Monday, October 8, 2012

Autumn Dress

I have posted this costume before. But in lieu of this:

 I wanted to give a little of its back story. At this point in time, this costume is by far the one I am most proud of. It is also the one I have learned the most with. I have a HUGE list of  "What was I thinking!?!?!" moments with it. I was inspired to make this gown after looking at the book Vecellio's Renaissance Costume Book: All 500 Woodcut Illustrations from the Famous Sixteeth-Centry Compendium of World Costume by Cesare Vecillio; especially numbers 16, 18, and 208. 

 I knew at the time I did not possess the skill sets required to make the dress, but I was bound and determined to learn. For the first 2-3 years of this process I was trying to make this dress Elizabethan. Which I didn't even realize I was doing until my friend pointed it out to me. I am grateful she did though because after that point I was really able to make headway in completing the project. But to my defense when I started my only experience was limited to Renaissance faires and pretty much only Renaissance faires.
While I was in the "try to make it Elizabethan, but not" mode, I decided to make a hemp corded corset for a softer shape. While this method is something I would like to revisit at a later time, that particular corset was ugly as sin. It also did not work at all. I made the 2" opening in the front because I was hoping for ease of lacing it myself. But by doing this it provided no shaping at all and odd lumps and bumps. Lesson learned...

2 other pieces I put A LOT of work into but never ended up using were the forepart and sleeves.

They will not be going to waste though. Once I realized that I was trying to make the dress into an Elizabethan gown it broke into two dresses. My original inspiration and plan and an Elizabethan version.  The Elizabethan will have the same color theme and should be able to use some of the same pieces, (i.e. chemise and drawers). For now my first attempt pieces live in my UFO bin.
Construction details of what I ultimately ended up doing are:

For this gown I made a black worked chemise completely by hand. I used Patterns of Fashion 4: The Cut and Construction of Linen Shirts, Smocks, Neckwear, Headwear and Accessories for Men and Women C. 1540-1660 by Janet Arnold. I used the pattern for a shirt worn by Nils Sture.
For the Kirtle I drew inspiration from The Tudor Tailor by Ninya Mikhaila and Jane Malcolm-Davies. But the actual pattern I draped to get a proper, bust supporting, fit.
The over gown was made using Patterns of Fashion: The Cut and Construction of Clothes for Men and Women C. 1560-1620 by Janet Arnold, pages 122 and 123. I made some changes to the pattern so the gown would be able to close in the front.
After faire season this year, and being stepped on WAY to many times, I decided to go with the shorter length seen in the woodcuts. So it took over 4 years for me to go from:
to this
But I did! So I am very very happy!

First post about this gown. Better pictures of it on me but none of the final version.