The Dress

That wouldn't die!

Neuburg Construction-old news

The Beginning

Pfalzgräfin Dorothea Sabina von Neuburg Gown of 1595; PDSvN, for short! This is another dress I started back in 2004 as a side project while making the Venetian dress. I finally got that one done but this one sure is throwing up the roadblocks! Since this has been on the workbench for so long it sure has changed. My hopeful deadline is the start of the faire run 2007 – early April. (That SO did not happen!) This diary is divided up my garment piece, and linear per item.

I also found some pics of the actual surviving dress here. Enjoy!

3/22/2004: The Design: Inspiration and PlanningOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Well, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Melissa Heischberg’s experiment of making a kirtle out of a round tablecloth. I bought a round table cloth in a bizarre plum with teal brocade, and later picked up some poly taffeta in a black/hot pink shot that matches the plum quite well. I had originally intended it for a whore’s costume for a friend but let’s just say that didn’t work out. 🙂 Both of these fabrics are unnatural fibers so I haven’t touched them in years, and I had bought them at a fabric by the pound place so I think I’ve spent less than $20 for both pieces.

I have always used natural fiber fabric for all my costumes because of the heat in SoCal, but this would not be something I could wear at the faire anyway. I really liked the kirtle idea, with the period piecing and pre-done hem included in the tablecloth. I had run across Melissa’s site again on Friday and just wondered how big my table cloth was. She used a 90″ and I was sure mine must be smaller than that. I hauled it out and found it was much bigger and I was off and running. This was also when I discovered I had 4-3/4 yards of 60″ wide taffeta; enough to make an over gown. 🙂OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I laid out my tablecloth, found the motif center point and measured out the skirt. Melissa did not pleat her waistband at all but I found the because my tablecloth’s circumference was larger than hers, the arc of the hem left me with too little fabric in the hem if I didn’t add more in the waist measurement. So I expanded it by about 2.5 times and I’ll probably knife pleat it into the bodice at the waist. This will give me a nice, full skirt. Once I had that cut out I saw how much fabric I still had to use, so I started entertaining the idea of making some large, pendant sleeves.

I dug out my Janet Arnold POF and started scanning. I really liked the idea of the sleeves on the Pfalzgräfin Dorothea Sabina von Neuburg dress (now known as PDSvN). In fact, the whole damn dress looked pretty appealing to me. Also, I’ve never made a women’s doublet style before, nor a train. I could experiment on a whole range of new things without breaking the bank on expensive fabrics. Now I had to lay out my taffeta to see if there was enough to make this gown along with the pendant sleeves. I drafted the skirt and pendant OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsleeves straight from the book in chalk on the taffeta, left room for the doublet, and cut them out. Because the fabric was so wide and had no nap, I was able to place the pieces from selvage to selvage rather than railroaded, which also allowed me to eliminate the pieced straight seams for the gored sides of the skirt. In drafting the pendant sleeves, I shortened them up to 48″. If I drafted them exactly as pictured they would have ended up dragging on the ground when worn – I must be shorter than Dorothea. Then I used the drafted sleeves as a pattern for the brocade along with the snug sleeve patterns I drafted for the Venetian dress. I haven’t decided whether the pendant sleeves  will be taffeta or brocade to the outside; probably taffeta. I am also not convinced I want brocade under-sleeves, but there’s enough taffeta left to make a snug sleeve if I want to. It occurs to me that I could pink them with a soldering iron which would melt the edges to keep them from raveling. How ambitious do I feel?

Drafting the kirtle bodice and the doublet was more problematic. I decided to draft the doublet first and then use the same pattern cut down to make sure the kirtle had the right fit underneath and the straps were placed properly for the doublet cut. I looked at the scaled pattern in POF and thought the measurements were a bit larger than me, so I would draft the pattern exactly as shown then fit the toile on myself over my corset. Well, best laid plans, as they say… The drafted pattern turned out to be too tight in the bust and the back waist was halfway up my back. Very strange. But the armseye, shoulder seam, and neck all fit well. So, I measured where the toile was short, laid out my POF draft and overlapped it with my last drafted bodice that fits really well. The new toile fit much better and only needed the front point extended by about 2 inches.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After cutting out the doublet in taffeta, I cut down the same pattern and cut the kirtle bodice. Now the whole dress, kirtle, undersleeves, and pendant sleeves are cut out. I estimate that I’ll need 40-50 yards of braided trim to duplicate the design on the PDSvN dress, so I’ll be off again to the fabric by the pound place to see what I can find. I’m hoping to find something in another color that will accent the dress but punch it up a bit – maybe yellow. I am also hoping that I can find at at $1 a yard or less! I refuse to put serious money into a dress made of poly and God-knows-what-else! I also have a lot of muslin that I’ll flat-line the taffeta with to give it more weight, or I’ll look for something else cheap so I can save my cotton for a nicer project. We’ll see…

