Monday, February 7, 2011

New 16th Century Garb

First, the polonaise is still coming along, I have gotten to the tedious slow part of sewing in the boning to the bodice and then I will finish the back with a couple bows, once that is completed I will post pictures. I took my time on the project and enjoyed it greatly I had no event in mind to wear it to so it has been my "go-to" project. I will most likely wear it to the Old Sacramento Easter Bonnet Promenade this upcoming April. Of course that means I need a truly fantastic hat to go with it. So, we'll see.

So onto a new project.

I have had a 16th century doublet gown in mind for well almost 10 years now. Ever since my mom bought me several yards of dark green velvet that was on sale at a fabric store in Reno. The design has been there in my mind and then changed a bit once I got my hands on Moda a Firenze 1540-1580. This book is full of lovely portraits and lodes of inspiration for the lover of renaissance fashion. Here are a couple of examples  of 16th century doublets that I am using for inspiration.
The riding habit from Shakespeare in Love. Though not a historical outfit, I do really like the doublet in general. I plan to have my skirt be a yellow tapestry fabric that took me forever to find. So this image Gives an idea of having the doublet different from the skirt.
 Portrait of a Noblewoman
Lavinia Fontanai, 1580
I enjoy the gold embroidery on this one. I do not plan to have my front in the open style however this portrait is one that I find myself coming back to over and over again.

So, why the new gown? Does a costumer need a reason. Sometimes we do, especially when we lack time to do all the things that we would love to do. I have a dear friend who is getting married in April. Since I mainly spend my time at Faire playing Irish I have not been able to justify putting together another nobles outfit. This wedding is going to be themed and garb is appreciated so Bingo I now have an excuse/reason to spend time on a new gown that will not get a lot of wearing but one that I would like to have anyway.

I have decided to start with a new set of stays/corset. I have decided to use a commercial pattern and review it as I sew it. I started this past weekend and will upload the pictures and first part of the pattern review on my next post which I promise will not take months for me to do. The pattern is the Simplicity 2621 and I am going to do my best to not alter it too much. If I find that the pattern does not give me the desired shape and fit that I would like then I am prepared to make the effigy stays as well.

It occurred to me that many of the people that I talk to don't have the first idea how to make a pattern or find a pattern for historical garb. So I figure if I use a commercial pattern that anyone can find and buy, maybe I can provide a few tips so it wont be so intimidating to get the foundations for your 16th century garb more accurate.


  1. Yay! Can't wait to see this!!! And hurrah for fabric found in Reno :-)

  2. Yay you are making this corset! Good luck!