Archive for November 21st, 2008

Red Elizabethan Dress & Loose Robe

A blast from the past. I thought I should try this dress back on and see why I completely ignore it in the costuming closet. Now I know why. Apparently when I made this particular bodice I was a bit more roundy. It’s completely loose now. Wow.

The skirt was originally made to go with a different bodice (we’ll call that one Red Bodice A – RBA for short). As RBA was my first go (aside from my wedding dress) at a proper bodice using the Eleanor of Toledo model, it was a bit difficult for me to get myself dressed. So I can only surmise that my motivation in creating this bodice (Red Bodice B – RBB) was so I could get dressed without having to hunt down the master of the guarderobe (aka my poor husband) and wait patiently while he tried to lace the darn thing up.

That being said, the sleeves that were made to go with this bodice were recently untied, altered and put with the Sage Green Elizabethan Dress where, in my humble opinion, they look much better. So for this photo shoot I went ahead and tied in the long sleeves that originally went with RBA. That left my chemise sleeves showing. All in all, not such a bad effect.

I will note though, that the sleeve points need to be fixed as they just don’t cut it anymore. But since they were the first pair of separate sleeves I made, I figure I should go a little easy on my critique.

So, details of RBB that I should point out.

  • unlike RBA, this one is not self boned or even reinforced. What was I thinking? RBA and my wedding bodice were so heavily boned , someone could gut punch me and I’d not know it.
  • I was inexplicably pleased with the way the white ribbon embellished the bodice.
  • heavy gold trim was just that – heavy.
  • Firs time I tried tabs. Why did I use two different styles on one article of clothing? I have no idea.
  • Overall, RBB needs to be taken apart, taken in and boned.

On to my absolutely favorite garment ever….the loose robe.

A small bit of history about this particular piece. I was at my local upholstery store when I saw this fabric. It was a bit pricey (for me at the time) but I inexplicably fell in love with it. Not my usual color, but I was so stunned that I rushed home, grabbed a swatch of the red material and drug Chad to the store with me. That’s how overwhelmed I was. I was concerned I could not possibly determined (with any certainty) that the two materials would go together. I have never had such a reaction to fabric since. It called to me.

Flash forward and I had completed the loose robe (again pattern courtesy of Janet Arnold and her fab book). At the time it did not have sleeves. Which was period. But after a triumphant first showing, I decided I wanted to actually wear the thing. I had just enough material to make sleeves.

And I must say, there is something completely majestic about putting that robe on and walking at a brisk pace. The pleats allow the material in the back to billow out. Talk about making an entrance! I’ll also add that I saw the actual garment that Janet Arnold took the pattern from while we were at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London a few years ago. You have no idea how thrilled I was when I saw that my back pleats were a very good likeness to the original!

chris on November 21st 2008 in Creativity