3/24/04: decisions, decisionsDiaryPDSvN_fab-PDSVNchoice

Well my machine broke and is gone until Friday. ugh. I’ve taken my plum swatches all over the house and through every closet and I think I need to find trim in pale yellow, peach or silver. Because the kirtle is plum & teal I want to avoid a modern, “Laura Ashley” looking, matchy-matchy thang with the trim. In my mind, that leaves out purples, blues, greens, or teals for the color. I think a mild shade of yellow, light orange like cantaloupe, or maybe apple green will give it some snap without looking too harsh to the modern eye. I’m open to whatever I can find that looks halfway decent since I need 50+ yards and I don’t want to spend any money.

Oh yeah, I went carefully through the POF drawings and measured out exactly how much trim I’ll need to follow the same trim patterns as the PDSvN dress. I’ll need 47 yards if I don’t do striped under-sleeves, and 51 yards if I do. I’m also thinking that the under-sleeves, and perhaps the lining to the pendant sleeves, would look very snappy in yellow satin. Assuming I end up with yellow trim. We’ll see!

6/14/04: Catching upDiaryPDSvN_fab-PDSVNyellow

Well, I was at the store getting trim fabrics for a surcote I’m making for a friend, and they had a big stack of silk remnants at $5 a yard! I found the right weird greens to go with her cote but I also found a warm butter yellow for this project. Lucky me! On another trip to another store, I found 20 yards of vintage silver trim in a passementerie style. Not 50 yards but it will do. They have another card in a similar trim, probably another 20-30 yards. It’s thinner but I could probably arrange it so I have stripes of thick & thin all over so it looks right. The thicker stuff was $2 a yard and the thinner stuff is $1.80 a yard. I am getting very lucky so far…

I laid out my fabrics and trim to see some color combos… and decided on the yellow. You can see the silver trim in these pics, too. I think it’s going to be lovely.

7/1/04: More trim!

With the doll deadline looming and the summer opera coming up, I’m pretty sure this is going on a back burner for a while. I’ll update as soon as I get something done on it.

9/10/04: Finally getting back to it!DiaryPDSvN_PDSvN-Colors3

Well, I finally got back to sewing last night. I managed to get the silver lace measured, trimmed, and pinned onto one pendant sleeve. After 1-1/2 hours working at a table that’s not a good height, I didn’t do the other sleeve. But it sure is gonna be purty!

Also, I know I decided on the pale yellow to line it with but I’m really leaning towards this weird celery color. What do you think?

I realized that I haven’t put up a pic of the actual inspiration dress. Here’s scan from the Janet Arnold book POF. It’s not a very good scan but it’s something… DiaryPDSvN_PDSvN-JAsketch

1/10/05: So many changes…

Well, this project looks completely different now and I have my cat to thank for it, or not.

I was having a hard time bringing myself to work on this and it took me a while to figure out why: I had started this project as a pure learning experience and had found the cheapest possible materials for it, and as I planned and planned I couldn’t bring myself to get so worked up about putting all this effort into a dress made of poly-taffeta. It would have looked fine but I’d know it was poly because I’d be poaching myself in 100+ degree weather in it. I was so proud of finding the purple shot for something like $4 a pound, and the plum/teal brocade for something like $5 for the whole piece. I never really liked the plum/teal combination – it looked too “Laura Ashley in the 80’s” to me. Also, I had found the awesome silver metal trim for $2/yard but it’s such great trim I really wanted to put it on better fabric, especially since it is so 3-D it won’t move smoothly under my machine so I’d have to put it all on by hand.

