Started May 2004, Finished May 2004

One of the things I love the most about the Leiden style is that I get the best parts of my two favourite styles: Tudor and German. I like the square necked bodices and turn back sleeves of the Tudors and the puff and slash sleeves of the Saxon princesses painted by Cranach. This dress had been on my list of dresses to make for a while. It was referred to as the “dress-in-a week” dress for a while, as I made it in a week as a result of deciding to go to a Kingdom event at the last minute. Since this name is away too long it has just become “the green dress”

I was able to make the entire dress in a week because luckily the bodice had already been re-patterned. It’s based on the bodice pattern from my pink dress however the neckline at the back has been raised substantially to give a line very similar to the one seen in this print. This is a very comfortable and flattering line. Otherwise the dress is constructed almost exactly the same as the pink dress, with the following differences:

The bodice has a layer of canvas in it, as I was unsure of the stability of the wool that I used for the dress. This was a marked improvement over the pink dress as it gave a lot more support, so I will be using canvas to line all of my bodices of this style in the future. There was no boning used so the unstructured look that I like so much in this style has not been diminished.

The pleats on the skirts are padded. As the wool I used was so fluffy I simply turned the waist edge under 3 times, which gave an appropriate weight to the pleats, and they can also now be used as a pincusion if so desired, as one of my lovely friends has pointed out!!

The sleeves obviously are quite different. These were patterned from some cotehardie sleeves I had made two years previously, with the inner sleeve folowing this pattern exactly. Tthe outer sleeve was made longer so that the slashes would puff out from the sleeve. The wool I was using was felted when I bought it and became even more so after it was put through the wash, so I simply cut the slashes in and didn’t have to edge them in any way. This has made them more unstructured than other slashes I have seen that are lined and edged, and in my opinion are more appropriate to this style than the structured slashes would have been. I created “fake” puffs by cutting strips of voile and inserting them under the slashes and stitching the inner sleeve, viole and outer sleeve together at each corner of the slash.

This dress was finished in a week, it was cut out on a Sunday and finished at 4.30pm of the following Saturday. This was only possible as I worked on it every night, and already had the accessories; the hat and partlet from the pink dress. I wouldn’t recommend making a dress in a week to anyone ever again, after a week of bending over the dress to handsew it, as well as being bent over a computer all day at work my back and neck were stuffed. However it’s good to knwo that when I need to I can produce a finished article in a week. Except the hem; I haven’t yet hemmed this dress as I could get away with cutting it and relying on the felting effect to keep the hemline intact. Curiously the only person who noticed this in the three times I have worn this dress was my Laurel.

The photo was taken in my backyard in the afternoon on a disposable camera, so my apologies for the quality. The strange green arc that cuts across the dress is not part of it, just something that came out in the printing process.There’s another couple of pictures on the Leiden Gollar page.

Image: “Samson and Delilah” 1515, Lucas van Leyden. Sourced from the Department of Art History, College of Arts and Sciences, Northwestern University Accessed 16 January, 2004.