This project is coming along well (see this post for design decisions and overall vision, and this one for the first progress update), despite having to do everyday things like go to work and sleep and general life admin.
My aim is to get the gown finished, except for the gold painted skirt hem and possibly the lower sleeves, in time for an event in Canberra next weekend. This is achievable given I have taken a much-needed week off work to indulge my creative muse. Here’s the current status of each element of the project.
- The bodice is completely finished; all seam edges are finished; all lacing holes are done; the black satin edging around the neckline has been attached. The only thing left to do is to add the bronze lacing rings to attach the sleeves.
- I found the perfect weight of lining fabric in a colour that is subtle and tones in with the lines in the partlet- a blue damask which came into the shops just in time for Christmas tablecloths (apparently this is a thing, according to the lady at the cutting counter). It has the usual damask floral motif, which I wouldn’t use on the outside of a transition gown, but quite like as a secret-subtle design in the lining. Also, I am in love with the drape it give the outer velveteen – I will feel luxurious (and hot) in this gown.
- The back skirt has been assembled. Lining attached, with a strip of felt sandwiched between the outer and lining to give extra oomph to the pleats. I have sewn cotton tape, folder over the seam, to the top of the skirt to finish that edge before it is attached to the bodice. I had a goat setting in the pleats over the weekend (see photo below), but screwed up my maths, ending up with six pleats, not five. However I was really, really pleased with the bulk of the pleats with the current padding. My plan is to use the method described in The Queen’s Servants to set and pad the pleats so they look as deep and drapey as those seen in tapestries.
Still left to do:
- Pleat skirt back into bodice. Specifically: cut wadding and stitch it into rolls; box pleat skirt and catch the corners; insert the wadding and sew into the pleats; attach to back of bodice. (by end Saturday)
- Pattern, cut and make up the sleeves. (start on Monday, finish over the week)
- Finish skirt edges with a contrasting bias trim. I’m thinking a mustard/gold silk – something that picks up the subtle strip in the partlet. (Sunday)
- Hem skirts and finish with the same trim. (Start on Tuesday, finish over the week)
- Face the skirt edge, as I plan to have a fair bit of ‘puddle’ in this skirt and so need something to protect the damask. (Start on Tuesday, in concert with the guard on the skirt edge)
- Catch the skirt edges closed with the findings I purchased specifically for it (Friday)
Mostly done. Needs to be hemmed (Saturday), and then gold fabric paint applied to hem.
I originally researched the use of paint on clothing in the period for a-yet-to-be-completed gown. A paper called Whips and Angels: Painting on cloth in the medieval period looks at the use of paint on fabric in this era, noting that court painters would be commissioned to paint “clothing with gold and silver” (Kestrel, Whips and Angels, pg14). This is my plan, since I do not currently have the time or skill to embroider a deep band of gold work onto a hemline, also I like the idea of a flash of gold peeking out from under this gown.
This is 3/4 finished, and has been my away-from-home portable project. I’m midway through stitching the second band onto the hood. I then need to gather in the back of the hood, and attach a strip of velvet to the front to help it grip my hair better, and then it should be done. (Thursday & Friday night this week)
Also 3/4 finished, and has been another away-from-home portable project.
My goal with this item was to entirely hand sew it, as it is a simple item. It is currently waiting on the gown skirt to be attached so I can shape the neckline and check the front closure. Then a final hem and it will be done. (Thursday next week, as I need to be out and about)