This gored kirtle has seven pieces: a center front, two side fronts, two side backs and two back pieces. It laces up the back, has a square neckline, and is sleeveless.
This kirtle should be cut with no curve at all to the front side seams. I fitted the pattern for mine while wearing a corset. When worn by itself with no corset, this does a marvellous job of flattening and supporting the bust, helping to achieve the look you want.
To make this kind of kirtle, you need to take the bodice pattern created in the Making an Elizabethan Bodice page, and make some alterations to it:
|First, take the bodice pattern you created. It should have two pieces, a front and back piece, and look similar to the picture to the left.|
|Draw a line underneath the armhole down the side of the front piece of the pattern. Draw a slanting line down the front, following the line of the front strap. When you cut along these lines, you should have four pattern pieces resembling those shown to the left.|
|Measure from your waist to your ankle. Draw lines from the bottom edge of each kirtle pattern piece to this length. You should end up with pattern pieces resembling those below:|
I recommend cutting out the above pieces out of a sturdy canvas or poplin, sewing them together, and trying on this muslin kirtle before making the real thing. Note any measurements that need changing on the muslin (such as adding an inch to the waist, shortening the straps, shortening the skirt, etc.) and make those measurements on the paper pattern. Then cut the kirtle out of your good fabric. The instructions above will give you a kirtle which fits closely, but for an exact fit you should do this muslin fitting.
To add more support, you can add a full lining to the kirtle or a partial lining (the bodice pieces down to the hip. Match the lining and outer kirtle together and sew around the neckline, armholes, and down the center back, leaving the tops of the shoulder straps unsewn. Clip the corners and curved seams, turn the kirtle right side out and sew the shoulder straps together by hand, and you have a finished kirtle.