“Sew 17th century Challenge” – The Bodice (part 2 – foundation)

Lets continue on with the bodice:
(read the previous posts in this series here: costume analysis, skirt, coif, fur shawl, bodice part 1)

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The first thing to do (once I had a working pattern) was to make the foundation for the bodice.IMG_7433So I cut two of every piece in a sturdy unbleached linen, and basted them togeter.

Then I penned the boning channels (using some of my books as guides).IMG_7435

I stitched all the channels and then attached the pieces to each-other.IMG_7488

Then it was time to ad the boning.IMG_7507I used synthetic whalebone, and cut each piece to match the channels.
The whalebone itself is not as strong as metal or reed, but it is lightweight and in a fully boned bodice like this the thin quality is to prefer (in my opinion)

The one thing that worried me most was the “shrinkage” almost always caused by adding boning.
The thinness of the whalebone was really necessary to keep the difference in size as small as possible (the thicker the bones the bigger the size difference).IMG_7508You can clearly see the difference from left side (boned) to right side (un-boned) in this picture.

Once all the bones was inserted, I put it on for a try.
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IMG_7524It looks awesome, and with some minor adjustments (like adding a few more bones to the front and back) I was good to go.

I love how beautiful the interior is before being covered up.  IMG_7786

Then it was time to start on the exterior fabric.

After keeping my eyes open in my local fabric store since January, in June, I finally decided to take the 1 hour trip to the next towns fabric store (which is awesome by the way).
And I did not regret it.

Not only did I find lots of delicious taffeta’s and viscose, I also found this perfect dark red synthetic silk. 20150808_121343_resizedIt’s a bit darker in real life

Since the fabric was a bit slippery and thin, I decided to stitch it together using my sewing machine before adding the strengthening and decoration hand finishing on top.
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Then it was time to cover the foundation in red faux silk.
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I’d accidentally made the outer layer a bit to big at the side seam, and tried to pin it down to fit.
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After some fiddling I decided to let it be for now, and to take the excess in later if needs be – better to big then to small.
(a very wise choice as it proves later on)

The linen lining was a bit easier to fit into the bodice.
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Once the main bodice pieces was basted down I started working on the sleeves.
Drafting the pattern using my books as a guide.
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Then I just basted the red fabric to the interning (aka lining), stitched the seam together  and pinned the pleats.
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I pleated the sleeves by hand, and sewed chains of thread to keep the pleats in place.
And finished them of by folding some self fabric trim round the lower edge. IMG_7815The sleeves ready to be set.

Then I set the sleeves to the bodice and finished by binding the arm holes using bias tape.IMG_7833

Next up – the finishing touches

“Sew 17th century Challenge” – The Bodice (part 1 – The pattern)

The last piece I needed to complete the “Sew 17th century challenge” was also the main piece – the bodice.
Read about the other garments here: Skirt, Cufs,Coif, Fur Shawl
And to make this post a bit lighter I’ve cut it up in a few manageable pieces.
First up – The Pattern

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When researching the bodice I found several different patterns*, and after some narrowing things down, I ended up with two finalists to make into mock-ups. Both from Waughs “Corset and Crinolines”

The first pattern I picked was “1660s bodice lining”
It has the perfect neck scope and shoulders, and the much need lacing down the front.
The only thing I’m missing is the tabs down the hips.1650 waugh

I scanned the pattern, opened it in Paint and changed the printer settings to 400%
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Then I cut all the pieces and taped them together. IMG_7342

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I traced the pieces and made some alteration to my measurements.IMG_7354

Then it was time to bring out the cotton sheeting to cut the mock-ups.IMG_7356

I added boning at some vital places, and my pre-made lacing strip to the font, to get a more accurate fitting.
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IMG_7396I really liked how the pattern fitted my body – both comfortable and strong.
I also like the look of the off-the-shoulder sleeves, even though I can hardly lift my arms.

The next pattern to try was the “1680s court bodice”.
1680 waugh

I printed, attached and sewed the pieces in the same way as before.
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IMG_7378I love the shape it gives me, but It’s not nearly as comfortable as the previous one.
I’ll have to move the lacing to the front on this one, and to do some serious editing to the sleeves and neckline.

Hm, which one to choose…

In the end I opted for the “1660s bodice lining.