DiaryPDSvN_tim_alienAnyway, after all these thoughts are mulling through my subconscious and coming to the fore, I finally made myself start to stitch down the trim I had pinned on the sleeve. I spent about 4 hours on it one evening and was contemplating looking for another base fabric to replace the poly when I went to bed. The next morning, I was greeted by my husband with the news that my boy-cat, Tim, had sprayed the sleeve and it was ruined. Oh yes, completely ruined. I managed to save the trim pieces but the taffeta was a goner and I didn’t have enough in scraps to cut a new sleeve. I was pissed but not too heartbroken.

I should also add here that over the holidays I managed to break my digital camera. Suck-o-rama! So, none of the following has pictures yet, but I have been taking pictures along the way with a disposable and will scan and add them as soon as possible.


2/19/05 – starting over from the skin out

After several years with the same underthings, I’ve decided to make a new farthingale, bum roll, smock, drawers, and effigy bodies. They are chronicled here and also on my 16th Century Undies page.

2/25/05 – I have a chemise!DiaryPDSvN_smock1

A small update. I have finally pulled my head out of my a** and used Drea’s Elizabethan Smock Pattern Generator instead of drafting from scratch. What a time saver! I cut out 2 to save time and have sewn one completely together, all with lapped seams for strength. It’s 3.5oz linen so it’s very lightweight and it’s quite comfortable. It’s a wee bit roomier than I would have liked so I’ll probably take a bit off the sleeve width when I sew up the second one. I am waiting for some lovely blackwork to put around the square neck opening of the second one before I sew it together.

The first one, I made the neck opening in a sort of rounded-off triangle shape seen in Germany, ~1515-1540. I gave it a whirl myself and I really like it. It’s high on the back of the neck to give me a little more protection from the sun. DiaryPDSvN_smockneck

As always, I’m taking pictures on my cheap camera and will post as soon as I can develop and scan them… Why did I have to break the digital?

6/23/05: Not much to reportDiaryPDSvN_smocklace

other than I stitched some lovely bobbin lace to the neck edge of the smock and wore it under the Big Pig. I’m so happy I can get into that dress again! And I’m very pleased with how comfortable the smock is.

3/11/07: The Spanish Farthingale

I have a dirty little secret… I’ve been using an old cotton hoop slip from a downtown Quinceanera shop for over 15 years. *hangs head in shame* It’s still quite serviceable, the hoop steel is still good and the cotton is still sound. Nowadays you have a hard time finding them in anything but nylon. *shudder* So when The Tudor Tailor came out, I finally bit the bullet and decided to make myself a real Alcega-style farthingale.

I found a wonderful suit-weight silk – kind of a slubby benagline – in a natural tan for $6/yd, had some cheap cotton for a lining laying around (I think i paid $4/pound), and bought 15 yards of cotton Petersham ribbon for the casings since it curves so beautifully. I also thought hard about what I wanted to use for the hoops – I didn’t want to spend the $ on hoop steel (more so on the proper joins), and I don’t have the facilities to properly soak and treat real cane, so I opted to try out Sarah Goodman’s hardware store option of polyurethane tubing. It’s a semi-opaque, white tubing available in any hardware store as the tubing used for water hook-ups for, say, an icemaker. You can buy it by the foot and then the brass connectors. It has a similar stiffness and flexibility to hoop steel and worked really well at keeping it’s shape while still being collapsible. I highly recommend it.

Bumrolls for Every OccasionDiaryPDSvN_effigy-bumroll

I really tried to use the little pillow from the Tudor Tailor instructions for my new farthingale, because having that padding on my backside made the farthingale sit nice and even, and toward the back. That’s the perfect Elizabethan silhouette. But I couldn’t make it work with a bumroll of any size. So I dumped the little pillow and I’m remaking my largest bumroll just a little smaller and I’ll wear it under the farthingale.

I’m actually still just a hair dissatisfied with the shape of this one. Because of bias stretch as is goes around its curve, it ended up almost square-ish after stuffing. I’d like it a tiny bit bigger at the back and a tiny bit small at the front-hips so I’ll be un-stuffing this one and adjusting it.

