Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Project #1 - Medieval Dress - Part I

I finally was able to delve wholeheartedly into my blogging... I'm going to start with my first project for the summer - a Medieval dress for my cousin's "Medieval Feast". I did some preliminary research in two books I already own: Le Costume Français, by Flammarion publishers, and Costumes for the Stage: A Complete Handbook for Every Kind of Play by Sheila Jackson. I also did a little bit of research online, but outside of Costumer's Manifesto, most of what I found were either a pastiche or were Medieval-inspired. Anyway, I came up with some basic sketches - a selection of silhouettes and styles ranging from about 1200-1400ca.

Being a stickler for accuracy as I am, I was surprised to find my research was incorrect, and that I had made a mistake in my terminology. What I called the kirtle was, in fact, the smock or chemise in the outfit.

Anyway, of the outfits I designed, she seemed to lean towards design C. We attempted to really gel the design, but I never feel confident in deciding a design until I've chosen the materials.

Fabric presented a challenge for this project, since my budget was literally zero dollars, unless I wanted to use my own funds. So it was up to the attic with me, where my family keeps the discarded or unused remnants of projects past. Among such horrors as fuchsia moiré satin and faded pea-green lace seam binding, were a decently-sized group of contenders. With some guidance from me, my cousin chose a cream satin-back imitation-silk polyester, and a maroon broadcloth for the surcote. Though I had found a white linen I wanted to use for the chemise, I opted instead for my muslin because it was more comfortable. Once I had decided on the final fabrics, I was able to solidify my design, since the fabric choice ultimately dictates what one can accomplish.

We finally decided on a chemise, gown, and side-less surcote. Because of the limitations of fabric, I thought I wouldn't have enough fabric for a wide skirt and sleeves. So many of the designs above that feature large sleeves have straight skirts with large slits down the sides. The concept being that the surcote would cover the slits in the gown, so it wouldn't be noticed when she wore it.

More later!

Nostalgically Yours

Read Part II and Part III!

1 comment:

  1. i really miss your drawings. This summer's gonna be weird not sewing with you every day!


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