IMG_7406Creative mess, right?

So then it was back to the drawing table to ad some tabs to the otherwise perfect pattern.
IMG_7390I even tried it on with my (at the time) almost finished skirt.
Pretty rough, but you get the idea if the shape.

*I found patterns for 17th century stays and bodices in almost every book covering this period: Waugh’s “Cut of Womens Clothes”, Arnold’s “Pattern of fashion” and “Seventeen-Century Women’s Dress Patterns” by North & Tiramani.

Next up – making the foundation…

“Sew 17th century Challenge” – Fur Shawl

The next thing to be made after the skirt, cuffs and coifs (not exactly but I’m twisting the order of things in my attempt to postpone the unpreventable showing of the bodice) was the fur shawl .

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I drafted the shawl pattern using the bodice pieces as a guide.IMG_7404Drafting from the bodice neckline

The only tricky part about the pattern was trying to get the scale right.IMG_7408

I tried the paper pattern over my bodice mock-up.  IMG_7417(Spoiler alert 1 . bodice mock-up)

When I was happy with the size I cut the piece in my favorite faux fur fabric
(previously used in my brown velvet cape and 19th century fur hat)
IMG_7419I also used some leftover linen for interlining and a small piece of lightly brow woolIMG_7418

I started by basting the linen to the fur to get a bit more stability.IMG_7424

Then I pinned and stitched the wool to the fur by hand.
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Trying the almost finished shawl on my dresform. IMG_7452(Spoiler alert 2 – bodice foundation)

The last thing to do was to make some ties form scraps of the skirt material.

The finished shawl:
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The facts:

What: A faux fur shawl, which work for pretty much every era from 1500-1950s

Pattern: I drafted my own using my bodice neckline as a guide.

Fabric & Notions: 20 cm faux fur, 20 cm linen for interning, 20 cm soft wool for lining, thread, hook and eyes and scraps of fabric for ties.

How historical accurate: Not really. Its pretty obvious the fur is fake, but I did look at originals to copie and used materials (except the fur) and construction techniques. Maybe 5/10

Time: 3 hours – completely hand stitched.

Cost: Nothing, since everything came from stash scraps.

Final Thoughts: I love how simple and fast the whole process went an dhow extremely versatile the shawl is.
It will fit almost anybody in any given timeperiod. Such a perfect garment/accessorie.

“Sew 17th century Challenge” – Coif (much needed head-wear)

The one thing I felt would be the hardest to replicate in my chosen painting was not one of the clothing pieces, but the girls beautiful hairdo.

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My short red modern hairstyle do not lend itself well to even the easiest of historical hairdos.
I’ve tried hairpieces and wigs but never been totally happy with it – try to blend or attach hairpieces to a non existing do, or wear a wig when the small red hair at your sideburns take every opportunity to escape.

No, the only time I feel I actually can get away (barley) with my modern hairdo is while wearing a fully covered head-cloth, hat, bonnet, turban etc.

So what to do?

I needed to find an appropriate head coverage to make.
So on to the ever knowing Pinterest I went.

And found two alternatives that I really liked:

The simple head-cloth with its adorable turned up brim.The Glass of Wine (detail), c.1661, Johannes Vermeer.

Vermeer coif

And the smaller Coif, which may not cover all of the hair, but probably would work better together with my bodice and fur collar and still giving me some neck. 1662_lacemaker_netscherI almost wish I’ve found this painting earlier, so to make this as my 17th century project instead…

This example is worn with a forhead cloth – perfect for taming my short and flying bangs. a4693bed8c066a9777bbe705b7d6accf_resized

Patterns for this kind of coif can be found in almost every book covering this period in time.
But I choose to use the great pattern/tutorial from “The pragmatic costumer
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So this weekend I drafted the pattern – following the awesomely easy instructions.IMG_7925

While drafting I decide to not make a mock-up but a kind of working toile instead.
So I dug through my fabrics and found this lovely patterned golden polyester fabric, I’ve bought with 17th century doublet, dress or waistcoat in mind.
IMG_7926Yep, it’s really that narrow.

So I cut the pieces in golden polyester and white left over linen fabric.
I also added some pieces for the forehead-cloth. IMG_7929

As a “mock-up” I didn’t wanted to wast any time making it up, so I stitched the whole coif on the sewing machine.IMG_7931First seams ready, time to turn and press.

