Elizabethan Loose Gown and Kirtle

I had been meaning to make one of the Elizabethan loose kirtles and a surcoat in the spanish style. Read loose and comfy. Here's a picture of a surviving garment that was patterned in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion: c 1560 to 1620. You can see Janet Arnold's own reproduction of this gown here. You can also see an image of a lady dressed in this style from a series of maps dated to 1572. Anyway, you get the idea of what I was trying to accomplish.

Well, here is how far I got in one night, ending at 3 am.
my ensemble
click on image to see larger version

The image you see here only has one side of the loose gown finished. I did the other shoulder the next morning before work. (I couldn't sleep an extra 15 minutes, can you believe that?!?) The first thing I decided to do was forgo the poofy sleeve caps. Really, while charming on women of smaller stature, it'd just look silly on me. The loose gown is in a teal/greenish-blue linen lined in pale blue linen. I have white frog closures for down the front. The kirtle that goes under the gown is of berry colored cotton linen. (The high necked smock is from a previous Elizabethan outfit, and desperately in need of replacement.) The colors are truly vibrant and honestly just the best combo my brain could put together that night when I started. :)

And what else was left to do? On the loose gown: I sewed the right side seam in both the outer fabric and the lining to complete all the machine sewing. Then came a serious ironing, pinning the hem for sewing in the car ride, and attaching the frogs on the front of the gown. Trimmings will still have to come at a later date. On the kirtle: I had to machine stitch facings for the neck and arm holes, tack them down by hand, pin and sew the hem, and a few lacing holes at the back closure to hold it in place.

What else is still left to do? I need to make some matching sleeves to lace to the kirtle at the tops of the arms and a flat cap. I also need to come up with an idea for trimming the kirtle down the front and around the hem, as well as some trim on the coat itself. I also need to finish putting frogs down the front of the gown, after stiffening it a bit with some light interfacing. But before all of this, I'll need to add another side gore into the coat to keep it from curling inward at the front too much.

Here are some shots of the outfit in action during stages shots of horror at the Trayned Bandes' Fall Muster (10/02) with Isobel and Katherine in the "graveyard":

how scanalous

the horror

Event Photographs copyright © 2002 Victoria Dye


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