Monday, August 22, 2011

The dress research and plan

I have decide upon a inspiration portrait. The painting above has the "prosperous without being a noble" feel that makes me feel like this could be budget friendly and beautiful at the same time. I found a dress diary that believes that the sweetheart line in this painting and others is a very sheer chemise but I believe it is a ribbon (with a key or something tucked into the dress) not a chemise. Cranach defines even sheer layers in most of his paintings with some type of color and/or texture and there is no evidence of that in the portraits I have studied.

I have a game plan and the start for a shopping list. My husband compared my dress plans with our need to replace the roof over the garage in terms of budget. I really should avoid showing him grand plans for projects and several nights of research all at once. lol. My plan begins with the chemise of course. I spent long nights squinting at portraits and paintings and have decided to make two chemises. The gowns are shown with two types of chemise, a high neck gathered chemise and a low neck chemise that really does not show at all. The high neck chemise will be very light and I plan to search out some sheer silk $$$, the low neck chemise will be made out of light linen that I believe is somewhere in my stash. The portrait to the right shows the low chemise and some markings of the layers made by Naergi

For the dress itself may be changing a color. I was planning on the dress being pink with dark green guards but after looking for any portrait with a dress other then red and gold I believe a blue with pink accents will look better. I found a couple of portraits with green and gold and the contrast was beautiful.

I recently was given some wool that I think will be quite nice. I will use a standard bodice pattern with the front cut away and gather the skirt with rolled pleats attached to a waistband and then attached to the bodice. I am feeling very empowered by this dress. There are no extant examples to limit my theories so I can decide how best to make things work for me using period construction methods known to be used at the time and my own conclusions. The only extant dress I am aware of is the wedding gown for Mary of Hungary. Its not a cranach gown and I believe there are pieces missing or misinterpreted.

The fun part will be deciding how the "brustfleck" will be attached and to which layer. I believe we are looking at three layers. A chemise, an under bodice made of a stiff or reinforced fabric that may have the brustfleck attached to the top and the outer dress which may have the brustfleck attached in some way. My fourth layer will be a goller made from black velvet or wool and lined with linen. I will be making the underbodice layer as an entire bodice rather then a stomacher because I am a big girl and I want the dress to look smooth and hold me in without unsightly bulges, It will be smooth and supportive preventing any creasing from interfering with the lacing. I will be using canvas with possibly some hemp reinforcment and white linen as the outer layer hiding any boning channels. It is going to take some experimentation to decide how it will go together and I am working to fit a bodice that will look right and feel right.

Monday, August 15, 2011


I am excited to be part of the Artemisian Costuming Challenge. After much research I have decided to do a Cranach gown for the following reasons
  1. I get excited when I think about the embroidery.
  2. I have always wanted to make a German style dress.
  3. I can make up a story that fits my persona into that country and timeperiod with too much trouble.
I did immediately have a nightmare that I made the gown and went to an event and everyone else was wearing the same thing but given the recent trend in Italians I think I'm safe.

The dress itself will be relatively simple and I think I have fabric that will work. It is a dusty rose colored cotton fabric for the main part of the dress and a very dark green cotton for the guards. I am still debating whether I will add a gollar to the outfit. If I do I have black velvet and black wool to choose from and linen for the lining. here are some pictures of the fabric. The first is taken outside in full sun and the second is inside. The darker image for the pink is more accurate but the green looks better in full sun.