Sunday, August 12, 2012


Square necked chemise based on the smock pattern generator at the Elizabethan Costuming page
The center section is 90" long by 19" wide, there is a square underarm gusset 7" square, there are two triangular gores at each side.  The sleeves are 30" long by 28" wide.  I put 5 box pleats at the top of the sleeves, ran the wrist area through my pleater, narrow rolled hemmed the length edges, and then turned the wrist edge over twice and stitched with a decorative machine stitch. 
For the square neck, I wanted a neck opening 7.5" wide by 8" long.  So I cut another piece of fabric larger than the desired opening and turned under the edges.
I pressed a line down the center and another at the shoulder.  The neckline opening is lower in the front than the back 5" from shoulder to center front opening, and 3" to center back opening.  I pressed marks into the facing to indicate the placement, matched press marks with the facing on the wrong side of the fabric and stitched.

Cut out the center, press, and flip the facing to the right side.  I used the same decorative machine stitch around the neckline as I used at the edge of the sleeves.
I narrow rolled hemmed all pieces and attached them together with a machine faggoting stitch.

First, I attached the square underarm gusset to one edge of the sleeve, then I stitched up the underarms starting 5" up from the wrist edge and pivoting at the gusset.  Next I assembled the triangular gores.  Then starting at the top of the shoulder, I attached the sleeve from the top of the shoulder down, at the end of the underarm gusset, I attached the side gore.  Finally I turned the piece around and starting at the same shoulder top, stitched down the rest of the sleeve, gore and gusset.

Here the left side is assembled, and the right side has the sleeve and gore placed where they will be attached.
As you can see, I cut the gores much too long.  They will be cut off and the bottom will have a narrow rolled hem.
To finish I will hand smock the wrist opening, add some small buttons and make button loops for closures.

So over a year later, I finally finished the chemise - here is a photo of the hand smocked cuffs.

Italian Tudor Renaissance Gown??!!

I've been commissioned to make the first Renaissance costume for a 15-year old young lady.  I took her measurements and mocked up a commercial pattern bodice for her, showed her several books for ideas - from 'Elizabethan Costuming for the Years 1550 -1580' to 'The Tudor Tailor' and 'Patterns of Fashion'.
Then we went off to the fabric store and found this gorgeous brocade:
Well, it says Italian Renaissance to me and period bodice pattern without princess seams due to the large motif.  So. I drafted up a period bodice pattern while Emily looked through the Tudor Tailor and fell in love with the Tudor sleeves.  Not my first choice, but that is what she wants!
I've cut out the skirt based on the Eleonora layout in Patterns of fashion - here are the parts ready for assembly:
For scale, the columns are about 12' apart.  I cut the front and back pieces with the same design in the brocade at the waist.  It would be impossible to match the pattern across the wedge shaped pieces, and since they did not do it in period - neither did I!  Next step is assembly and fitting.  We got a coordinating golden velveteen that will be used for a guard at the hem.
As soon as the customer gets her two-hoop skirt, we will have a fitting to hem!

Eleonora de Toldeo di Medici by Bronzino 1543

Eleonora de Toledo di Medici by Bronzio in 1543
I've been wanting to make this gown for a while and working up to it.  Last year I made a similar pearled partlet without a collar that I can use with this gown.  My bodice pattern works well, so the next step it to figure out how to make those sleeves.

After looking at the portrait, to me it looks like there are multiple panes on the sleeves and one of the panes is centered at the top of the shoulder.  So is it 4 or 5 panes?  At the right of the portrait, we see one of the panes which appears not to originate from the top of the shoulder but is the adjacent pane towards the front.  The panes attach to each other by pearled or beaded details.  I decided to mock up a 5-pane pattern.

I took a sleeve pattern from Patterns of Fashion p 114 that I had used previously and fits me well.
I drew a line lengthwise down the pattern and made lines parallel to the wrist at about 5cm intervals (about 2").  I measured the width of the sleeve at each of the intervals 0 to 55cm.  Then I made myself a spreadsheet:

from wrist/ cm
sleeve width/ cm
pane width/ cm
half pane/cm
pane/ inches
half pane / in

Next I took a clean sheet of paper, drew a long line, added the 5cm intervals, measured out one side the half pane width, folded it on the the long line and cut it out.  Then I made 4 more of the same.  Next step was adding the sleeve head curve to all of the strips.
I extended the sleeve head curve on my paper then placed the 5 pane strips next to each other with the bottom of each strip on a line for the wrist.  With 5 panes, there is a break between panes at the lowest point of the underarm and one of the panes is centered at the top of the shoulder.  Then I traced the sleeve head curve onto all pieces.
In period, they probably would have taken a sleeve pattern and just cut it into panes.  Since I want to center the couched motif down the center of the pane, I did not want curves in the pane pattern pieces.  I deliberately chose a pattern that is not likely to be period accurate, but will most likely achieve the look of the protrait.
The portrait shows a puff or turn back at the top of each pane where the sleeve meets the shoulder strap.  Others have lengthened the sleeves to create these puffs.  There is an example here:
On my mockup, I placed the pattern pieces on scrap fabric, cut the sleeve curve and part way down the sides then slid each pattern piece down 5" for the puff.

After cutting out, I marked 2.5" intervals up from the wrist and also 5" down from the shoulder.  When I was asking in a Facebook group for other costumer's opinions on the number of panes and the construction methods, one of the suggestions was when making a mockup, draw in your proposed trim.  I am planning to couch gold cord down in the pattern on the portrait on only three panes of each sleeve and leave the underarm panes plain.  Next step was to tack the panes together for a fitting.

Please admire the lovely red bar tacks at each 2.5" interval!  I folded back the 5" extensions at the top of each pane and it worked out OK with the center decorated pane because it is relatively flat at the top.  All the others were horrible because of the angles.
I'm totally giving up on the idea of making the puffs as an extension of the sleeve panes.  In addition, I am worried about the additional bulk of puffs in the armpit.  Although, I have to admit, I have been wearing the mockup while generating this post and it really hasn't bothered me.
My current puff idea which I have not mocked up is very unlikely to be the way it was done in period.  The weather here can be quite warm, so we frequently remove our sleeves - preventing heat stroke wins out over historical accuracy every day of the week!  I'm thinking of making the puffs separate from the sleeves so that they can be attached to the shoulder straps with or without the sleeves.  I'll measure along the sleeve head curve and make puffs that width by 5" long.
Next step, is to figure out how to do the couching!