The Lady Adventurer

Costuming shenanigans

Partlets Part Deux

The most widely- known type of partlet is an item of outerwear, like a shrug.  Another garment commonly called a partlet is similar, but often worn under a dress, to fill or decorate a neckline.  I’d just like to say here that a partlet is NOT a shirt that is split all the way down the front.  I don’t know what you’d properly call it, mostly because I’ve never seen or heard of an extant one, so the historical record is curiously quiet on the subject.  Anyhoo, these partlets were often heavily embroidered or beaded, and often supported a ruff of some sort.  Since the character I go for at faire is not royalty, I didn’t go totally crazy with embellishment on my partlet:


The ruff can be worn open or closed, although I find that wearing it closed makes me overheat unless it’s quite cold out.  I always wear the partlet over one of my regular square necked chemises.  You can almost see a peek of the blackwork in the top photo.


There’s a small hook and eye at the center bottom, and the collar closes with two braided ties, tipped with points.   Under the arms is actually sewn shut on this partlet, unlike my black wool partlet.  I was worried that if I had ties under a dress, they would be bulky, and either look weird or be uncomfortable.  I don’t really need the ties to get in and out of either partlet, so I guess it doesn’t matter either way.


One of the best things about this partlet is that trim down the center front and around the ruff.  THE best thing is that it came like that.  This partlet is made of a linen tablecloth I found at a thrift store, which had that great trim all around the edge.  It had some staining in the middle, but since I didn’t really need much of the fabric itself, it worked out perfectly.  So, with some careful cutting, my partlet came pre-embellished.  Yay for things that work just right!


The ruff was created using a long strip from the edge of the tablecloth.  It’s double box pleated to give it a nice, S curve shape.  And the edging is stiff enough that it doesn’t need starch to hold it out in nice curves.  The body of the partlet is lightly gathered into the collar to give me room to move when the ruff is tied shut.  I still have a good sized piece of the tablecloth left (somewhere) (I think),  so perhaps something else with this trim.  Any ideas?

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