Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Aethelmeark Coronation 1560's Venetian gown

Dani somehow managed to sucker me back in to formally participating in the SCA and going to Nithgaard meetings and shit where she was teaching how to sew Venetian gowns and needed some assistance.  Dani also suckered me in to joining Pinterest.  So, after about three months of obsession and several long nights indoctrinating me in Game Of Thrones, we made dresses for Coronation.

This portrait was my main inspiration, and what really got me jonesing for punched sleeves.

Just like my Curious Purse, this gown was a Proof of Concept.  In 1560, they would have used a felted wool that had been lightly backed with wax to better keep it from fraying when it was punched.  I was lucky to find a synthetic fabric at Surplus City in a perfect black/rust crossweave.

First I made the bodice with a layer of canvas duck and another of a cheaper and thicker canvas I'd been storing for about eight Pennsics.  I sewed channels for boning and then added the decorative fabric which was hand stitched in place.

I bought ten yards of boning and failed miserably trying to cut it with regular snips. Luckily a hefty pair was $12 at Lowes and I'll probably end up using them for a lot more things in the future.

I made sure I got a very sharp point in the back of my bodice, and that all the channels were properly closed so the bones didn't escape.

In theory, the front should be able to come completely closed at the bottom and have a five inch gap at the top.  This looked well and dandy on the floor, but I did not like this proportion once I put it on.  I should have brought the top in a couple of inches for a more vertical line.  Meh, it's not the end of the world.

Next came a shitload of cartridge pleating.  It was remarkably simple and faster than it probably should have.  After reinforcing the pleats, I attached the top front edge to the bottom of the bodice.  This could have been great, but it definitely needed some help to stick out.  Either the stiff band that everybody tells you to add but you are still going to be too lazy to do, or a bum roll.

Then, came the sleeves.  I took full advantage of this being synthetic and used a pyrograph to cut through the fabric and melt the edge so it wouldn't fray.

Like I said, this was a proof of concept.  After everything was cut out, I had to sew this to a fake chemissette sleeve for it to hold its shape.  It is then that I realized that the beautifully intricate pattern was going to be a little bitch and curl away from my arm at every possible chance.  So I proceeded to tack down every other tab. Meh, whatevs.  I also didn't like visually how open the design was (which was originally what I thought I wanted).

Three strands of pearls and a $2 hair extension later, I was ready to roll.  Mind you, I had to wrap my braid around my head so it didn't get caught in the seat belt.

Too bad I didn't get a picture of the extra long braid encased in "pearls".  It was glorious.

PS: Hand sewing is bad for you.  I left a very significant hole in my finger from several continuous months of projects (not that I'm complaining that I'm finally sewing again!).

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