Sunday, July 5, 2015

Historical Sew Monthly: Out of Your Comfort Zone

The Challenge: Out of Your Comfort Zone - I know. It's late. But it's done!!!!

Fabric: Blue wool, white linen, red wool,  goldenrod linen blend I think (for the lining), duck cloth

Pattern: My own!

Year: 1530's ish

Notions: The trim, thread

How historically accurate is it? On a visually accurate scale, I'd put it at maybe a 3 out of 5. There is a LOT of hand sewing in this (all the trim, the puff and slash, eyelets) but there are still some slight issues - like the trim placement appears later. More on all of this below.

Hours to complete: Way, way too many. I started this for the blue challenge.

First worn: Pennsic, hopefully!

I've always loved the Cranach gowns but never attempted one myself. All those puffs and slashes! I've been studying them for years but just never bothered to pattern one until now. I bought the blue wool back in January I think. The red wool is stash and the trim I've had probably since I started sewing. I know I got it off of ebay many, many years ago. I got roughly 32 yards of it and probably still have about 20 yards after this project.

The above is roughly the style I was aiming for. I'm sure most readers have seen variations on the Cranach gowns before. First, I had to figure out how to make the puff and slashes without buttonhole binding each and every last one of the slashes. Luckily, Whilja's Corner has an excellent tutorial that I liberally used.  Since the wool I used is 100% wool and not the kind prone to fraying, I just stitched the corners of the diamonds back and stitched the slashes open.  I then put a piece of linen the same length as the red wool behind the red wool and sewed the top and bottom trim pieces to this length of fabric.  Then, I sewed this piece to the blue wool that would be the skirt.

For the bodice, my inspiration came from a 16th century Hungarian Bodice although the trim placement is similar to many other regional styles at that time. Really, this dress was an excuse to finally use this trim.  There are some examples of trim being applied around the slash and puff part of the dress, such as above.  The second lady in in this collection of pictures also appears to have trim around the puff and slash - similar to what I've done here.

The lady above also appears to have trim both above and below the slash marks.

For the skirt, I did a pseudo-box pleat that I attached to the bodice and then sewed a piece of linen to encase the pleats and the bodice edge.  The skirt extended about an inch beyond the bodice, which gave me a nice bridge for the skirt gap in front, but also made the linen inner belt/encasing piece very necessary.  For the pleat, going right, the pleat looks normal, going left, the pleat is double what it should be for all except the first front pleats.  This allowed me to use twice as much material in the skirt so I could get the correct volume in the skirts.  The skirt itself is 184" (467 cm) in width - or a little over 15 feet (4.6 m).  So yes, the waist is bulky.  By using the linen encasing strip, I'm directing that bulkiness down rather than having it sit up inside the bodice like I normally would.   I, amazingly, only destroyed one sewing machine needle sewing the pleats to the bodice.

I'll try to get better pictures in the morning.  I'm just glad it's done.

Back of dress

Detail of the linen casing inside the dress

Detail of the insides of the dress

Detail of the puff and slash

The dress :-)


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