Now is the

Month of Maying

Augsburg Construction

The Beginning

It’s 2006 and I am desperately in need of a new frock without having to spend months on it. There is a trend toward the pink German dress among some of my colleagues and I am SO on board with that!
The Design

This started as a gut reaction to a series of pink dresses friends of mine have made, and is turning into a really good practice run for the Anna Meyer gown. I’m choosing shapes similar to Anna Meyer with a few changes. This will be a much simpler gown in “pink” linen with black cotton velvet guards.

Die Augsburger Monatsbilder is a set of 4 murals in Augsburg, Germany painted in the 1520’s. There is a mural for each season, and they depict clothing and hats worn by a variety of social classes in Augsburg. Here is Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall. If you want to waste a few hours getting inspired, I suggest using the zoom!

I really liked the overall look of the Augsburg April dress but the more I worked on this the more I wanted something more in shape to the Augsburg October or Holbein D. Meyer dresses. I really like the raglan seams and low, graceful sweep of the shoulder line on the Holbein Meyer, the Baldung, and the Traut dresses. The Anna Meyer has a sharper corner from the bodice to the sleeve, but this will still be a good pattern to start from.

The best use of the fabric I had seemed to be the roll-pleated waist, and I’m still in love with the Augsburg April upper sleeves. So this will (in theory) be a pink and black, front closing, raglan off-the-shoulder-sweep dress with a roll-pleated gored skirt and slashed upper sleeves with detached and cuffed lower sleeves. Now we’ll see what I actually end up with…

The Color DiaryAugsburg_Augsburgcolors

I think the “pink is not period” myth has been so thoroughly debunked elsewhere that I don’t need to go into it here. My main color considerations were a desire to use fabrics I already had for this project. I’ve had this really weird linen woven of bright pink and lemon yellow threads. Because linen has no sheen it doesn’t have the color change of a shot silk, but it is the same kind of weave. It looks like a warm coral pink color, which is all over period paintings, especially in Germany in the early 16c, and I have 6-1/3 yards at 57″ wide. Not bad.

It seems the most common guard color for the pink dress is black or dark red, both of which are lovely, or gold which I’m not too crazy about. I had 3-3/4 yards of 60″ brick red cotton left from another project, and 1/2 yard of black cotton velvet. I decided to use the red for the under-dress and guard the pink dress with the black. The embroidered trim is something I might use somewhere but it doesn’t curve well and I only have 2 yards of it so, maybe not.


I haven’t gotten around to making a real German hemd to go under this since my Venetian camica fits pretty well. I still haven’t decided on high-necked or low-necked under this or the Anna Meyer.

The Kirtle DiaryAugsburg_Augs-kirtle1

The basic layers for this started off in my mind as a hemd (chemise), a corded corset (like the one for the Anna Meyer), and the dress fully lined in the contrasting red so I could flip up the skirt, and an underskirt somewhere in the mix. Alas, when I tried to work the two skirt layers together, the fabrics were so different in weave and weight that they did not cooperate at all. Ripped all that out, satisfying rule #1.

This turned the plan into dress, underskirt, corset, hemd. I decided to combine the underskirt and corset into a “kirtle” for want of a better word. If it works well, I may make one for the Anna Meyer as well. It is basically a corded corset with an attached skirt to save me the extra waistband layers. I have it shown over my Italian Camica because I haven’t made my hemd yet. DiaryAugsburg_Augs-kirtle2

I have no historical basis for this garment other than a need for some support, and liking the kirtle concept better than a separate corset & skirt. The skirt is roll-pleated in rather large rolls so it lays very flat but still has a lot at the hem. It’s very comfy and I really like it so far…

The Gown

Over the Christmas holiday I’ve drafted a new pattern with raglan seams for this and the Anna Meyer dress. I really like the way it fits and have high hopes for it. Sorry for the bad blur… DiaryAugsburg_Aug-draft1

I had to break my rule and go buy a yard of black linen to line the sleeves with because I didn’t have enough of the velvet left after the guarding was cut. I’m going to make the upper sleeve like the Augsburg pink dress, and probably detached lower sleeves like the Anna Meyer.

The skirt for the dress and kirtle are both gored. Since I had more pink fabric than red (and the original plan was to line the pink with the red) I made my gores as large as the red would let me. I wanted fairly mild gores so I’d still have enough fabric at the waist to roll pleat, and I tried several layouts but the best one was in the pic to the right. The fabric is 3 layers thick so I got two full gores and one with a center seam.

All my pieces are cut and I have spent many hours thinking about how to put it together. Now if only I could get to my machine… DiaryAugsburg_Aug-skirtcut

1/30/06: Can it be? Did I actually DO something?

Some of this is thoughts from my livejournal, but it really belongs here…

Being raglan seamed, I have to (well, it’s easier if I) get the upper sleeves done before attaching them to the bodice. Well, it’s damn hard to get them done if I can’t decide how I want them to be! I finally decided on making them paned instead of pure slashing, just for washabilty, then putting the black guard just above the elbow.

I broke my rule of using only materials I already had and bought a yard of black linen to put under the panes but it didn’t fit right. I may baste in a new layer after it’s done but for now it’s ripped out again. I took the hint and bought some scrummy black silk satin. I almost broke a fever deciding how much I could get. Another great find that figured into this project was a ball of 100% silk 3/4″ velvet ribbon for $5. It was light lemon yellow but I figured I could dye it whatever color I needed, and it turned out to be almost 15 yards.

