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.However, 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:Pared with the sleeve
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.
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.
Close-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. I 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.
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.
Then I cut a piece of bias tape and stitched it on over the gathers to create a waist band.
I also made sure to secure the gathers by stitching the pleats to the next one the inside.the cartrige pleats from the outside…..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. 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. From the outside
Then I added hooks and bars at the waist, and hemmed the skirt after measuring and folding the bottom edge. Back view on hanger
The finished skirt:
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.
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.
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..There 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.
The bodice itself is made in the boned rigid way of the 1660s with big poufy sleeves tightly pleated to the arm holes. The 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. 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:Different light and a gentleman by the Keyboard.
Keyboard becomes table, gentleman closer to girl and girls hand and neck in different position.
Still 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. Same settings, but lighter then my first version. (klick on image to enlarge)
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:
The goddess drape: “Louise de Kérouaille” by Sir Peter Lely (1671)
The crazy as panniers court dress: “Ines de Zúñiga, condesa de Monterrey” by Juan Carreno de Miranda (1660s)
The “simple” high waist:“Yellow dress” (1632)
The extremely elaborate high waist:“Susanna Temple ca. 1604-1669″ by Marcus Gheeraerts, (ca 1620)
The 16th century lingerer:“Portrait 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)
The rigid and “simple” dress: “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 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 by Sir Peter Lely (ca. 1665)
Princess 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)
This one would be perfect if I could ever find those golden ribbons (yeah, as if…)“The Glass of Wine” (detail), by Johannes Vermeer (c.1661)
Perfect! “The 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.