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Research and background

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.

The black wool partlet

Black wool, linen-lined, partlet 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.

The white linen partlet

The new linen partlet with modest collar Back of the linen partlet. July 2004 - 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.

The gathered whiteworked partlet

Gathered Partlet Gathered Partlet November 2006 - 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.

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