Indis (Part II)

Hello again! I took a solid month off from sewing after Costume College to recharge my batteries. I’m heading back to Providence soon for the new semester (which I’m actually excited about; bless graduate school) and figured I should plow through Indis to clear up some of the piles of fabric lying around.

(Indis, part I)

When I left off in May, I’d just finished the ‘kirtle’ part of the costume. (Click the link above for a refresher.) I wanted some pink in the color mix, as my previous design for this character was pink/gold/cream and I liked it a lot, but upon searching through my stash I realized I don’t really have much in the way of pinks. Pity. I landed upon purple instead – I had about two yards left of a beautiful purple fabric shot with gold.

Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 11.47.20 PM

I wanted a full petticoat, but also the possibility of using some of the purple to make sleeves or a partlet, so what to do? I rifled through my stash and came up with an old purple skirt that my mother had made me in high school – it was perfect to use as backing. So the front half of my petticoat is the proper fancy material, and the back is a matte purple that won’t be seen. Everything is just pleated down to the waistband, with a hook at back.

That done, I could move on to the hard part: what to put on top? Still bemoaning my lack of pinks, I settled on a partlet of the purple. I looked around for some patterns, and landed on Truly’s version. I had been looking for a non-gathered version, but hers is free so I gave it a try. (And only remembered I have a copy of The Tudor Tailor too late…)


I fit the given measurements, so it worked well. Please note, however, that on each piece the vertical total measurement is off by a full inch (one is not enough, one is too much). Not sure where the math went wrong, but I had to re-draft in the middle when I noticed!

I ended up flatlining my partlet with a black cotton; the purple fabric was a bit slippery, and I wanted to be able to sew hems and such without it showing on the outer layer. Thus – had to baste, then serge (I don’t care that I do historical; you’ll pry my serger out of my cold, dead hands), then turn everything under and finish by hand. I also ended up stitching some bias tape over the neck seam on the inside for comfort. (And then remembered I’d have a smock to protect me anyway. This project has been so unorganized.)

I was quite happy with the look of the partlet, and finishing it restored my enthusiasm for this outfit.


I still desperately wanted to work pink into this outfit, and spent some more time looking through my stash. I know I have dusty pink chiffon, but where? (Providence. That’s where. Ugh.) I really liked some of the greens I have, but while they would make a nice palette, the greens with this muted purple would really pull the outfit away from what I wanted. So I put my fancy fabrics aside and pulled out some simple white cotton lawn for a smock.

I wanted this to be somewhat accurate, and I took a quick look at some extant embroidered pieces. I knew I wasn’t about to spend hundreds of hours embroidering this (it was supposed to be a quick costume, so – no.)


Shirt part, 1600s (VAM 588-1899)

I ended up using one of my machine’s fancier stitches and creating an extremely simplified version of the shirt at left – verticals at front and then following the sleeves. (Thread tails got threaded through a needle and pulled to the back before knotting, for neatness.) Remember what I said about poor planning? Yeah, there’s nothing on my cuffs or collar, because I got in the sewing zone and finished them before realizing that they were naked. Whoops.


For the smock construction, I referenced an old diagram in my pattern archive that I can’t reproduce, but it’s pretty similar to the one at left, sourced from The Costume Historian. I was taught at Plimoth to always use neck gussets, and this is one of the few diagrams that includes them. Of course, I couldn’t find instructions for setting them in the collar…as best as I can remember/discern, they get set behind the quarter marks on your collar (so, closer to the center back than the fronts). Necks are weird.

My smock has machine stitched innards, french seamed*, and is hand finished. Instead of doing eyelets and lucet ties, I braided ties out of DMC and stitched them on. That bit was definitely a little lazy, but I wanted brightly braided ties and there was no point in doing eyelets once I was already that far off of accuracy.

*it was laziness; my serger has red thread right now. self-explanatory. predictable, too.

I pleated down some needle-looking-ish lace with gold threads that I found at the CoCo Bargain Bin (thanks to whoever donated it!) and stuffed that into my collar and cuffs, and then experimented with colors on the aforementioned ties. See – I finally got some pink into this outfit!

The finished smock is very comfortable! (I made ?six? of them in 2016 and a lot of the process came back to me as I sewed, but I think I still fudged up the neck a tiny bit…) Just after this, I took the chance to go back to the kirtle and add hooks and eyes at the very base of the lacings on each side. They were under a lot of stress at my waist and the hooks really help to keep them together (and aid in easier tying)!

Anyway. Time for try-on! For undergarments I paired my smock and bumroll with some Victorian drawers (chub rub, begone!) and a corded petticoat (mini-post on this forthcoming). This whole outfit is much more ~inspired by~ than Historically Accurate, if that wasn’t obvious, so I have no qualms about achieving the shape I want with undergarments from other eras.

It’s so comfortable! For a video of the dressing process, click through here (FB page).

I’m very satisfied with how this has come out, but now I’m thinking about making an overgown and possibly some sort of headdress to top it all off. (The kirtle was meant to be a top-ish layer originally, hence the looong hem, but I feel so naked with my smock sleeves out! Aaaand an overgown would give me a chance to actually buy pink fabric for this. )

Screen Shot 2018-08-27 at 12.44.57 AMI’d wanted to use the headdress that I made for my original Indis design (at right), but now I’m quite unsure. That one is very floral and elven, and I think this could use something a bit more stately. So all in all, I expect that this costume might see additional pieces made – but I may do a photoshoot with it as is because I do like the overall image quite a bit.

Thanks for reading, and see you next time!

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