The Kirtle

1/10/05: Changes for the kirtleDiaryPDSvN_alcegakirtle_web

With some nice, new, fluffy fabric for the overdress, I started hating the brocade for the kirtle. Again, I couldn’t stomach doing all that work on a cotton/poly blend. Yes, I know I’m a snob that way, but I have to wear this stuff in heat. It makes a huge difference. I dug out all my silks from the stash and started looking at color combinations fresh. The one dupioni I have that is not pictured in the color test entry on 6/14/04 is, of course, the one I really like and the one I had reserved for my friend’s surcote. It’s a weird celery color and I have 5 yards of it at 45″ wide. None of the other colors had enough to make a whole kirtle anyway, but it doesn’t matter. I am completely enamored of this weird green with the teal. My brain tells me the combo shouldn’t work but it really does. Now I am excited about this project again!DiaryPDSvN_kirtlelayout

It’s been a few months since I drafted the pattern so I checked my kirtle pattern again and started cutting. The skirt is patterned after the Alcega “Woman’s kirtle with a low-cut bodice of cloth rash (f.60 in the 1589 book) and the bodice is my own draft of a plain, square-necked bodice shape with back-side lacing similar to the one in that same Alcega diagram. This cutting pattern gave me my kirtle with a ~200″ hem and a 3” hem guard for the lining in just over 3.5 yards. This leaves me with just about 1 yard left to make under-sleeves, but more on that in a minute. Perfect.

I just receive in the mail 10 yards of 3.5 oz linen and 5 yards of 7.9 oz linen from fabrics-store and it’s fantastic. After washing it, I have cut two layers of the 7.9 oz canvas as bodice interlining. This stuff is pretty heavy duty so I’ll probably stitch the boning casings between the layers, add the silk on top and leave it at that. I don’t think it will need too much boning either since it’s so sturdy. We’ll see. I’ll probably line the skirt half with the 3.5oz linen but I might try and dig up some cheaper cotton. I’d hate to waste this lovely linen on that lining, but if I do it sure would give it a nice weight and drape. We’ll see.

Sleeve planning

Now I have just over a yard of the celery dupioni for the under-sleeves. The main problem I have is that I’m not really enamored of the striped and slashed sleeves on that PDSvN dress. I made a cotton mock-up of the diagram in the book and it’s also too full for my tastes, especially to be under those pendant over-sleeves, so I am going to do something else entirely. I have always like the idea of strapwork and haven’t had the opportunity to try it myself. A challenge!DiaryPDSvN_PDSVN.1DiaryPDSvN_PDSVN.3

I really like the layout of the Darmstadt strapwork jerkin in POF, pg.24 figure 155. I re-drafted and narrowed the sleeve base I started with from the PDSvN diagram and went to work planning the strap layout. I have just enough fabric to cut all the straps in the celery, and for the base fabric I can use the lighter apple green from the color test swatches. I also like the embellishment of the jerkin straps so I’ll look into getting some very thin silver cord or braid to couch down the strap edges and some silver embroidery thread to make the french knots. I think it will be lovely if I can get it together.


Well, I’ve cut my sleeve bases in apple green silk, and cut up all the remaining celery green into 2″ wide strips, on the grain. There wouldn’t have been enough to do bias strips and it wouldn’t matter anyway; I don’t need any stretch. I ironed all the raw edges under so they are now 1″ wide strips. Then I made a little template to cut them so they have a 45 degree angle end (to the edge of the sleeve panel) and a flat 90 degree end (that tucks under the next strip).

The plan is to lay out the strips on the sleeve base, stitch them down so the raw edges of the ironed under strips won’t have to be finished in any way, the couch or run-stitch the silver cord down over the first line of stitching. Oh yeah, I found some silver gimp. LOL! It’s actually a metallic silver 5-strand braid but it’s made of the same stuff that would have cost more total if I bought it as single-strand gimp. I think I paid $1.19/yd and got 10 yards which means I actually have 50 yards of the gimp. Hmmmm, what can I do with that? If I use up 20 yards for the sleeve strips that leaves either 30 yards of gimp or 6 yards of braid. Nothing to sneeze at. I’m sure I’ll find a place to put it.DiaryPDSvN_pdsvn-sleeveplan

I cut my sleeve bases into 4 panels each for laying out the strips – I want to encase the raw edges into a seam rather than try and cover them with the trim. I thought of laying down a strip of celery to lay the trim over but there won’t be enough. Anyway, I must have laid out those strips 4 or 5 times before I got the perfect angle. The very first strip must be perfect or else the center of the design will migrate to the left or right of the panel center and eventually leave me with too little length in each strip to tuck under the next piece. I finally got it right and will use my straight edge to gauge the angle for the next panels.

