Thursday, August 11, 2011

Clarice Gown Finished!

For the IRCC I have been making two coordinating gowns that I can mix and match with.  One of the gowns is based on a portrait of Clarice Ridolfi Altoviti painted by Cristofano dell'Altissimo in 1550-1555 at the Galleria Palatina in Florence.

Since the portrait is from slightly above the waist, I had to imagine what the skirt would have looked like.  I chose to make a split front skirt based on the pattern of Eleonora de Toledo's burial clothes and have a strip of the slashing/pinked design down either side of the center front.  Here is my interpretation of the gown:
getting help with side back lacing

Front view

Back View

The most challenging part was designing the layout of the pinking/slashing design because on the sleeve and the bodice it tapers from top to bottom.  As far as the most time consuming part - it is a toss-up between the following:
  • making the petal-shaped cuts larger by folding the fabric twice and cutting with scissors
  • sealing all the cut edges with a fray guard
  • stitching the beads on the bodice and sleeves

Doublet with hanging sleeves and spiral sleeves complete!

My doublet with hanging sleeves and spiral sleeves based on a woodcut of a Neopolitan woman for the IRCC challenge is finally complete!
Since my sedan chair and bearers were not available, we had to make do with a chair in my parent's garden to take photos!  I'm very pleased and believe that I have captured the look of the woodcut.  Below are additional photos.

detail of hanging sleeve and spiral sleeve

buttoned part way up

buttoned closed
back view

Completing the Compass Cloak

In previous posts, I have shown how the right side and the lining of the compass cloak were made....  Now to put it all together!

The bottom border is a 5" wide bias strip of taffeta.  I laid it on my cutting mat, placed one ruler 1.25" in from one long edge and cut perpendicularly into the strip at 2" intervals using the other ruler as a stop so I ended up with something that looked like an exaggerated fringe.  On the right side of the cloak, I placed the border strip with the cut side facing the center and the uncut side hanging about 1" over the bottom hem.  I pinned it all down at the hem, then I took each cut section and twisted it twice and pinned it down.  Then I ran a row of basting stitches a the bottom and the top of the slashes through the right side of the cloak.  I stitched down a gold trim over the top of the twisted trim.

The collar is made from one layer of pin-tucked taffeta (right side), wool interlining, and plain taffeta for the lining.  The next step was to sandwich the collar between the right side of the cloak and the lining (add a ribbon loop at the center back for hanging), stitch up the center front opening, around the neck edge, back down the other center front, trim, turn, and press.
I laid the cloak lining side up on the floor, did a little trimming at the hem to make the pieces match, pinned them together, stitched the bottom row of trim though the front and lining to anchor the sections together, turned under the edge of the 5" bias edge trim to the lining side, pinned down and hand stitched to finish.

The final touch was to stitch down two metal clasps for closure at the center front.  And since no outfit is complete without cat hair....  as you can see in the detail below, my cat helped out also!

 Finally a photo with one front section turned back to see the pinked lining and the pocket.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Taffeta Skirt

Me and my daughter in Pisa gown
A month before the IRCC was announced, I made a brand new bodice, skirt and sleeves based on the Pisa gown.  For the IRCC I planed to make several interchangeable pieces that would require a burgundy taffeta skirt.  As it turns out, the Pisa gown fits my daughter and she needs new renn garb, so I plan to give it to her.
So, I needed a new burgundy taffeta skirt.
Hancock Fabrics carries this taffeta (they call the color cranberry) in plain and in a pin-tucked version.  I used the pin- tucked in my compass cloak and as accent strips on a set of sleeves.
For my new skirt, I decided to use a strip of the pin-tucked fabric down the center front of the skirt and another band at the hem.  Since the fabric is so lightweight, I decided to use three widths of fabric in the skirt.  I have made several skirts based on the Eleonora de Toledo di Medici burial skirts with the gored sections.  However, this once, I decided to do something the easier way and just use three ungored widths of fabric because I did not feel like dealing with the curved section of the gore and the pin-tucked band.... After all, everyone has to take the easy route some time!
I cut the center font pin-tucked band 5" wide.  I split two sections of the fabric in half lengthwise - one for the center front addition of the pin-tucked section and anther so I would not have a seam in the center back.
Well, I made one thing easy, so I had to complicate something else.  I am PARANOID about the safety of my ID and other valuables while at renfaire.  Therefore, I like to have a non-period zip pocket hidden in my skirt since I KNOW that I will NEVER loose my skirt.  So... where do I hide a pocket????
How about right behind the center front pin-tucked section?  I sewed an invisible zipper into the right hand section of the seam between the two fabrics.

