Friday, 22 January 2016

Remaking the blue dress - Step 1 & 2

 Plotting at Great Northern War (2013?)

I've had my blue linen dress for a couple of years. I made it last minute for a tourney and feast in Atlantia. One thing I've always disliked about the dress is the hem was tacked up and contains at least 30cm of additional fabric. While this helps the drape quite a bit, it makes the skirt quite weighty. I also used hooks and eyes as fastenings, which are reasonably unobtrusive against a white chemise but they're not period. They're the good hooks and eyes with the little kink which means they don't pop open but still. Also, the fit isn't quite right. It doesn't hurt my back like my last blue linen dress but the arm holes are slightly too tight and my bust has changed since creation. Lace around a chamise should not be a requirement of wearing a dress.

I considered remaking this dress for Krae Glas's Ehrentag 2015 event but I gave up on the idea because I ran out of time as per usual. Instead of rushing through the remake, I'm going to take my time and hopefully end up with a late period dress I can be happy with. My first task is to fix the hem that's been bothering me for so long.

Task two, find a period reference as inspiration.

Domenico Ghirlandao, Birth of St John the Baptist 1486-90 Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella, Florence

I started the remake by finding something similar in some extant art (above). The reference had to fit the basic features of the current dress - circular neckline, cartridge pleated skirt which starts at the natural waistline and no/detachable sleeves. Thus the new dress will be patterned on late 15th century Italian fashions.

The dress in 15th century Italian, is called a gamurra. There is a nice collection of similar images on a blog called Sophie Stitches. It looks like the come in a range of colours, with or without sleeves which may or may not match the main colour. The dress appears to lace up the front or at the sides. Removing the hooks and eyes and replacing them with a more period approach will be my next step.

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