It looks like I’ll have enough of the apple green silk and celery strips to run a panel of strapwork down the front of the kirtle, between the silver braid. This will make the dress deviate even more from the original, but I like how it would tie into the under-sleeves. We’ll see… can you tell I don’t make decisions until I have to? I might also have some left over thinner silver trim to add onto the sleeves. I want to make them very sparkly but I’m not sure I want to add pearls or stones. I think encrusting them in silver will work wonders.DiaryPDSvN_greensilks

Oh, I found a pic of the celery fabric, and it even has the apple green next to it. This is, of course stolen from the surcote project, but I have plenty of banana yellow to compliment that.


Well, things are slowly moving along. I actually tried sewing yesterday while my daughter was awake and watching TV. She decided it would be more interesting to sit on the table and draw on my machine with a marker. *sigh* Back to sleepy-time-only sewing.

The good news is I’ve gotten 5 of the 8 sleeve panels strapwork pinned on to the base silk. I originally thought I’d have enough to make a panel down the front of the kirtle skirt but then thought that would look silly without continuing it up onto the bodice. This gave me the excuse to try out my sewing method with the silver soutache edges and see if this whole scheme was going to work, or if I’d have to un-pin all those little strips on the sleeves. It worked, and I breathe a HUGE sigh of relief. It’s also gong to look very cool 🙂


I have finished sewing down the strips and silver gimp on the bodice center panel. I will hand sew down the silver braid along the edge, then sew the bodice together tonight. I bought some jute twine at the hardware store (they didn’t have any hemp!) which I’ll use to stiffen some places – I’ve sewn channels up the center back on the bodice interlining. I want this to be fairly comfortable so I plan on only sparingly using the cable tie boning. My goal is to make this kirtle wearable without the overdress if I want to. Best laid plans…

3/18/05: How many jokes can I make about boning?DiaryPDSvN_pdsvn-kirtlefront1 DiaryPDSvN_pdsvn-kirtleback1

Not much to report here. I started on the skirt half of the kirtle. It is sewn together, lined, and I started sewing the strip of apple green down the center to put the strapwork on, but I didn’t measure correctly and it’s too wide. So I have to rip that off and cut it down. No biggie.

Then I have all the layers worked out for the kirtle bodice. The outer layer of celery silk is flat-lined in linen, then there’s two layers of linen canvas under that with the boning channels stitched in. I cut all my cable ties for the boning strips. Now I just have to melt the edges and I can sew the bodice up. I’ve made a bunch of bias tape in the apple green silk and I’ll bind the edges of the bodice with it as I sew it down. I hope the eyelets turn out better on this than they did on my English Red. ugh.

3/22/05: “I’m meeeelting… What a world, what a world…”

Small update… I melted all the edges of the cable ties. The only reason this warrants an entry is that I did find it was very important to do it with the windows open, and that the whole process was much cleaner and quicker if I used the gas burner on my stove instead of a candle. That’s it.

5/30/06: I am in Hell

I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to get the strips on the sleeves to work. The cutting, preparing, ironing, and pinning of the celery silk onto the apple silk bases is bad enough, but sewing the silver soutache down has been a nightmare. My machine rips up the metallic part of the trim, even with a size 9 needle and needle lube. The presser foot makes the trim slide around so it’s not straight, and when I tried to hand sew it… well, let’s just say it didn’t work.

I am now going to pull out all the fabrics for this project and see if I have enough left of anything to make totally new sleeves.

grumble grumble grumble

6/19/06: Something accomplished! Sort of…DiaryPDSvN_PDS-kbodiceback DiaryPDSvN_PDS-kbodicefront

Well, I have decided that in order to deal with the limited trim issue I have to change the order in which I planned to make the outfit. Other than adding some more lacing holes to alleviate the pulling on the back, I have finished the kirtle bodice. Voila! I will not attach the skirt until the over dress is done and I know how much trim I have to use. No biggie!

Now I need a new farthingale before I can do anything else. I can’t deal with the skirt lengths and the trim amount issues without the proper hoops. So, next up – the Spanish farthingale. I’ll be using the pattern out of The Tudor Tailor book.

7/14/06: FixedDiaryPDSvN_PDS-KB1

I skimped on the number of lacing holes since I figured this is for a kirtle that won’t be seen under the dress but still, the pulling is bothering me. Of course, now that I have some lacing holes I’ll have to put in twice as many if I want to do something about it. ugh.