Then I folded the channel for the gathering cord.IMG_7933

I sigzaged the back seam and basted around the opening to get a nice closed top.
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The technique was almost the same as in the hood on my 18th century red riding hood.

And lastly I put in the gathering cord.IMG_7953

IMG_7952They look so small and cute – and actually quite good in this fabric.

Finished forehead cloth:IMG_7951

Finished gold patterned Coif:
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***

Then it was on to the real deal.

IMG_7928Nice linen /cotton blend ready for the linen thread and needle.

This time I only cut one of each piece (omitting the lining) to reduce the stiffness and bulky feeling I got from the patterned one.

I just whinged it on the size of the forehead cloth, and it seemed to work nicely on the test run, so I use the same size on the linen one.IMG_7956

One thing I changed on this one was hemming the center back opening before gathering it – this way makes for a much nicer finish.IMG_7940

I also added some scrap lace to the outer edge.IMG_7938

IMG_7937Getting the gathering cord ready.

IMG_7954like a baby’s cap…

Finished linen coif:IMG_7957

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The Facts:

Challenge: nr 7-2015 Accessorize

What: Two 1550-1650s Coif

Pattern: Based on “The pragmatic Costumer”s pattern tutorial (which was awesome)

Fabric & Notions: (for both coifs) 30 cm linen fabric, 30 cm patterned gold polyester fabric, thread, 50 cm (x 2) thin cord and 60 cm small lace.

How historical Accurate: The linen coif are pretty straight on – accurate pattern, material and stitches. About 8/10
The patterned one are completely modern – polyester fabric and machine construction. More like 5/10

Time: 3 hours total for both (linen 2,5 hours, patterned 0,5 hours).

Cost: About 80 Sek (10 Usd) total.

First Worn: hopefully someday soon for photos.

Final Thoughts: I really like the way they both came out. So simple and fast – I even consider the possibility to make and sell these in a near future.

“Sew 17th century Challenge” – Linnen accessories

The next thing to tackle after the skirt was the body linens, or the smock.
(Actually the next thing I made was the bodice, but since that would be considered the “head piece” I’m keeping the suspense by holding on to it a bit longer).

The only thing you see of the smock in the picture is the folded-up sleeve.266914_originalHowever, after some looking through books for patterns, I decided to not make a new smock for this costume after all.

reason 1: All patterns showed long sleeves – which for me would be a bit to bulky to fold like in the picture.
(since I accidentally made my the bodice sleeves above elbow length, ops.)

reason 2: I already have several chemises and smocks (Yeah I know – “You can never have to many chemises…” But I honestly just wanted to finish this outfit at that time).

reason 3:  I found the perfect alternative – loose linen cuffs – Perfect!

Using no patterns but looking at Janet Arnolds “Pattern of Fashion” for reference,I cut and stitched a pair of linen cuffs, later to be basted onto the bodice sleeves.

The construction method was so simple there is no reason to get into detail, so here they are:20150802_204819_resizedPared with the sleeve

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Facts:

What: A pair of separate cuffs

Fabric & Notions: 20 cm of ivory linen and thread.

Time & Cost: 0,5 hour (completely hand sewn) and about 20 Sek.

“Sew 17th century Challenge” – the Skirt

My well known love of fast progress made me decide to start the “Sew 17th century challenge” with one of the faster pieces – the skirt.

800px-Gerard_ter_Borch_d._J._004Close-up of the skirt.

Staying true to my promise to avoid new fabric purchases, I choose a golden/beige satin from my stash. I’m not sure of the fabrics content but I would guess on a cotton/polyester blend. The fabric was gifted to me a few years ago and I saved it for something special – and I think this outfit more then qualify. IMG_7306I even got enough left (after the skirt) to piece out a 17th century bodice at a later date.

Without pattern, and with no particular help from the painting, I decided to copie the look of an extant 17th century skirt I’ve studied pictures of.9f04d1519def01b735f28ef4570f7589

I started by cutting two skirt lengths of the fabric and stitched them together.

