Being inspired by photos from the big Kentwell Tudor reenactment I realized that I was missing one important piece of kit - the partlet. The women of the 16th Century were quite keen to remain lily-white of skin, despite wearing the fashionably square necklines. In order to accomplish this, partlets were worn about as often as a dress. They can be worn either beneath your kirtle, or ontop of it, depending on what type of partlet, how it was made and with what materials.
Having copied a partlet from a friend I had a two piece pattern
, separate collar, which was just waiting for inspiration.
June 23, 2004
- Since I had a pattern available, and some good quality, black wool, I decided it was time to make up a warm partlet. The original plan was to make a black linen partlet, but then I thought that the black partlets in all images are Most Likely
wool and not linen, so digging through my slowly growing, but still small, stash I found my good wool and set to making myself a black wool partlet, lined with black linen.
Pattern at hand I cut out all the pieces and put them together by hand. It took me an hour or two, and at the end I have a lovely partlet, with eyelets ready for wear. I can wear this with the Tudor court gown or any other 16th century outfit. And if I want to, adding the collar part to this, which I originally omitted, is as simple as making it up separately and whipstitching it in place.
- Needing a partlet for warmer climes and indoor occasions I got my pattern out and cut out the linen in double layers. Looking at it I tried to work out how to add to it to make a small collar without using the second pattern piece. I had absolutely no idea how, so I used the second piece, eliminated half the height of the collar and cut that out. Silly mistake as it were, I cut the collar pattern out with the wrong side to the fold, so there is a seam in the centre back of it, but it is not really noticeable.
- Here we are then, my gathered partlet, with ruffle and whitework embroidered neckline. The partlet is made from a sheer white linen, gathered at the neck to an embroidered neckband. The embroidery is a simple scrolling leaf design
taken from period examples, done with satin stitch and outlined with stem stitch. The floss is ordinary DMC cotton floss, because that was what I had on hand, and is done through double layers of linen for stability
The ruff at the top is edged with a narrow lace and gathered to form a tight, low ruff. The same lace edges the front of the partlet. I twisted some embroidery floss for ties at the collar and pondered doing something for the bottom of the closure, but I'm not sure about that. I will be using it either closed or with the lower edge tucked to the sides, if it goes low enough. I think that may be the one flaw about my partlets thus far - they've not been too short, but they could all have stood to be a bit longer.