Still I like the fit of this bodice better than any of my others, and the apple green bias binding came out pretty as well, so I finally got the rest of the holes done and it fits a little tighter now, too.

I bought some really cool suit-weight silk for a new farthingale and got it cut out. Now I’m just waiting to find a screamin’ deal on some ribbon to make the boning channels.

3/11/07: Actually making Progress. No, Really!

I’ve been working on this because I’d really like to get it done for Faire this year. I was really unhappy with the way the machine chewed up the strap-work on the sleeve panels I tried so I have abandoned that idea for the front of the kirtle. I found another wider silver soutache trim so I’m going back to something more like the original gown. DiaryPDSvN_kirtle-hem

I finally hauled the skirt-part of the kirtle out and started applying the trim by hand – you can’t use the machine on this stuff without destroying it. I also grabbed a remnant of some linen velvet I had in apple green and put a welt of that at the hem for wear. It also gives it a really nice weight since linen velvet is really thick & heavy. It’s shinier in the picture than in real life because of the flash, but I’m really liking the way it’s looking. On my screen anyway the color is pretty close in this pic, too. YAY! Now all I want to do is stay home and work on it!

3/16/07: Well, I did it.DiaryPDSvN_kirtle-3trim

I just couldn’t take it that the new trim looked so pretty and was going to butt up against the strapwork patch on the bodice that would not appear anywhere else on the dress. It won’t show at all under the overdress – I know this! But I couldn’t take just knowing it was there. I really didn’t want to spend the time to take the strapwork off, and I really didn’t want to risk accidentally slicing the bodice fabric, since I have no more of it to remake it if I ruin it.

But I just couldn’t stand it. So, out came the seam ripper and ripped were the seams. I was careful and managed not to ruin the bodice, then I applied the new trim to extend from the skirt to the neckline, re-sewed the edge binding and viola! I like it SO much better now!

I still need to adjust my bumroll so the front of the skirt is just pinned on but the back is attached.

3/20/07: Done! Well, almost done…DiaryPDSvN_kirtle-3done

The kirtle is done! Except for some hand-finishing on the inside that I suspect won’t get done before I wear it. :-0 I really like the way it fits. Needs pressing. And sleeves. I’ll do those last since I still don’t know what I want them to look like.

Now I get to start in earnest on the overdress. 🙂

The Gown – Doublet Overdress with Hanging Sleeves

1/10/05: New Overdress Fabric and the beginnings of a skirt

So, the search was on for a new fabric. It was New Year’s Day and I wanted to go fabric shopping – good luck. I drove past all my regular fabric haunts and JoAnne’s was the only place open but they have a pretty good closeout section and whatever I found had to be cheap. I was lucky to find a lovely teal, 100% cotton, un-waled corduroy that looks like a very short pile velveteen. It is luxurious enough for this project but, without a wale, it doesn’t register to the modern eye as “that stuff my pants were made of in the 70’s.” And it was $4 a yard, and matched the brocade of the kirtle I still had. Yeah!

When I got it home, I thought I’d try to over-dye it to one of those luscious near-black colors Jen Thompson is so good at getting. Let me say here that I am terrible at dying fabric – usually because of attempting it on suspect fibers or commercially colored fabrics – and this was no exception. After pre-washing the corduroy and using 6 packets of Dylon cold-water dye (2 French blue, 2 tartan green, 2 black) and another hot washing, it is almost the exact same color I started with. I’m guessing it’s so saturated already that the fabric couldn’t take any more dye. Oh well, it’s a pretty color that I don’t already have in my costume wardrobe and the washing fluffed up the pile to remove any trace of a wale in the weave, though now I can feel a slight nap I shall have to pay attention to.

This new fabric is also 45″ wide instead of 60″ like the taffeta so the cutting has to be much closer to the cutting in the POF diagrams. By railroading the skirt on the taffeta, I was able to leave out the gore seams and cut the skirt front and back each as one piece instead of three. Now at 45″ wide, the skirt pieces will have to run parallel to the selvage andDiaryPDSvN_pdsvn-oversktlayout require a gore on each side of the main panels. Janet Arnold carefully maps the direction of the velvet nap in her diagrams and I deviated in two small ways: 1) I pivoted the gores for the front skirt panels slightly so the nap runs parallel to the side seam rather than the front panel – nap is marked with chalk arrows in the pic. This is a trick I stole from the Alcega farthingale pattern (a good description of that lies here) that leaves me with no bias seams sewn together to avoid any droop in the hem after hanging. All bias edges are sewn to true grain edges to keep their shape. 2) I extended the width of the front skirt panels to give me 5″ to fold back over the lining. I like to have a solid, crisp edge to my skirt openings and the extra layer and weight helps with that, as well as giving me a little breathing room when the wind may blow my skirts open. I hate seeing lining and/or underskirt base-fabrics in the wind.