Then I hand basted three rows of spaced running stitch through the top edge, and pulled to create nice cartrige pleats.IMG_7304 IMG_7309

Then I cut a piece of bias tape and stitched it on over the gathers to create a waist band.IMG_7311

I also made sure to secure the gathers by stitching the pleats to the next one the inside.IMG_7325the cartrige pleats from the outside…IMG_7328..and from the inside

I had some debate on how to make the waistband and thous treat the bias tape. my first thought was to simply fold it over and tack it down to create a regular waistband. But then I started thinking – a visible waistband would work for this outfit since he bodice sits on the outside, but if I ever wanted to make a matching beige evening bodice the tabs needed to be tucked inside and thous show the waistband.20150620_211500_resized Not so good.

So instead I decided to fold the bias tape all the way over and tack it down to the pleats on the inside. This technique created a nice and smooth look. IMG_7324IMG_7323From the outside

Then I added hooks and bars at the waist, and hemmed the skirt after measuring and folding the bottom edge.IMG_7334 Back view on hanger 

The finished skirt:IMG_7852

IMG_7853 IMG_7858 IMG_7856 IMG_7855 Facts:

What: A 17th century skirt

Pattern: None – just two rectangles gathered a the waist.

Fabric & Notions: 2,5 m of cream polyester satin, thread, 1 m bias tape, hook and eye.

Time: about 4 hours

Cost: Free – the fabric was gifted to me

Final thoughts: I’m not sure the bias-tape waistband was such a good idea – the waist seems to be growing for each try on.

“Sew 17th Century Challenge” – Costume Studie

Once I picked a picture to recreate for the “Sew 17th century challenge“, it was time to take a closer look.

Gerard Ter Borch, “The Concert” (ca 1655)

The picture shows the back of a girl/women playing an instrument (possibly a Violin played in the knee) and in the background an older woman playing the Keyboard.
The room is dark and the focus lies on the neck of the younger girl and the contrast of her fur collar to her glowing ivory skirt.
Gerard_ter_Borch_(II) - The_Concert ca. 1675
At a first glance I decided I needed to make at least three pieces of garments – Bodice, skirt and chemise.

The bodice seams to be made in a red fabric with only a subtle shine to it, in contrast to the much more reflective skirt fabric. This caused me to believe the skirt would be made in a silk satin, while the bodice perhaps is made in some les shiny material. I would still guess silk though.

The skirt seems to be relatively easy, with the pleats and folds clearly running from the waist.

A closeup (and lightening) of the girls neck shows the irregularity of the fur collar and her lovely intricate braided hairdo, as well as the drop-shaped pearl earrings..8720ccafa4d9c913a35d3afff6c9d5d4There is no way to know how the fur is attached to the bodice or if it in fact is a loose collar/shawl.
To ad to the wear-ability of my outfit I decided to make it as a separate piece.

The sleeve of the bodice ends about the elbow and shows a turned up white cuff, presumably from the chemise.266914_original

The bodice itself is made in the boned rigid way of the 1660s with big poufy sleeves tightly pleated to the arm holes. 12312767024_07604ef369_hThe waist is slim and tightly held in the rigid bodice, who ends in square tabs at hip level. You can even see the slightly un matching binding on the edges of the tabs.

The front of the dress is a mystery, but one thing is for sure – it must have some kind of clouser.
The common practice during this period seams to be back lacing bodices, but since the back seems to be whole, the opening must be in front. The Glass of Wine (detail), c.1661, Johannes Vermeer.This girl (who seems to be about the same economical status as our girl) have a front lacing bodice.

An other question who need to be debated was the be or not to be trimming on the bodice.
Most of the portraits I studied seems to have at least some trim to them (see picture above). But considering the dark room, coarse collar and the sadness of the subject, I think an unadorned bodice is most true to the over all mood in the painting.

Researching this painting I also found several different versions of it:d9a2c29499ebe536179483f306c6de00Different light and a gentleman by the Keyboard.

a7b8748dd1f65cbda205d1aa1c337d07Keyboard becomes table, gentleman closer to girl and girls hand and neck in different position.

mhf0376Still no Keyboard, but lady reading by the table, and the shadow of a man (?) to the left.
(sorry for the small format)

I have no idea which of these paintings is considered the “original”, but if you search for on Wikipedia this is the result.
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Same settings, but lighter then my first version.
(klick on image to enlarge)

“Sew 17th Century Challenge” – Finding my Painting

Last fall Isis from “Isis Wardrobe” started the “17th century Challenge” to encourage more interest and recreation of 17th century fashion.
(As she explain in her blog post (see above) the idea comes from Maria of “In deme jare cristi” who started the “Manuscript challenge“.)

