Patterned after the 16th C. Italian ladies' underwear which are part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's costume collection (inset photo), our "ladies' braies" are split waist to waist through the crotch. The opening falls together while standing providing full coverage, and the mid-thigh length leg prevents chafing. The split crotch design allows the wearer to use the privy while wearing the braies, eliminating the need to lower and raise undergarments under bulky period gown skirts.
Artist Joachim Beuckelaer (circa 1533–1575) 1565
Mantuas were worn by the lower classes as well. They were shorter and the skirt didn't have to be bunched up over the hips. In fact, it is very easy to see how it evolved into the Robe Anglaise from these pictures. All comes from The Cryes of the City of London Drawne after the Life, from around 1688.
Kitchen Maid, attributed to Pieter Pietersz Antwerp circa 1540/41 – 1603 Amsterdam
BEUCKELAER, Joachim; The Four Elements; Air, A poultry market, prodical son in the background - Detail of Heuke in the background of picture
Details of the construction of Melanie Schuessler's "Flanders Gown" from the Janet Arnold pattern books. I think this construction, with the pad stitching and arrangement of boning, seems far more effective than other methods I've seen. Alternatively, cartridge pleating (without other stiffening) the sleeve head does work, but is less effective, and if you move much, you will end up with deep creases in the sleeve head.