Behind the scenes
I also needed something on my head to go with my new “Borgia” dress.
So I decided to make a simple headband (kind of a stripped down french hood) with a hair net to hide my hair, or lack thereof.
For the construction I used ” A Damsel in this Dress” great tutorial on hoods.
I finished the headband by stitching the hairnet to the cresent and adding wig snaps to the inside to keep it on my head.
Just the facts:
Challenge: Nr 5/2016 Holes
What: a 1490s Italian headwear – Cresent with hairnet.
Pattern: I made my own.
Fabric/notions: Thread, Scraps of striped brocade, cotton, buckram, lace ribbon, velvet ribbon, some pearls and about 60 cm of millinery wire. And of course a hairnet.
How historical accurate: Not sure., Since I didn’t really did any research for this one, but just wanted a pretty headress to go with my dress (Sorry). maybe 3/10.
Time: Most of it are hand made, so I guestimate about 2-3 hours.
Cost: Slim to none since it all was scraps, but lets say 50 Sek (8 Usd) for everything (including the hairnet*).
First worn: Late august for photos, and a few days later on he yearly Medieval fair.
Final thoughts: I think it looks pretty and works well with the dress. It does also do the job of (togheter with some lose hair ringlets) hiding my own short hair.
*Gott’a love Ebay 🙂
And here comes the second part on the construction of my “Borgia” dress (part 1)
As a new mom the time for sewing is a bit more restricted then before, but when the urge to create gets to overwhelming you sometimes need to do what ever needed to get the itch satisfied.
He actually falls right asleep once carried, whether I’m handsewing or using the machine.
Starting where we left of, finished the skirt, sleeves and assembled the bodice I hated the dress. I was so frustrated I left it on the dressform several days before I got the energy to tackle it again.By then I’ve convinced myself that once finished it would look much better then limp and sad on my dressform. I also hoped the proportions would look much better on me then on the form.
The small lacing holes I’ve made needed a thin and delicate lace – one which would not hold the preasure of my not so small bust. So I added some lacing rings and a cotton cord (to be hidden beneath the stomacher) to take the stress of the pretty golden laces.
And that was that 🙂
Just the Facts:
Challenge: nr 1/2016 Procrastination – I’ve been wanted to make this dress for long time, but only now (summer 2016) got around to make it.
What: A 1490s Italian Dress inspired by the TV-series “The Borgias”
Pattern: I drafted my own, using “The tudor tailor” for reference on the bodice.
Fabric: 4 m light blue satin (1 m wide) 1,5 m striped brocade, 0,5 m white cotton for lining and interlining.
Notions: Thread, buttonhole thread, 6 m silvery ribbon, 3 m golden ribbon for front lacing, 3 m cotton lacing for internal lacing, 12 lacing rings, 2 m plastic boning, 0,5 m steel boning, 4 m blue furniture braid for decoration.
How historical accurate: Not that much I’m afraid. The fabric are all modern (polyester) and the sewing and construction was made using modern techniques and sewing machine. the style of dress itself are plausible but probably borderline fantasy. I must admit I’m not that knowing on this specific period. Maybe 5/10
Time: Way to long – I would guess about 20 hours over the course of 1,5 month, working in small batches of maximum 1 hour at the time.
Cost: About 200 Sek (16 Usd) – A real bargain! It should probably be more like 1000 sek (160 Usd)
First worn: For photos mid August and at a Medieval Fair late August.
Final Thoughts: I actually like it even though I feel like Booberella in it. The neckline ended up to low, and the way it closes in the front are not the best solution.
But I think this is one of the most decorated pieces I’ve ever made, and think it looks great.
I’ve long wanted o make an early Italian Renaissance dress inspired by the series “The Borgias”
But it wasn’t until I remembered these two fabrics in my stash the design really took shape.A beautiful striped brocade I bought a whole bolt of for a steal about a year ago, and a dove grey/blue satin acquired on a fabric sale for about 5 Sek/m (it’, only 1,20 wide but for that price I could live whit that)
once all the pieces was cut I started working on the skirt. I stitched the panels together, leaving the center back open. Then I pinned and basted two different kinds of brocade trim to the front and along the lower edge. I also added some blue furniture band along the center front decoration.
Then I stitched the back shut and pleated the waist to the right measurement.
Then it was time for the sleeves.
After some hesitation I decided to cut the sleeves into two pieces each and to make them tied on, like the ones in my inspiration. experimenting with trimAll the pieces of the sleeves ready for decoration.
Then it was time for the bodice.Drafting the pattern
The first thing I needed for my Borgia dress was a new chemise.
I wanted one with lots of floowy fabrics and huge sleeves to pouf through the holes in the outer dress.
Not as fancy as this one, but in the same style.
And since a chemise is basically made out of squares, I didn’t use any pattern but used sketches like this one and the one in “The Tudor Tailor” for reference.
I used a thin cotton voile, and sewed the whole thing on machine using the french seam as a seam finish.
The whole thing went together pretty fast, and I would have made it in one night if I hadn’t messed up and inserted one of the sleeves inside out.
And not only had I set it inside out, I only noticed it after I french seamed the heck out of it.
that seam should really be on the inside…
I briefly considering leaving it that way (it’s underwear after all, No one is going to see it), but then I decided to fix it right away to be able to finish that same night.
Said and done. I re-set the sleeve, finished the neckline (with a cord for gathering) and started to steam the finished chemise for photos.
Then I realized I re-set the sleeve in the exact same way as before – INSIDE OUT!
What the f-ck!
I almost burst into tears right then and there.
