A COMFORTABLE KIRTLE: Creating a Supportive 16th century Underdress

Friday Afternoon February 24th - Sunday, February 26th, 2023

Before the advent of separate pairs of stays or corsets women wore supportive underdresses, often called kirtles, to give shape and form to their gowns. The kirtle bodices (upper bodies) were worn by women of all classes and created support through the use of layers of buckram and canvas rather than boning, which did not become common until the end of the 16th c. in elite fashion. Kirtles could lace up the front, sides, or back depending on the garment with which they were worn.

Join Samantha Bullat for this 2 1⁄2 day workshop where we will:

  • Discuss and analyze the evolution of kirtles: who wore them, how were they worn, and who made them? This discussion will include factors such as socio-economic status, geography, etc.
  • Learn how to draft the basic kirtle shapes and choose different types of inner layers for body type and social demographic.
  • Work in pairs to measure, alter and fit a kirtle bodice shape.

Students will leave the workshop with a mostly completed kirtle bodice and the understanding of how to finish the bodice, then assemble and attach skirts.

Your kirtle will be fitted over an undergarment. A 16th c smock is highly preferred but a later shift or chemise is acceptable for the purposes of this course.

This is an Intermediate Level 2 Workshop
*Please read Level Requirements before registering

Cost of this 2 1/2-day workshop is $295
which includes muslin for cutting kirtle bodice shapes.
All of our in person workshop experiences take place 2.5 miles from downtown Williamsburg, Virginia. Workshops begin at 12:30 pm on Friday afternoon and conclude at 3:30 pm on the Sunday.

Class size is limited to 12 Participants