A 16th century flemish dress

2003-07-01  At four-thirty in the morning.
I've been thinking that maybe I should start a costuming diary. Thereby actually documenting all the research I do, which compromises I make etc. As much for my own sake as for anybody elses.
First I thought about making a diary for my 18th century sack dress and then about making one for my next 12th century outfit. The problem was to find pictures to start with. All the images I had used for the 18th c dress are in books and I would have to travel across town to a friend with a scanner if I were to present my sources. It might still be done, but not now! It's the same problem with the 12th c project. Lack of images I mean, but here I really need to take photos of my pleated chainse with me in it (I look awful, a good reason to document it).

Well I've been thinking about making a dress from some dark maroon thin wool twill that I have. The problem was just what to make. On the other side, I've been dying to make this dress for years. As has probably everybody else. But when (if)I make this dress I really want it to be perfect. If I make it, I want to make it out of black silk satin. Unfortunately my economy isn't going to allow that kind of indulgence for quite a while.

When I thought about what I really liked with this dress I could divide it into three things:
a) The simplicity of the black dress with black velvet guards.
b) the combination of the black dress with the black, buttoned partlet with it's high neck.
c) The really cool headdress. I'm a sucker for strange headwear and this one has intrigued me for a while.

After looking in Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd and surfing the internet I came up with a simpler variety of this dress, that I think would be perfect in dark wool.
It is Cornelius de Zeeuw's painting of Pierre de Moucheron and his family.
All the ladies wear a variation of the dress above, with elbow lenght sleeves. You also get a better look at how the headwear is made.




Well, it so happens that two weeks ago I bought quite a lot of machine made bobbin lace ( a type of lace where a machine reproduces the movement of the bobbin lace maker). 60 metres to be exact. For 4 kr, which is about 50 cents, per meter! This clearly must be a sign that I should start with the headgear first.

This diary will not go forward fast, because it is now 4 weeks left to Visby Medieval week in Gotland (an island off the east coast of Sweden) and I must make my husband two pairs of hose, fix some things with my pavillion and make two chests (with the help of my husband) before that.
But every once in a week I might be able to work on it. First I'm going to do some more research and also bleach some of the lace which has turned yellow.

2003-07-04  I have been studying the white caps more closely and made a separate page on them.
Just the caps. The veiling will have to wait until later. Due to the aforementioned Visby medieval week I haven't got the time to start making a cap yet, but at least I've got a pretty good idea of how to make it.
Instead I finished a handsewn linen shirt (basic rectangle and gore cut) for my husband to wear with his 14th c clothes and a linen coif to wear with the same. Not that I think he will wear it very often ;)
I also tried a new way of making woollen hose for myself, which didn't turn out well. I think I'll just stick with the pattern I usually use, tried out for years. My friend Kristian also made a new hose pattern for my husband. I'm truly greatful for this, because the patterns I've made for him never seemed to get the foot part to look nice.
So all I have to do now, before Visby, is to make myself another fillet, two wimples, pink hose for Rickard, black hose for him too, a pair of hose for me and two wooden chests and a table. Plus fixing some minor things with my pavillion. Phew. All this in four weeks and I have to work two of these. There are deadlines for abstracts to two conferences in the end of August and I will be away (medieval week and honeymoon trip) for most of August so I really have to make them now (next week). But that's not really about costuming (my ranting I mean, the abstracts are.)

2003-07-08  I decided that now was the time to make an effigy corset. I have a standard corset after Drea Leed's instructions but I made the one without tabs and now I want one with tabs. I have been wanting an effigy corset for at least a year, but always put it off as too complicated. However, after making a 18th century corset after a pattern in Norah Waugh's "Corsets and Crinolines" I feel confident enough to try. The 18th century corset is marvellous and I like the way it shapes my body and makes it look like I actually have a waist :)
Since the effigy corset also has tabs and a more shaped cut I hope it will have a similar effect. So, an effigy corset it will be! I also thought it was smart to make a new corset before I made any new clothes since I'm not sure the shape will be the same. Probably close enough, but still. I just sent my husband downtown on his bike (just hope it doesn't start raining again) to buy lots of cable ties.
Initially I had planned to make this corset all by hand, but it really seems like a waste of time and effort to handsew a corset if you bone it with cable ties. I also want to see if I can get a good pattern before I make a corset with handsewn boning channels.
Well, this means putting the cap aside for a while, not that I've actually started on it, but I've thought about it. On the bright side: I've made everything on my list except the minor things on the pavillion and the woodwork. I also made some bath towels of herringbone natural linen and marked the with a gothic (actually textura) letter A, for Aleydis and B, for Budde (yes that's a documented medieval name, don't ask).

2003-07-18  I finally managed to get a photo of the fabric I'm going to use. The colour is, at least on my screen, pretty close to the actual colour. I've also tried to take photos of the lace I'm going to use for the cap. But either the camera isn't good enough, which it really isn't, or I can't get it to work. Probably a bit of both.
On the corset side I have boned all parts and added lining and top fabric on two of them. The two layers which hold the boning is thin striped cotton in white and blue (it can be seen on my pocket hoops on the 18th century underwear page in the gallery) and it's lined with herringbone natural linen. The top fabric is grey silk taffeta. It's from the catholic church's bazaar and I got 4 metres for ca 7$. It had been used as a table cloth and have been machine washed, but it's okay for linings and underwear and such. I lined my wedding dress with it so there's almost nothing left now. I'm binding the edges with grey suede and it's a real pain to sew. I got blisters on my thumb from pushing the needle so I'm taking a break from the corset right now. I have a lot of other sewing to do, but since Göteborg is suffering from a heatwave, I can't do anything right now. I hate when it's warm!

Later:
Here are some bad pictures of the lace. Hopefully you get some idea of how they look. The left lace is wider in reality, ca 3 cm , while the right lace is 1,8 cm and not quite as yellowish as in the picture. Still, I have to find a bleaching method that works on the lace. My first try didn't make any difference. I'm going to try with "bleaching salt", that is, percarbonate.

And pictures of the only finished corset part. The reason that I have three tabs and not one on the front part, as Queen Elizabeth's ewffigy had is that she (it) had a waist of 21 inches and I have a 36 inches waist (a little less corseted, but still).

The reason that the silk taffeta is a little loose is that it has no elasticity and when the corset is stretched around my body it will need that extra to be able to expand as much as the cotton and linen will do. I've tried pulling the edges in opposite direction and then it looks perfectly flat.

2003-11-24   There has been a very long break in the progress of this dress and this dress diary. And it's going to be longer. As the readers of my LiveJournal are aware of, I'm pregnant and expect to have a baby by the end of April. As soon as I knew I was pregnant I lost interest in completing the effigy corset and the dress. I will definitely be wrong shaped to wear it for at least five more months and it will take even longer for my body to decide how it's going to look after pregnancy and breastfeeding. I also plan to try to loose some weight after I've stopped breastfeeding, because it's really not healthy to weigh as much as I do. Since both the corset and the dress are very fitted I can't work on this outfit until maybe next spring. Instead I've started a new dress diary, of the loose kirtle from Patterns of Fashion.
While taking a long break from this diary I just wanted to show a good picture of the effigy corset, when it's worn by the effigy. Click on the picture for a larger image.







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