So, at this point, I have my overdress skirt cut and sewn together. I still have the linings previously cut for the taffeta version. Once I have those in I can begin attaching the silver trim.

2/7/05: OOPS!

Oh, I also seem to have forgotten that I needed to line the hanging over-sleeves in one of these green silks, and now I don’t have enough left. UGH! So, I still have a fair amount of light banana yellow. I’m not going to worry about it quite yet. I’m trying to get close to finished with the kirtle before I tackle the overdress and another solution may have presented itself by then. If worse comes to worst, I can always line it in the same teal velveteen.

4/25/05: When your decisions come back to bite you in the…DiaryPDSvN_pdsvn-newsilkcolors1

*sigh* Ok, so the weird greens seemed like a good idea, but now that I forgot to leave enough celery to line my pendant sleeves with, and I have no hopes of matching the green or teal with my horrendous dying skills, what to do? I thought of using some of the same teal to self-line them but it wouldn’t look right. Then I ran into a fabric store that I NEVER find anything in – yet I keep looking, why? because I am compelled – and there was a pile of sale silks that included a strange shot dupioni in a teal and celery. I kid you not! Weird, huh?

I’m taking it home tonight and I’ll see if it completely rearranges my layout. Again. *sigh* Man, there is just no way to photograph all these weird greens. The new silk – to the left in the picture – looks pretty close, but the celery and apple greens are way off. The closest pic I see of those is the swatch shot up on the 1/21/05 entry.

3/11/07: Getting along on the kirtle so planning starts on the gown

I have tried to talk myself out of keeping the train on this gown for all the practical reasons you can imagine, but I can’t resist it. I must keep the train! I’ve torn off as much of the weird teal/celery shot silk as I need to line the pendant sleeves, purchased enough very lightweight fusible interlining, and am now thinking of what slashing pattern I want to do – I’ll have to try some things out.

What I really need to do now is figure out if I have enough teal/celery shot silk left to line the parts of the skirt that will show when I kirtle it up in back. I’ll have to pin up the back when wandering around most of the time so it must be lined in something pretty and I really can’t add yet another color to this. Based on my preliminary trials, I think i can do it. I pinned the skirt onto my dress dummy and pinned up the train and marked what showed with chalk. When I laid it out flat it was do-able with my remaining silk, but we’ll see once I get everything together over the real kirtle & underthings.

If all my dreams come true, I want to be able to face the doublet and get a small Italian bonnet out of this as well. I’m probably smoking crack, but I can dream. There won’t be enough to line the doublet, but I do want facings so I can open it on hot days, and I really want to do it in this silk so the overdress will just be in these two main fabrics and be wearable over other things, if desired. I know I don’t have enough to line the whole doublet but if I am very clever or very lucky I may be able to get everything I want out of this last piece.DiaryPDSvN_OD-Skirttest2

4/30/07: Yes, I’ve been sewing, just not posting!

There’s a #@%-load of trim on this gown that all needs to be sewn by hand (the machine needles tears it apart) so that’s what I’ve been doing. And doing. And doing. Still, now that I have the double rows on the skirt and over-sleeves I am getting very excited! 🙂 Wanna see? I pinned it onto the dress dummy over the kirtle & underpinning just to see how it flows and to level the length – I also tried it kirtled up in back and chalked where I need the silk lining to go up to on the skirt since I don’t have enough to line the whole thing.DiaryPDSvN_OD-Skirttest3

2/8/08: This has been worked on!

I’ve gotten the overskirt lined and the silk partial lining for the turned up part sewn in. I’ve also started a very involved pinking/slashing/stamping process for the lining of the pendant sleeves and I’m really liking the way they’re coming out! I have one of the 4 pieces done, and the other three are about 2/3 done.One layer of results

Check out my first how-to article on the pinking/slashing/stamping of fabrics!