My next project is a dress for the Barony of Rowany’s Yule Feast. It also comes from the Tapestry of David and Bathsheba – a woman from the front left foreground of the tapestry.


Group of women in foreground of the tapestry

Group of women in foreground of the tapestry

Here’s a close up:

What I can see:

Dress – Skirt and bodice like all other dresses in this tapestry, and many other tapestries and portraits of the time, i.e. it’s a transition era dress. This specific variant has a curved front to the bodice, and I think it’s more likely to have a V in the back, rather than the high-backed trapezoid style from my other Dutch Transition Style Gowns.

It has a black edge along the bodice.

The skirt is open at the sides, like the dresses seen in the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, and the woman in this image. Unlike the Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries this skirt is caught together with jewels or ouches. The skirt edge is decorated with a line of pearls, possibly placed over a coloured edge.

Her sleeves are reminiscent of Germanic and Spanish sleeves of this era. They are made of two parts, and tied into the sleeve cap. They are slashed in 4-5 places, and have the long drapey elbow that you see in Spanish portraits of the time – I’m going to need a very wide sleeved chemise for this one.

She is wearing a coif and a barret on her head, which is tied under her chin. The barret is seen at a variety of angles throughout the tapestry on both men and women, which should make it easy to recreate.

A close-up detailed view I found on Flickr shows that she is wearing a rounded high-necked embroidered partlet, or a  rounded high necked chemise. This is consistent with most other tapestries of this style from this period, and is certainly on my to-do list at some stage. Not sure it will be done for Yule Feast.

What I will use:

A friend of mine has promised teal velvet that I can use for the dress, which is lovely (and exciting). I have some jewels from a bracelet supply store for the sides of the dress. Glass, or very good plastic, pearls will need to be ordered for the skirt border and hem. I will use the acetate satin for the bodice edge, as I did with the Black on Black on Black Gown. I’ll be sourcing some voile for the chemise, perhaps a patterned one if I can find it.

I have some bronze silk that I may turn into a quick coif based on Genoveva’s goldhuabe pattern, since the lady standing next to this figure has a coif which is more German in shape than many of the Flemish and Dutch coifs that I’ve seen, and in fact look exactly like the Cranach woman on Genoveva’s page.

The barret will be made from felt which I will need to purchase. The fabric store up the road has a variety of colours, so I need to decide if it will be the murrey in the picture, or the blue of the lady next to the main figure. I’ll probably use the barret pattern from All the King’s Servants as the basis for the hat, splitting the brim more often than that pattern does. Also, I have make some embroidered designs for each split in the brim at some stage, although this will be a lower priority.

To be decided:

Does this dress open at the front, as is most common for transition gowns, or at the side, in keeping with a split skirt? A survey of the Lady and Unicorn tapestries may give the answer.

How full will the skirt be, and therefore how many pearls will I need? I’d like to use Hunnisett’s circle skirt pattern again, I just need to determine if that’s going to sit properly on the open side seam.

Do I cut the front in one piece, or with a waist seam? Currently tending towards one piece, and wheel pieces to give the front sweep of skirt.

Exactly how am I going to pattern and construct the sleeves? I’ve built slashed sleeves before, so it’s more about the layout of each piece. Also slashes on velvet is very different to slashes on fulled wool. Coming soon: A survey of Germanic slashed sleeves on Dutch and Flemish women of this period to help this decision.