to the bodice in those sections.
I had intended to sew a matching chemise in linen for this dress,, but have not managed that yet, however it looks pretty good with one of my existing chemises anyway. The dress was finished in time to wear to an event last September called Spring War. I even hand sewed a faux french hood to go with it, after purchasing some lovely beads from a stall at the event.
All in all, I am pretty happy with the result, and have already worn it to other events since (although not recently with the Covid-19 restrictions, obviously).