But after I managed to collect myself (a process involving frenetic searching through the kitchen for chocolate and getting some hugs and toothless smiles from my baby) I decided to put the project on hold for the night.
It took a few days but when I once more got some time for sewing I bit the bullet and re-set the sleeve once more, thus finally finishing it of. (And you can’t even tell that the shoulders now uneven)
Have you seen the Showtime series “The Borgias”?
(I know it’s a few years old but I don’t care)
It’s a wonderful series About the 15th century pop Alexander VI and it’s full of betrails, sex, murder but most of all gorgeous costumes.
As far as history is concerned the show does lack a bit (inspired by the life of Alexander, would be a more accurate description), but costume wise they pretty much nailed it. And it looks beautiful.
And before you have to ask, of course I wanted to make my own Italian dress.
After some thinking I narrowed it down to two main inspiration dresses from the series
I actually think it is pretty great that they re-used the dress. No one, no mater how rich you where, could afford a new dress every day and to newer up-cycle your old favorite styles to the current fashion.
I also got tipped of that Showtime was offering this exact dress up for sale on their website.
“Lucrezia Borgia, played by Holliday Grainger wears a sky blue embroidered gown in Season 2 of The Borgias during the baptism of her son, Giovanni. Includes the sleeves later added to the gown.
The gown is impeccably tailored with a full lining. The details are never ending, with each little turn revealing another pristine element. The piece was designed and constructed by expert period costume designer Gabriella Pescucci and worn by Holliday Grainger on set. The dress corset-laces up the back with the outer layer fastening by hook and eye.”
Did I mention these dresses are BEAUTIFUL… 😉
Yesterday I talked my sister into helping me with yet another photoshoot.
It was really windy outside, and I constantly needed to re-arrange my apron and bonnet. But I think we got some nice shoots anyway.
And yes, the doublet are a bit to smal for me, and I really need to press the pleats on the peplum down.
As this was one of my first costuming books, I must admit I’m a bit biased to this book.
I bought it about 6 years ago when I first started to get interested in historical costumes. And since I had fallen in love with the beautiful costumes in the movie “The Other Boleyn Girl”, and later “The Tudors” i had decided I needed to make myself one of the dresses.
The attempt was a futile one (which you can read more about here), but it did spark my intress in historical costumes, so I wouldn’t say it was a total waist.
But on to the book:
The Tudor Tailor by Ninya Mikhaila And Jane Malcolm-Davies.
The book includes lots of interesting information about the actual fashions and clothing construction of the 16th century.
The firs 50 pages describes the styles, fabrics and methods used during the 16th hundreds, and gives you a great over view of the different garments and accessories needed to complete the costume.
It also contains lots of patterns for both men (9) and women (12), and have a nice spread of “pore peoples” dress and court dress alike, besides underwear (9), outerwear (6) and headwear (14).
I used the pattern for a front laced kirtle, with straight back, and no sleeves.
As far as I can tell (and I’m in no way an expert) the patterns are good, and represent the Tudor and Elizabethan era in a nice and accurate way. My corset‘s made from the “Dorthean bodice” pattern.
The patterns are easy to scale – using either the scanning/printer system, or drawing it up on paper. (I’ve tried both)
I also find the instructions, which follows with each pattern, a good way to get help with the accurate way to assemble the clothing.
Although good, the instructions may be a bit to hard to follow, if you’re not used to historic (16th century) clothing constructions.
The second was much easier, even though it ended up a bit to small.
Would I recommend it?
I think this book is wonderful, and should be in ever theater seamstress or historical re-enactors bookshelf.
I personally have had lots of use of it and hopes to someday make all the patterns in the book.
For the HSF Challenge 3: Under It All, back in february, I decided to start the foundation on my planed 1550s dress (which I still haven’t gotten around to make).
So I decided to make a corset similar to theese two.
Using the corset pattern from “The Tudor Tailor”. I printed the pattern and made some changes to match my mesurments.
Then I cut the fabric, interlined it, and stiched the corset compleatly on the machine. I inserted the bonning, set the gromets and sewed on the bias-tape.
Unfortanly I didn’t think of documenting the steps while sewing (this was before my bloging days) so there are no construction photos.
But there are finished ones.
One thing I didn’t accounted for was the amount of fabric the bonning would “eat”. While inserting the bonning the corset shrunk quite a bit, and I ended up needing to do some piecing to make it fit properly.
When the corset was finished I decided to also make a shirt to wear underneath.
I used a lovely cotton voile, and sewed the shirt compleatly by hand (and still didn’t take any construction photos).
Finished Shirt and Corset.
Just the facts:
Challenge: Nr 3 Under it All
What: A 1550s Corset and Shirt
Pattern: Shirt – Janet Arnold “Patterns of Fashion 4 – c.1600-1610 smock. Corset – “The Tudor tailor” Dorothean bodies.
Fabric: Shirt – 2 m of checkered cotton voile. Corset – 0,5 m of leftover golden/yellow curtan-fabric, 1 m brown cotton for lining and interlining.
Notions: Shirt – Thread. Corset – Thread, Bias-tape, gromets, boning and lacing cord.
How Historical Accurate: Shirt – Completly hand sewn, but the cotton tread and fabric is not correct for the period. Corset – Not realy. The achived shape is just about right, but all the sewing and material is modern.
Time: Shirt – about 8 hours. Corset – 3 Days of work.
Cost: Shirt – 150Sek (16Usd). Corset – 300 Sek (40Usd).
First worn: Only at photoshoots so far.
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an exploration of historical costume
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