The kirtle is coming along nicely. I decided to handsew the whole thing, so progress has been a bit slower, but not too bad. Everything is French seamed- the long seams are done with running stitches with a backstitch thrown in every 3-4 stitches, since they’re not under any strain when the outfit is worn, while the sleeves are fully backstitched for strength.
Here’s the kirtle front, with the side panels attached. I went for a heavier weight linen for the rest of the dress- I wanted something that breathed well, but was durable.
So far I’m happy with the linen choice, though my decision not to line the kirtle has presented some interesting challenges. I’ve never sewn eyelets through only one layer of fabric before, and this dress has about 60 on the kirtle body (40 eyelets up the back, 10 each on the armholes), with another 20 eyelets on the sleeves. I’ve had to take care when sewing to keep the eyelets correctly shaped and from turning into too oblong of a shape, as once you make the eyelet hole with the awl, it kinda wants to rip along the warp of the fabric with only the one layer of linen.
At this point, the only things left to do are finish sewing the sleeve and armhole eyelets, finish applying bias binding to the armholes and neckline, and hem the gown. If all goes well, it should be done this weekend. It’s definitely been a good learning project, and I’m happy with how it’s come out so far. Then- accessories time!