I immediately liked the idea, since I’ve been pondering on making a 17th century dress for some time and this seamed the perfect excuse.
(This project also fit perfectly into the HSM15 challenge “Out of your comfort zone” due in June)

The rules for the “Sew 17th century challenge” are simple:
*Pick a painting or original garment from 1600-1699, and upload your picture to the Facebook album
*You got 1 year to recreate the painting (every piece of clothing) as close as you can considering, skills, time and budget.
*Present your garment in the Facebook album and tell a bit about the process.
(read the in dept rules at “Isis Wardrobe”)

So this winter I took a good look at what internet had to provide in terms of 17th century fashions.

While searching I discovered some of the typical styles in (women’s) fashion painted in the 17th century.

The extremely elaborate court robe:

(c) The Royal Hospital Chelsea; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
Catherine of Braganza (c) The Royal Hospital Chelsea; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

The goddess drape:1671 Louise de Kérouaille by Sir Peter Lely “Louise de Kérouaille” by Sir Peter Lely (1671)

The crazy as panniers court dress:1660s Ines de Zúñiga, condesa de Monterrey by Juan Carreno de Miranda “Ines de Zúñiga, condesa de Monterrey” by Juan Carreno de Miranda (1660s)

The “simple” high waist:1632 yellow dress“Yellow dress” (1632)

The extremely elaborate high waist:Susanna Temple ca. 1604-1669 (later m. Lady Thornhurst and m. Lady Lister) by Marcus Gheeraerts, 1620sSusanna Temple ca. 1604-1669″  by Marcus Gheeraerts, (ca 1620)

The crazy as embroidery:  Portrait of Margaret Layton, attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts, c. 1620. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London“Portrait of Margaret Layton”, attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts, c. 1620. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
I would love to make this one from the recreation of this fabric some day, But not right now. 

The 16th century lingerer:Frans Pourbus the younger, Portrait of Margaret of Savoy, Duchess of Mantua, 1608Portrait of Margaret of Savoy, Duchess of Mantua” by Frans Pourbus the younger (1608)

The “Poor” people dress:Mother Combing Child's Hair by Caspar Netscher (1669)Mother Combing Child’s Hair” by Caspar Netscher (1669)

The rigid and “simple” dress: Peter Lely. Portrait of Elizabeth Wriothesley, Countess of Northumberland, and later Countess of Montagu, 1668. “Portrait of Elizabeth Wriothesley, Countess of Northumberland, and later Countess of Montagu”, by Peter Lely (1668)

The rigid and lace decorated gown:Portrait of a Lady by Gabriel MetsuPortrait of a Lady” by Gabriel Metsu (ca 1660s)

Even though I can see something charming in almost every one of these fashions (maybe except the “crazy as panniers” – I mean what is that), but I’m definitely drawn to the 1660s “simpler” styles of dress.

So focusing on portraits from that period I still had to narrow it down to just one favorite.

Elizabeth Capell, Countess of Carnarvon, ca. 1665 (Sir Peter Lely)Elizabeth Capell, Countess of Carnarvon by Sir Peter Lely (ca. 1665)

(c) Enfield Museum Service; Supplied by The Public Catalogue FoundationPrincess Henrietta Anne of England (1644–1670) by Jan Mytens (1665)

While both lovely, I knew I wanted to make something a bit more basic and les fancy.

Not loving the dress color, besides I could never get over how bald she looks in the mirror.Woman at a Mirror 1650” Woman at a Mirror” (1650)

This one would be perfect if I could ever find those golden ribbons (yeah, as if…)The Glass of Wine (detail), c.1661, Johannes Vermeer.The Glass of Wine” (detail), by  Johannes Vermeer (c.1661)

Perfect!
Gerard_ter_Borch_(II) - The_Concert ca. 1675The Concert” by Gerard ter Borch (II) – (ca. 1675)
Yep, That’s the one

You can find my Pinterest board for the “Sew 17th century challenge”here.