Purple Files: Underskirt Diary
Recreated by La Signora Onorata Katerina da Brescia.


This underskirt is made from one layer of cotton drill (to keep the cost down and keeping it in natural materials). I decided to cartridge pleat it , to give more fullness to the skirt.
It will be worn under some of my existing gownes and my 

planned new gowne (material on right).
The underskirt is based on patterns from Alcega (farthingale), Patterns of Fashion and the extant Eleanor of Toledo dress.

I am intending on sewing some braid to the hemline (got cheaply on ebay recently).


I adapted the pattern from Eleanora d' Toledo from Janet Arnold's Pattern of Fashion. and Alcega. Both of these are contemporary, giving the most economical cut from the material.
I wanted to give the skirt more fullness to try to keep the silhouette wide on the bottom, 

without using a farthingale. The hem width is over 6m; the amount of material gathered at the waist is over 4 m. The total length (of 105cm wide drill) used was 5.80m. There was no leftovers (or 'cabbage' in Elizabethan terms).

Inside of the cartridge pleats

The outside of the pleats

front: flattened to fit shaped bodices

Hand-sewn eyelets and lacing as the closure.
It is finished! Another layer bites the dust! Here is the finished underskirt (sans the trim to be added later). I wore it, with my Medici underbodice and camicia, for the Innilgard Tavern feast this year.

On the night of the feast:


  • Kovesi Killerby, Catherine, Sumptuary Law in Italy 1200-1500, Oxford University Press. NY. 2002. ISBN:0-19-924793-5
  • Piponnier, Francoise & Mane, Perrine Dress in the Middle Ages, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1997. ISBN: 0-300-08691-1
  • Crowfoot E, Pritchard F & Staniland K, Textiles and Clothing 1150-1450, Boydell Press, Woodridge, 2001 (ed) ISBN: 0-85115-840-4
  • Arnold, Janet Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd, Maney, Leeds, 1988, ISBN:0-901286-20-6
  • Arnold, Janet Patterns of Fashion, MacMillan, London, 1985. ISBN: 0-333-38284-6
  • Frick, Carole Collier. Dressing Renaissance Florence.: Families Fortunes & Clothing. John Hopkins University Press. Baltimore. 2002. ISBN: 0-8018-6939-0
  • Jones, Ann Rosalind & Stallybrass, Peter. Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory. Cambridge University Press. 2003. ISBN: 0-521-78663-0
  • Oonagh's Own: http://oonagh.actewagl.net.au/
  • goldsword.com
  • elizabethgeek.com

And for those who like LIVE JOURNALS... However be warned, I do not update regularly.

All intellectual content, photos and layout are copyright to La Signora Onorata Katerina da Brescia (K Carlisle), except those original renaissance artworks and extant articles whose copyright remains with the current owner.
If you would like to use something from this site, please contact me, and cite this website reference.

(c). K.Carlisle, 2009.