Thursday, September 29, 2011

Medeival Ecclesiastical

So yesterday I got to dabble in one more foreign area of renaissance garb for the wedding. The Baptist pastor who is officiating the service is willing, and somewhat excited, to join us in dressing up, as long as whatever he is wearing is not too denotive of Catholicism or Friar Tuck. So....not knowing much about ecclesiastical garb in the first place and not really having the time to do the proper research, I browsed though the male portraits on The Realm of Venus and chose this one, Paolo Veronese's Portrait of Daniele Barbaro 1566.   For one, it looks fairly simple, comfortable and easy for an older gentleman to get in to, and if decorated apropriately, it could be taken for something a Church man might wear.

So off I went to sew. I had four yard of 55 in chocolate brown handkerchief linen and three yards of a medium brown open 'waffle like' weave 60 in wide wool and about four yards of wide vestment trim. As the pastor has very long arms (37 in) and is over 6 foot tall, I mapped out the linen undertunic as best I could, but couldn't nearly get the fullness as seen in the portrait. Its a pretty normal tunic, front/back piece with head hole, sleeves, underarm gussets and side gores. However, I ended up splitting the whole thing down the front, and I need to find appropriate buttons yet for the closure.

For the capelet I deviated again from the portrait. Instead of making the round bottom edge, I left the wool square and long enough so that it will hand well below th belt. I sewed down large soft pleats at the shoulders to help give the garment more body and less droopiness. I then sewed the vestment trim along the bottom edges, front and back. The sides are open. I just need to find an appropriate clasp to fasten the neck opening with and it is done. So really, it doesn't look like the portrait at all....but oh well. it should fit the vision.

I want to yet make the four cornered hat pictured, but I think that will wait for 'hatmaking day' when I need to make several hats for the several of the men in the party.

I'm going to go try to take pictures of the whole thing now, not sure how it will go down as I have no model and the whole thing is pretty shapeless.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Venetian Girl's Gown

The saddest part of sewing so many sets of garb in such a small time frame is that I have time to do very little research. I'm going off of what I know and learning new methodology and easier ways of contrunction. The gown I am working on now is for the flower girl. I have not had a chance before now to dabble in constructing children's garb and I have not previously found any good sources for period children's wear.....So I'm piecing bits of info together when constructing this gown. My main inspiration portrait is Venetian, a detail of Giovanni Antonio Fasolo's 1565, 'The Banquet'; the little girl in front with the purple dress. My construction methods are Florentine, the pattern for the bodice and the skirt based off of the pattern Janet Arnold gives in 'Patterns of Fashion' for Eleanora's burial dress.

However, I have the bodice open in the front instead of the side-backs, and it will lace shut like the traditional v-neck style. I've heard quite a bit about interlining bodices with wool felt, and since this is such a tiny dress, I splurged and purchased a yard of felt. The back, sides and straps are all a single layer of felt, but I stitched an additional piece of felt to the center fronts to give the opening more stability since this dress will not be boned. The shoulder straps are cut on the bias to insure a little more give and comfort, and so the straps hug the shoulders better. The bodice is then lined with muslin and there is purple cotton for the outer layer.  The skirt is fairly narrow. There are two front sections, the back and two side gores, each lined with muslin. This is actually much narrower than Eleanora's skirt, but I had only a little over three yards of 45 wide fabric for the dress and having a train was more important to me than the extra width. On my flower girl though it should look fine, as she is really slender. After  sewing all the sections of the skirt together I pleated them to a narrow wasit band and whipstitched it to the bottom inside edge of the bodice. The sleeves are fairly simple, bag lined and trimmed with lace at the cuff.

 I scoured eBay for the perfect lace, and went back and forth between white or gold. I wanted gold as gold and purple are my wedding colors, but was unsure if that would become too flashy. In the end I ordered some very wide gold venice lace, not knowing HOW wide. It looks decent on the sleeves, but i'm still not sure if i like it around the opening of the bodice. It looks almost too much like a ruff.....we'll see once I get it on the flower girl and see if it needs altered or just completely taken off.

