“Sew 17th century Challenge” – Photoshoot

For the photoshoot I got some help from my friend, modelling my new 17th century outfit.

She wore the 17th century bodice, skirt, coif and fur over my quilted petticoat, accessoriced with a string of pearls and a Violine.
Here are the result:

Gerard_ter_Borch_(II) - The_Concert ca. 1675

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IMG_8086Model: Annika Siljat

“Sew 17th century challenge” – The finished ensamble

And here it is at last, The finished “Sew 17th century challenge” ensemble:
800px-Gerard_ter_Borch_d._J._004Inspiration pic (like you don’t know by now…)

Skirt
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 + Coif (headwear)
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+ Cufs20150802_204328_resized

 + Fur shawl
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 + Bodice (part 1, 2 & 3)
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= the finished ensamble:
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The facts:

What: Reproduction of Gerard Ter Borch’s “The Concert”

Pieces: Skirt, cuffs, coif, fur shawl and bodice

Time: About 60-70 hours

Cost: About 400 Sek (60Usd)

Final thoughts: I think this challenge was great and I loved making all these pieces, and stepping away from my usual time periods.
I’m allready planing some new 17th century outfits.

Sneak a peak from the photoshoot:
IMG_8003Modell: Annica Siljat

“Sew 17th century Challenge” – The Bodice (part 3 – Finishing)

And here comes the final part of the making of my new 17th century bodice. (Part 1 & 2)

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 Once the outer fabric, lining and sleeves where set it was time to deal with the tabs.
(Every stay makers dread)

I started by cutting them open and then I pinned the three layers together, and basted 
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I ran into some problems when turning the front edges under, and no matter what I did they came out awfulIMG_7829This is seriously my third re-do, and unfortunately the best of my tries.

I had no idea how to fix i and the problem caused me to loose steam (and love) for the project.

After some nights to cool of and think, I figured to just hide it.
So I went trough my stash and found some lovely golden lace, to see if that would do the trick.IMG_7831 IMG_7827
In the end I decided not to use the lace, even though I still think it looks stunning (maybe something for a later date).

Once I excepted the less then perfect front, it was time to start covering the tabs.
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20150801_135414_resizedI used red cotton bias-tape cut to a smaller size.

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Starting to look like something….
But a lot of work remained.

The last thing to do on the bodice was to make all the lacing holes.IMG_7867I use pins to mark the distance before I use my chalk-pen
IMG_7916Practice makes perfect.
Ok, not yet perfect but pretty decent looking eyelets if I may say so myself.

Then the only thing left to do was to try it on a last time…20150804_224828 Crap…

Yup, that’s the sad truth – the bodice I to small, and not “If I lace a bit harder it might work” to small, but “There is no way in hell I can close this sucker” to small.

Luckily my inspiration painting’s only shows the back of the bodice, so hypothetical there is a chance the girls wear a open laced bodice over a stomacher – far fetched I know, but at his point there was no way I would redo it or try to ad to the sides. And logically they must have size shifting back then too, right?

So I will make a stomacher for this bodice before the next wearing, but for now I’m considering it done.

The finished bodice:
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Just the facts:

Challenge: nr 6/HSM15 – Out of your comfort zone

What: A 1660s bodice

How it fit the challenge: This is my first venture into 17th century, and even though I made both bodices and stays before the way this garment combines the two was a new experience for me.

Pattern: “1660s bodice lining” from Waugh’s “Corset and Crinolines”, with some alterations.

Fabric: 1,5 m red polyester “silk”, 1,5m white cotton/linen blend for lining and 1 m un-bleached sturdy linen for interning and foundation.

Notions: Thread, button-hole thread, 15m plastic whalebone for boning,  5m cord for lacing, 60cm white bias-tape for edging the sleeves and 3 m red bias-tape for binding the tabs.

How historical accurate: So so, the bodice is made 50% on machine with all the outside seams made by hand. The fabric is modern but the shape and look of the garment is good for the time period. About 7/10

Time: A lot! probably about 60 hours – I worked on this for most of the summer.

Cost: About 300Sek (45Usd)

First worn: At old town beginning of August for photos, and I’m thinking on using it next weekend for a “all times” dance recital.

Final Thoughts: I’m so happy with the look and feel of it. My only concern is the size – Why do I keep making things to small? And no, I have not gained weight – I’m just constantly over estimate my “squeeze factor”, and underestimate the difference boning and extra fabric layers make to the size.
And if it ever is to be worn again I might have to redo the front, or just slap some trim over it…

“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”.
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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.

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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” – 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.