I used one width of fabric for the front and two for the back.  Other than the decorative pin-tucked strip down the center front, the front section is double box pleated and the back is triple box pleated.
After I got the waistband attached - my friend Molly  marked the hem for me and I cut it level before attaching the lower band.

The bottom band is cut 6.5" wide out of pin-tucked and plain taffeta and a 2" wide taffeta bias strip pressed in half.  The bias strip is sewn between one end of the two long strips.  After the seam was pressed open, a narrow strip of horsehair braid was sewn to the seam allowance.  The pin-tucked side of the strip was attached to the right side of the skirt with a 1" seam.  The seam was pressed towards the plain taffeta skirt and then the skirt fabric was pressed down over the seam.. 

The center front of the bodice would add to the disguise but it need a little more....  I used fingernail polish to paint the zipper pull burgundy and hand stitched a coordinating trim down the seamline.

hiding the zipper pull with nail polish and trim

Then a row was stitched where the pin-tucked fabric met the skirt fabric while horsehair braid was pushed into the tuck.  The tuck was pressed down over the pin-tucked band. Finally, the bottom bias strip was snipped and hooks were added to the wasitband.

Inserting the horsehair braid while sewing the hem tuck.

Update - the skirt needed to be a little longer.  So I took out the tuck, removed the band and re-stitched it with a 5/8" seam allowance instead of the 1" I had originally done.
The tuck to hide the raw edges is a very easy and neat way to finish the bottom of a skirt.

Lining for Compass Cloak

Since I can't seem to do anything the simple way.......  I decided the lining for the cloak needed some embellishment - pinking to be precise.  I cut the lining out of the taffeta and white cotton for the peek through fabric.  I sewed the shoulder seams on the taffeta, pinned the shoulder seams together,  then basted through all four layers (right front the back folded in half and the left front).  Using an exacto knife I cut out the pinking pattern through all four layers at once.  I turned my cutting mat upside down for the pinking step.  After finishing with the cutting, I removed the basting threads.  Next step was to sew the shoulder seams on the white cotton.  Then I layered the white cotton with seams down with the burgundy taffeta on top and carefully lined up the neckline, center front, and hem.  I pinned all over then used a double needle to stitch parallel rows between the cuts.  The stitching at the center front and center back is vertical.  Since the cloak is not a full circle, the stitching changes angle at the shoulder seams.

To continue with the I can't keep it simple theme... I decided I needed pockets.  Patch pockets would have been too easy!  First I made a pattern about 11 inches wide with the top fold on the diagonal and the bottom edges angled to match the corner of the center front and bottom hem.  I cut it out to pink flannel  - because that is what I had in the fabric stash and stitched a piece of  the taffeta over the area that would be visible through the pocket opening.  Then I made two welts and marked a 1" wide box in the center of each.  I placed the welts on the right side of the lining and stitched around the box.  Then the pocket was laid out flat right side to right side of lining over welt.  From the wrong side of the lining, I stitched through all layers following the stitching lines of the box in the center of the welt.  I carefully cut down the center of the box and towards each corner, pulled the pocket to the inside and pressed.  I lifted the edges of the welt and topstitched the opened pocket to the lining in an area that would be hidden when the welt was topstiched down.  With the pocket still flat, I topstiched around the bottom and sides of the welt.  Turning to the wrong side, I pinned the edges of the pocket together and stitched the pocket closed.  Turning back to the right side, I topstitched the top of the welt down. 
Embellished lining was finished - next step was to attach to the cloak.