As if I didn’t already have enough going on ( 😉 ), I’ve been doing a lot of reading and researching of garb.
You’d think that after playing in the SCA for almost a full three years, that I’d have my persona set — especially after achieving the rank of Artisan in the Order of the Courtier, which requires persona development and research.
Um, no. 😛
While I am fascinated by fashion and clothing styles from the mid 1200s through the end of the Elizabethan Age, I keep coming back to the late 1400s in Italy. They’re just… flattering. Elegant. Comfortable!
I made a 1480s Venetian-style gown for myself from a Simplicity pattern (#8735) about a year into our SCA hobby, and I keep coming back to it. Yeah, J and I are supposed to portray Tudor England. Yeah, I bought a bunch of lovely, luxurious fabrics a couple months ago with the full intention of doing a complete Tudor ensemble for myself… but I just can’t stop oogling 1475-1510s Venice.
Hi, my name is Lady Emma, and I’m addicted to the Italian Renaissance…
Now, I love that Simplicity pattern #8735. It is actually quite close to what it needs to be for historical accuracy… but in my learning process, I can look at my first attempt at this style and see room for improvement. Here’s how I’m building this outfit from the base up, with an eye toward a more accurate representation:
Step one, begin with embellishing a simple snood with pearls. Embellished snoods (beaded with jewels and other pretty/precious materials) were all the rage for wealthier women. Anything to showcase a woman’s “crowning glory” (her hair). Beading my snood was incredibly time-consuming, so I interspersed them across the weave. If I find I want/need more on there, I can always stitch some more at a later date.
And the finished product:
Now, I had a rather voluminous houppelande (minimum 10 yards of fabric) sitting in my closet that I wore a couple of times, but was not satisfied with for various reasons (the huge sleeves made it very difficult to do anything around camp, plus, it really pre-dated the time I’m fascinated with). So I decided that rather than waste such lovely material (royal blue taffeta lined with sheer white muslin), that I would repurpose it. And there was plenty. J helped me out by taking out all the seams, and then, modifying a blouse pattern from a Butterick “wench’s” outfit (#P413), I cut out the muslin.
Modifications included lengthening the shirt by almost a full 24 inches, adding two triangular gores in the sides for extra space (pregnant bellies insist on prime real estate…), and pleating rather than gathering. Per historical custom, I pleated the neckline and shoulders into a narrow band, choosing to pleat more over the shoulders to assist in the “poufy” look. Since I’m also a bard and require minimum interference at the wrist, I chose to also gather the sleeves into a narrow, fitted cuff (so the fabric doesn’t mute the strings of my instrument).
Step three: cutting out the “mockado” fabric… Stay tuned!