So I get my pink panes and black cuff pinned together and I look at it and think BOOOOOORING! Then my eyes catch that lemon yellow silk velvet ribbon and think hhhmmmmmmmmmmm. I made up a small pot of scarlet dye, dipped a tip of it in, let it dry and it was PERFECT! So then I popped 3 yards into it but it was in too long. Have I mentioned I am the WORST dye-er in the world? It came out the most wonderful vibrant orange, but not the right color for this. So, I tried again on a new piece by just running it through like a conveyor belt and it worked out really nicely. The fuzz took more dye than the ground so it looks similar to the linen since the ground is still pretty yellow and the fuzz is pinkish-orange. This I took and slashed with an X-acto on the bias and wrapped around the edge of the black cuff. That gave it right pop I was looking for.

I got the sleeves put together and into the bodice, got all the hooks up the front, and pinned together with the skirt on my dress dummy just to see how it will look. The black guard along the top is laid on just to give me the idea of what it will look like, and there will also be one or two black guards along the bottom. So, here’s the dress so far on my dummy over the kirtle.

The sleeves are long enough to puff about this much over a hemd, and the color of the slashed velvet ribbon matches better in real life.This pic exaggerates it, but there’s a slight color mis-match because I rotated the warp/weft of the linen on the bodice. oops!

2/23/06: Pretty much finished!

I was not happy with the pleat spacing of the skirt so I did end up ripping it off and re-attaching it. I got the skirt sewn back on and I’m MUCH happier with the pleat spacing. They are all even and more fabric is in the back half now.

Next was the bodice lining. This was the first time I integrated the hooks & eyes into the garment rather than adding them on last. I think this made them stronger by being able to sew cleanly through all layers before the black guard went one, but by tacking the lining down so close to the edge, it also helps tremendously with the front edge smoothness. No funny pop-up ridge with the hooks pulling the lining out. 🙂Aug-guardhem

Last for this dress was hemming and the black guard along the bottom edge. This gives the hem a really nice weight and “flick” for dancing even though the skirt fabric is so light and flow-ey.

You can see that the guard at the hem adds a nice flippy weight to the linen skirt

You may not think it’s a big deal, but I have never had the INSIDE of a dress look so nice… Integrated hook & eyes worked really smoothly with no pop-up ridge from a pulling liningAug-hooks

I’ve cut out the lower sleeves that will be separate and just pull on, like the Anna Meyer. I should finish those up in the next few days.

5/22/06: Upgrades and a Day at the Faire

To reach my goal of 5 outfits for 5 days at the faire this year, I had satisfied 4 of them; the Big Pig, the Venetian, the Saxon, the Fitted English Gown, and the Augsburg.

The problem was, once I started planning for the last weekend, I started to think that this dress was just a little too casual for this run. I’d had great fun playing all year with court and I made this dress specifically for hot days I wanted to dress down for.

I looked into finishing the PDSvN dress – never gonna happen in time – then at the Red English dress – which I actually made some progress on. Days came and went, my brother got married, time slipped by, and I did not get far enough along on the Red English dress to finish it.

The Augsburg dress has been on my dress form since I finished it, so I stared at it a lot then went back to my original inspiration images, which were of an upper class dress. I dug through my stash and found some gold zardozi trim intended as a v-collar and cuff trim set for a salwar kameez. The cuffs fit perfectly on the black guards just above my elbows, and the v-collar design I cut apart to fit onto the bosom area in the same placement as the Dorothea Meyer portrait.DiaryAugsburg_augsgold

This spruced it up a great deal but it bothered me that the gold trim did not continue around the shoulders and across the back. I found a lot of random gold trims but only one plain soutache that matched the bright and slightly pink gold of the zardozi trim. I braided it, hammered it flat, and tacked it around the neck opening and I think it balanced it out just enough.

Then I grabbed the small scraps I had left of the shot pink silk I used to trim Claire’s dress and pieced together a long bias strip for the belt. Of course, because everything has to be a**-backwards for me, I found some pyramid nailheads in gold AFTER I sewed up the belt put I did figure out a way to get them on without unstitching it. I also found some pink silk tassels I had that matched. Serendipity!

I took a poll on my livejournal about going with the shot pink silk accessories or black accessories and the pink won out. I put a wider silk satin hat band on Claire’s Italian bonnet and added a feather piece I had and I was all done!DiaryAugsburg_augsopt

The Accessories
The HAT!

I’m sorry but I think the wulsthaube is one of the silliest fashions ever to come down the pike. Still, I had to have one to complete this dress. Problem, none survive.

Lucky for me, there are several talented costumers out there who have attempted these millinery confections. Michaela, Marion, and Myra all attach the wulste to a base layer – some kind of cap or unterhaube. But I was most intrigued by Heather’s methods. She has a fabulous page of her experiments here, and here, that led me to my choices.DiaryAugsburg_bagelhead

I wanted it to be as simple as possible, so I started with my wulste. The first try looked like a bagel on my head – too fat and too small a diameter. The second was much better. I cut it on the bias which gave it a good curve even before stay stitching. With my hair in a twist it sits on my head almost unaided.

Then I asked some advice for the first layer over the wulste and decided to keep it on the straight grain. I started draping with a rectangle of linen, but once I roughly pleated up the back and cut off the excess, it does indeed make a wonky half-circle shape, just like everyone says. LOL!DiaryAugsburg_wulsteside

To make it simpler, I tacked the unterhaube layer directly to the wulste. It’s stitched tightly in the back by the ties at the nape of my neck. Just that much was enough to keep the whole thing securely on my head. But I also put a few stitches on the backside of the wulste so it wouldn’t shift around as I took it on and off. The pleats in the back are just tacked down and tucked up under the wulste tie.

So here it is. The only thing I might do from here is make sure my own hair is flatter underneath it so the pleats lie flatter. And I might make a veil to pin on over it. Then again, for practical reasons, I’ll probably wear this dress at the faire with a black straw Flemish bonnet I have.DiaryAugsburg_wulsteback