Wednesday, November 18, 2009

1560's Florentine Gown Progress

So since the Irish Ionar has been put on hold while I scavage for needles for my dinasour sewing machine and I have not started on my new Victorian since I am waiting for my patterns to arrive. I decided to work on my Florentine Gown a little bit. This gown was actually inspired by several in Moda a Firenze. This book is full of extremely drool worthy pages of Renaissance Fashion from 1540-1580 mostly focusing on Florence. Most notably of course are the gowns of Eleanor Toledo who was responsible for a great many of the fashion changes in Florence during her time. I used the the Florentine gown from Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion as a guide and resource.

This gown kind of came to life on it's own. I found the fabric at Ikea in the convenient form of velvet curtains. I was actually scoping the Blue which I had planned on using for my Tudor gown but ended up as Robert's coat for Gaskell's and rouching on my 1870's ball gown. However as I saw the green Clint, (a friend who I will mention often in this blog because he encourages me and listens to my gripes in my sewing endeavors) mentioned that the color was close to the color of patina on copper as it ages. So I bought the package just incase somthing copper came around because copper is one color one does not see much of at fair.
Not long after I happened upon some copper metalic trim. I decided to layer the trim on top of black velvet trim to achieve a deeper look.

This was also my first attempt at draping a pattern or even not using a commercial pattern.

Bodice mock up number 3 or 4 in my lovely yellow calico cotton fabric.

And this is where I had left it. I decided to leave the skirt with the option to be worn open incase I ever decided to make an underskirt and a different styled bodice. So I added hooks and eyes all the way down to keep it closed for it's Florentine look. The red is my tudor peticote peeking out. Shortly after getting this far I shifted my fair focus to my son's vauting team and spent a couple of faires with the Irish. So my poor Florentine gown was relegated to a box with other unfinished garb. Until Halloween Gaskells....

For the Oct Gaskells I had nothing to wear... no really. I had spent all of my sewing time on Robert's costume which he looked adorable in, so I had not finished my costume. So I was going to fake it and go wearing an old fairy gown from 10 years ago or so. Then my friend Maricica saw the green velvet of the bodice sticking out and suggested I wear it. So I figured it is Oct Gaskells, anything goes.

Here we are at Gaskells, I was suprised by how comfortable it was and by how many people really liked it.
So now that I have brought everything up to date what is missing from this gown are sleeves and the net or partlet.
I began the sleeves last week before my house was taken over by several dear friends from various parts of this country and Canada and to my great dismay all that was left of my green velvet was scraps.

Literally just scraps, I was able to salvage 3 pieces big enough to actually make sleeve panels and the rest I pieced together. Pieceing is completely historically accurate and yet I hate doing it. But I also could not think of any other creative way to make sleeves, a completely different fabric or color would throw the whole gown off.

I used the paned sleeve pattern from Margo Anderson, I used it on my Blue gown and really liked the results.
After I complete the sleeves I will move on to the net. Here is a pic of what I would like mine to look like.

I also intend to make the matching caul. You can also see in this portrait the general style favored by Eleanor Toledo. The single shoulder poof, solid color base with gold embroidered trim. This image also illustrates the layering effect of the period. You can see her chemise with blackwork peeking up under the gown with the net over it tucked into the gown. Notice also that unlike many of the other European fashions of the time or English fashions, the gown is fairly simple. It is the simple elegence of the Florentine fashion that drew me to wishing to make one for myself.
Here is the fabric that I bought for the net and caul. This is silk I found  quite by chance on one of our LA excursions.

Now just picture it with pearls at the crosspoints....

So that is where I am with the Florentine gown. I hope to complete it by the end of December. So more shall follow. Next post will be about my 1850's gown for Dicken's Faire, I am anxiously awaiting my patterns.

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