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The · Couture · Courtesan


1560s English Fitted Gown

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Firstly, thank you everyone for the compliments on my rolled hem! I know a lot of people are interested in a tutorial, so I will try my best to put one together when I have time, and figure out how to take video of my hands at work...

Here's what the organza became: wrist ruffs for my new court outfit! I need to make excuses for how utterly sad the ruffs look in the pictures though. For one thing, I only had about 30 minutes to iron them the morning of. Then it rained all day... (on top of being only 48 degrees). These ruffs are made using period construction, meaning they are stroke gathered into the band and then starched and ironed to achieve the typical "figure eight" look. Well, rain and starch don't play nicely together!

This style of gown is something I have been dreaming of making for a while, and I'm so happy to have been able to bring it to life. It is an English fitted gown with silk damask forepart and sleeves. The damask was a huge investment, but I couldn't get over how perfectly period it looks! Because of the nature of the fitted gown, and the era I was portraying (1560s), I needed a slimmer skirt support than my usual court farthingale. I made a very simple corded petticoat, and am so pleased with the results. I just used 4 rows of thick cotton upholstery cord. The hem is about 90" around. The underskirt is taffeta, which gives the skirt a little more oomph.

The fur is not real, but I think it looks unoffensive enough to be used in this application. I based the design on a handful of portraits, mainly of Katherine Grey, Bess of Hardwicke, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, and one that is alleged to be Elizabeth. They are all wearing fur-trimmed (well, probably fully lined) black fitted gowns (er, Bess's appears to be loose, but the trim design is exactly the same as the fitted gowns worn by Katherine and the Elizabeth's). Elizabeth Fitzgerald is closest to what my gown looks like. The image is from Wikipedia.



I do still want to add the gold beady things, but I did not have the money at this time to buy a gazillion beads... Definitely for faire in May!

Okay! After all that, here is my new outfit! ktlovely was awesome and came to take pics of me. She loves me. XD
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On October 7th, 2012 09:40 pm (UTC), starlightmasque commented:
A beautiful outfit on a beautiful lady. Wonderful work!
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On October 7th, 2012 09:53 pm (UTC), mandie_rw commented:
Very pretty! I think the fur looks great, and I love how the colors look togther.
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On October 7th, 2012 10:22 pm (UTC), mlsdesigns commented:
It's beautiful! the dark black and brown gown with the gold sleeves and forepart, make you look so elegant, and I love your Zebellino! I think I need one now too :)
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On October 8th, 2012 12:24 am (UTC), isabelladangelo commented:
Love it!
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On October 8th, 2012 12:51 am (UTC), tayloropolis commented:
Oh that damask! That fur! I just want to run up to you and rub my face on your dress.

(...in a totally non-creepy way, if that is possible!)
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On October 8th, 2012 03:46 am (UTC), koshka_the_cat commented:
It's lovely! And the ruffs are still pretty, even if damp. I would think that was a period problem too :)
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On October 8th, 2012 01:07 pm (UTC), nuranar commented:
Ooh, beautiful! The fur looks good, and so do the cuffs, even in the rain and cold.
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On October 19th, 2012 09:27 am (UTC), the_aristocat commented:
You look gorgeous! The dress is so glamorous!
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