Thursday, May 15, 2014

Elizabethan Jacket Progress

This is the mock up over my not so accurate but comfy 16th century stays and bumroll.  The orange dupatta is there just to give an idea of what I might want to use for a skirt.  

The lines are based on multiple Elizabethan/Jacobean jackets made between 1580 and 1615.   I honestly think that some museums just give a general 1610 date because that's what other museums have done.  We know, based on the inventory of QEI, waistcoats (jackets) were around and embroidered since the 1580's.  We have a few extant ones dated to the 16th century though most museums seem to like to put them in the early 1600's. 

I've collected a lot of extant jacket photos here: as well as some other embroidery.  I've also created a list of portraits showing ladies wearing the jackets here:

What I've found interesting about the jacket portraits is that time and time again, ladies wore just as elaborate - if not more elaborate- skirts with their waistcoats.  Some are of printed Indian cloth (popular during Queen Elizabeth's time) others are what look to be of saris - none are plain.  Yet, normally, we see ladies who recreate these jackets - often beautifully- wear very plain skirts or skirts with a few guards.  None tend to be as richly decorated as they were in period. 

This was part of the other reason I have the dupatta up - I wanted to see about using it as a skirt.  There isn't quite enough fabric so I think I'm going to use one of the saris instead.  Or find a large dupatta. 

The fabric I'm using for the jacket is very interesting. 

It looks like blackwork, but it's not.  It's embossed velvet.  You can't tell until you touch the fabric.  The pattern is similar to a jacket dated to the 1630's.  I know I've seen the embroidery pattern earlier - it was on a cloth on a table of a half length portrait from about 1600- but I saw it once and have never been able to find it again.  I just remember thinking that normally people chop off the bottom of the portrait when publishing it on line which is why I hadn't seen the cloth before.  If anyone finds it, let me know!

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