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Showing posts from 2013

How Our Ancestors Slept

As someone who wakes up during the night feeling frustratingly refreshed...and then struggles to rise in the morning, I found this article to be a kind of vindication. Apparently the way we sleep has changed. For more information you can visit the link here.


Next Project...The Tudor Transitional

What on earth could that title mean? Well, everyone is very familiar with the iconic Tudor style; bell sleeves, triangular skirt with forepart, square neckline, gable or french hood, puffed undersleeves etc...
And we're also rather familiar with Elizabethan style; ruffs, little hats or headdresses, higher or filled-in necklines, stiff skirts, padded sleeves, lighter colors etc...
But what about something in-between? As a professor, I like having garments for my students to see, and something in a style somewhere between the two would help them to visualize how clothing evolved from one idea into another. With that in mind I present the inspiration.
And now, to find the fabric and start on the chemise!

Finished Italian Gown Project

It's done! I ask your indulgence for the fact that the outfit does not entirely fit the form, as I myself am very small and still need to carve it down a bit to make the form me-sized. Until we have a reliably sunny day (maybe this week?) I won't be able to put it on and take nice photos outside.

The project took about 18 days to accomplish and was machine-sewn except for where the stitching would show. The time crunch required it. The pattern was adapted and draped in places, and straight out flat-patterned in some areas. The bodice is corded with hemp cording, which can be found at most craft stores, or even with the garden supplies. The material is linen with some silk taffeta for the sleeves, and a cotton chemise.

Future photos of the gown on an actual person will prove that the sleeve doesn't fit half so awkwardly as it appears to in this photo (grrr). As the research images appear to show, the gathered sleeve and the straight sleeve are made as two separate ones and…

Teaser! Italian Project Sleeves

I did manage to get the entire project done in time for the event this past Saturday, and was very pleased with myself for doing so without the customary sewing into any wee hours or hand stitching in the car. The downside to this is that I took very few in-progress photos towards the end, and did not get any pictures of myself in the outfit at the event. Sad panda.

While I clean and rephotograph the project for later posting I leave you with just a taste via a few pictures I did manage to take.

Next time, I promise, more finished gown photos along with the jewelry and hairnet!

Italian Project- 3

Based largely on shoes like the ones to the left, I have completed the adaptation of my shoes for the Italian outfit.

I'm pretty pleased with the result, which is not, of course, 100% accurate, but is fairly passable.
I started with the blank shoe...
added elastic loops to the vamp and sides, which I then covered with trim...
tied a ribbon through the loops where they were unsewn at the tops, and finished it off with a cockade made from the same trim I'd used earlier.
C'est finis!

As for the chemise; I ended up taking a shortcut (I know, boo, hiss) to make up for some lost time which occurred when my husband's outfit took longer than expected to finish. His was made to the highest professional standards I could manage, so that's something to be proud of anyhow.

I used an old chemise, cut down the neckline some more, smocked a portion of it in green and yellow embroidery floss, and am hoping that the simplicity will work in harmony with the rest of the outfit.

I …

Italian Project- Update 1

Volia! As promise, here's the design for the new Italian outfit. I'm currently trying to decide between two pairs of cotton/silk/wool stockings; a cream pair and a blue pair. I like the color of the blue ones and they are lighter for the summer since they are silk, but then the cotton/wool ones could be dyed to a color and don't feature the anachronistic clocking on the heel. Decisions, decisions.

The fabric for the gown will be mostly these three:-
 The underskirt will be heavily pleated in the grass-green linen, with the simpler sleeve version in the same. The more intricate sleeve will be done in the striped gold and green taffeta with faux chemise puffs between the slashing. The overall fabric of the gown, though, will be the embroidered tan linen (which is why the portraits of the patterned gowns was so important to me). I also have some gold and green trims set aside, but we'll look at those later.

And shoes? Well, those are notoriously hard to research for the…

New Project in the Works- Italian Renaissance

I threatened a while ago to make an Italian Renaissance costume and even though that perpetual Elizabethan project is nearing its end I shall proceed to do just that. My husband and I have an upcoming event in a few weeks, so naturally now is the perfect time to cram in two new projects (one costume for him and one for me).

To start with I always like to do a little lot of research.

Always a good start; this painting, as it shows slightly different styles being worn at the same time, and a little of the underskirt.
Note the all-over pattern on this gown, combined with the top of the chemise showing, the partlet at the shoulders, and the tightly-fitted lower sleeve. I love how the waist is just slightly higher than the natural waistline.

Proof that this style of sleeve can be tied on as well as set-in. It features the same trim placement as in the first pictures as well.

I'm thinking of doing two sleeve options; one like the green sleeve in the St. John painting, and one like thi…


My last trivia question went unanswered:-

"What famous philosopher's skull was found to be missing in 1819 when his coffin was opened nearly two centuries after his death? (Hint: the skull itself, now found, has had an interesting history all its own)"

The answer was Descartes, as in Cartesian Philosophy. I highly recommend the book 'Descartes' Bones' by Russell Shorto, which details not only the philosopher's life, but the meandering journey of his body after death and the spread of his ideas up to the modern era. It's a fascinating read, and far more entertaining than one would expect.

Let's return to questions of fashion with this next one, shall we?

Some Victorian mothers, frustrated by their daughters' attempts to loosen (or altogether escape from) their corsets at night during corset-training, took to doing this to prevent them being able to untie themselves.

Shakespearean Epic Miniseries to Air in the USA

Wouldn't it be great if someone took four of Shakespeare's history plays, say Richard II, Henry IV (parts 1 & 2), and Henry V, and made them into one epic miniseries? Well, BBC Two has already done that for you in a series called The Hollow Crown, and now we can look forward to finally seeing it in the USA...but not until September.

For those of you, like me, who may be chomping at the bit I give you an article on the costumes to peruse here, as well as some more lovely and familiar faces from the cast....

and finally the trailer, just to get you really excited.