The only thing my flower girl really requested was that she didn't want a camicia......... i think we eventually agreed on a simple sleeveless tunic thing to go underneath, so that at least there will be some protection between her skin and the gown, and there will be 'camicia' peeking between the front lacing. However, I had to come up with something for the small puffs at the shoulders of the gown. I ended up sewing tubes out of muslin and sewing the ends together to make circular tubes. I made them to be a little bigger than the opening of the top of the sleeve and gathered/hand-basted one edge of the tube just inside the top of the sleeve and the other side just barely to the inside of the armscye. My plan is to then join the actual sleeve and the gown at intervals around the armscye (and bead those of course), and then puff the white of the tube up to make that cute tiny even row of white around the shoulders, as seen in the portrait.

I have heard of other costumers doing this before and I believe it possibly could be period. I never have before however, due to having huge camicia sleeves that need to go somewhere, and the gaps and slashes on sleeves just seems the most logical place for their appearance. However, I think that this method will work very well, and very neat, and there won't be near as much primping needed when putting on the gown.

I am almost finished with this gown; I need to finished sewing on the second sleeve, and do the beaded joins on both. I need to decide if i'm doing lacing rings or eyelets for the front closure and follow through with that. I need to find or make a cord to lace it. The under tunic thing needs to be finished up. And once all that is done I need to try it on my flower girl and pin the hem. I want to still add the rest of the wool felt in the hem somehow to make it stand out good. I'm unsure how I want to do that though becasue there is no exterior guard on the skirt, and so I have no where to insert/hid the wool unless I somehow sew it to the inside of the skirt.....still pondering on that.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Copper Silk Gown Pictures

Here's the pictures of my three day copper silk dress. I am really happy about the way it turned out and how comfortable it turned out to be. I decided to ditch the low on the shoulder straps this time and aim for a venetian that was mostly comfortable. As a result I can actually raise my arms completely above my head in the dress! The only problem I have is that I think I made the waist a little too high. Anyway, here's the pictures;

Groom's Get-Up

Yesterday was picture day. Zach and I finally got ready to have our engagement pictures taken. We had his mom take about 60 before we finally settled on one that we all like. Neither of us enjoy have pictures taken, but we had a good time...and since we were sort of in the spirit of picture taking, I got Zach to dress in his wedding garb so I could take pictures of that too.  So here they are;

It is a five piece ensemble. There's the linen embroidered shirt, and the short pants (unsure of the name due to lack of research, but I've seen these in some portrait somewhere....) The silk and linen doublet, including the sleeves which lace on. The loose jerkin (also very little research here; this is men's garb!), which is made of velveteen and lined in a silk/cotton blend. There are two threadworked buttons at the waist. I will probably do more going all the way up the openings. There is also the velveteen hat.

There's a few little things to finish. I need to hem the pants and add hook and eye or buttons at the cuffs on the shirt. I may also do some black velvet applique on the doublet with vines and scallops so that it kinda matches my wedding dress. That is dependant on how much time I have leftover when everything else for the wedding in sewn however. I have less than three months to go!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

I'm Still Alive..really

I am currently in the middle of making six sets of court garb for my wedding....and too busy and disorganised to get pictures of any of them of course. I have less than three months to go and yet I'm staying confidant that at least all the sewing will get done....not sure about music selection or much of an elaborate ceremony but at least the whole wedding party will be in garb. Sometimes I wonder if my priorities are a little twisted.

Anyway, three of those sets of garb are almost done, and as they are completed I do want to put up pictures. Things are turning out really good so far.  The other three are in varying stages of having the bodice cut out to having all the pieces more or less assembled they just need to be put together.

AND (here's the worst of it) as a productivity reward to myself I decided to whip myself up a dress based off of Titian's 'Portrait of a Lady in White'. I've had some beautiful copper silk and rust coloured velvet bouncing around in my stash for a while with this project in excuse for rationalising this? I don't have any garb that I really really want to wear for the engagement pics that have to be taken this week, and I want something new to where to Schola in a few weekends....The dress in the portrait really is quite simple, as there isn't much in the way of trim. So yesterday afternoon I whipped up the sleeves and the bodice minus any means of fastening, and I have the skirt ready to be pleated. I would like to add some pearls to the joins in the sleeves and maybe around the top of the bodice, but that might wait. I just need to get it to a wearable state so I can wear it on Wednesday and then I need to put it aside and wait to further the embellishments until AFTER the wedding.