Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sneak Peek at Florentine Gown

I've been working hard on my most recent gown: a 1550s Florentine dress in the style of Eleanor of Toledo's burial gown and countless other similar Florentines found in portraiture. It's nearly finished, so here's some pics I took during stages of its production.

Firstly, I have never made anything deliberately italian before. My gold silk "florentine" gown meant to be English before I knew better and could differentiate between regional fashions. This new gown was challenging but fun. The pattern I used was based off my friend Sarah's side-back lacing one drafted for her by Noelle. All I had to do was enlarge the whole thing by an inch around and make a few little tweaks. Unfortunately the bodice is a bit big, but hopefully my friends can lace me in nice and tight! At the left you can see the front piece of the bodice and the original sleeve attempt- I then decided to do poufs galore.



The sleeve pattern was really just a guessing game. I chose to have just two panes instead of the 3 or 4 typical for florentine sleeves- I felt that two rows of poufs and buttons would look sufficiently awesome (and it does). You can see how I just sewed linen strips between the panes and gathered them where the buttons were sewn on. I put them in 3 inch increments without even thinking about the sleeve length and got lucky! For the sleeve tops, instead of baragoni, I just sewed an oval shaped piece of linen to the sleeve head and shoulder strap, made ribbon loops, and the space between sleeve and strap can be pouffed without wearing a camicia underneath, just a typical smock. There are 34 buttons on the sleeves!

Here's the bodice with sleeves pinned on, before I made the sleeve head poufs. I like how it looks with my partlet, which I am so happy I made because it works with all my gowns. Fortunately the sleeves aren't really that full in real life! They're not too snug but still fitted.

And here we have the skirt starting to be attached. I did 1 inch cartridge pleats, padded with thick linen that comes all the way down to my hips for extra fullness. I am loving the thick pleats! I typically do teeny tiny ones but this gown called for fat ones! I usually wear a farthingale with my English gowns but I'll have to just use petticoats under this, so any extra padding is helpful. The skirt will have a gold silk guard at the hem to help keep it full.

All I have left to do is hem, add the guard, tack on the gold lace I've already ordered for the sleeve cuffs, add hook and eyes to the skirt edges, and hem the tucked-under sleeve ends with my new serger I'm getting for Xmas. I'm planning on wearing it in two weeks for 12th night in Salt Lake. I always seem to finish my projects well ahead of time, thank goodness! I am feeling damn proud of myself right now. PS: the whole garment is pattern-matched! I rarely use patterned fabric for this reason, but I like the impact it provides.

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