Planning Stage: Medieval

I’ve had ideas for a late Medieval/Early Tudor gown percolating in my head for a few years now. It started with the Costume College theme several years ago with a focus on bringing literary characters to life. While this should have been right up my ally, I ended up a bit paralyzed with choice. One of the costumes I started to envision was a green gown inspired by the poem “Tam Lin” in which Janet “kilted her green kirtle.”

While the gown never did happen that year, I purchased some fabric and patterns to get started that have now been languishing in my stash.

So when the GBACG announced a fairy event for this year, I decided that this was my opportunity to make Janet’s gown a reality. (In the poem, Janet rescues Tam Lin from the Fairy Queen.)

At this point, my main inspiration is from the painting “Meeting at the Golden Gate” by Jean Hey (Master of Moulins). I want to stick with the kirtle style with a distinct seam at the waist. I love the short sleeved look with the different color long sleeves. In other paintings in which I’ve seen this or similar styles, the over skirt is often “kilted” up revealing a different colored lining as well as a contrasting underdress.

While Janet from the poem was most definitely upper class, my own budget must be more modest, so I’ll be sticking with linen and wool for the layers of my garment. I haven’t quite settled on what I’ll be using for the undergown and lining, but I’ve got a beautiful, vivid green wool to use for the outer gown.

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