Friday, June 21, 2013

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 16th century because we have only a few surviving examples (not much to go on in terms of variety), and they are rarely seen in portraits due to the length of the skirts. We all know about the Venetians and their chopines...
But I need something more stable. I've decided on a cross between the heel-less slippers, and the heeled shoes of the period.
So I found some shoes with the right sort of shape to the toe, heel, and vamp, and I shall simply add straps that connect to the vamp with little ties; and some decoration, of course. The shoes themselves are some sort of black woven fabric with gold threads shot through, so they seem passable.


So far on the gown I have found a pattern I used for a previous gown of similar style and begun altering it, and I have also pre-shrunk, ironed, and rolled the fabric for ease of use.

Next time:- The chemise, trimming the shoes.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

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.
The Preaching of St. John. 1520.
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 this for evening wear.

As my own hair is now shorter than it used to be I will need to do some sort of beaded hairnet (reta) with added braids probably to make it Renaissance appropriate.

My plan is to blog this project as it progresses over the next 18 days, so there should be lots of research, explanations, and photos to come.

Next time: the design, the shoes, the stockings, the fabric swatches.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Trivia!

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.