Thursday, November 14, 2013

16th Century Clothing on Facebook

It seems like many people are connecting and sharing information through Facebook. This includes a wide range of historical clothing enthusiasts. Join in the conversation and look at some of these pages and groups!

The Official Tudor Tailor Facebook Page
The amazing ladies at the Tudor Tailor are ready to help with questions from the public. They also post photos of on going projects and research.

German Renaissance Blog's Facebook Page
Genoveva is an amazing researcher with lots of knowledge of 16th century Germany.

Realm of Venus Facebook Page
Want to know what is going on with ? Bella posts information about her challenges and updates on this Facebook page.

16th Century Italian Workshop
This group was originally started by a group of women making clothing for an event in Arizona, and now has grown into a great place to share research and ask questions.

Historic Hand Embroidery
This group covers many different time periods and if full of people who would love to see your projects. The many knowledgeable members are also happy to help with questions.

Elizabethan Costume
This group recently had its 5 year anniversary and is constantly buzzing with activity. One of the largest 16th century specific groups on Facebook there are a wide variety of members with different skill and research. Ask the question that has you stumped or share your work.

Atenveldt Artisans and Scientists
This is a forum for members of the SCA in Arizona. Members create albums of their work as well as sharing handouts and information.

The Treasury
This is the Facebook Page for an SCA jewelry store. Irene does custom work and makes wonderful dressing pins. Keep your eyes open for information about new and restocked items on her page.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Monochrome Embroidery used for Elizabethan Coifs

While at Pennsic I had took a class from Mistress Amy Webb of the East Kingdom. She used a term I had not heard before - English monochrome embroidery. Mistress Amy went on to explain that this embroidery has a few characteristics:

  • Stitches are worked in a single color of silk thread. Sometimes gold threads are used to create interest.
  • Stitches used are varied including stem stitch, satin stitch, and double running stitch 
  • Images were taken from English country gardens
  • Stitches are not consistently reversible or counted
We have several extant examples of women's coifs embellished with English monochrome embroidery in museums around the world, but very few are seen in the portraiture of the time. If you think about it critically, coifs are more personal (intimate) articles of clothing. Unless the sitter was being painted in a birthing bed, or another intimate setting, there probably wont be a painting of them wearing an elaborately embellished coif. Portraits were usually done with their best clothing, not informal clothing. Modernly it would be the like a senator's wife wearing sweat pants and flip-flops for a bridal portrait. As time goes on coifs become more popular and worn more publicly.
Mrs George Evelyn 1580's

Extent Monochrome Coifs

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Brass Dress Pins

A few words on pins. Some of you may have heard the phrase "having your pin money" at some point. The meaning of this phrase is to have a little extra money left over to do something special or treat yourself. Modern women might think of this in terms of having extra funds for cosmetics or shoes. The origins of this phrase are in fact in the Tudor period, or possibly earlier. At this point in history you had to have "pin money" to dress well. Pins were used to hold up placards on gowns, sleeves, veils, and arrange jewelry. At later dates they were also used to arrange skirts and ruffs.

Extant Brass Pins from the Victoria and Albert Museum
Today's reenactors have been lacking in quality brass pins for their dressing needs for some time. Often we resorting to steel straight pins for sewing. The problem with these is that they are not sturdy enough to stay in the fabric without bending. For anyone willing to pay $2 a pin plush shipping there is a good solution on the market finally. Irene Davis of The Treasury is not making pins made the same way they were in period, including drawing down the wire for added strength. Strong and sharp, I used these pins for the entire two weeks I was at Pennsic (and SCA event) without bending a single pin, harming anyone including myself, and no damage done to my clothing. I truly can not say enough good things about the brass dressing pins from The Treasury.

Brass Dressing Pins by The Treasury
Large image of Queen Jane Seymour with visible pin heads
Pins in the V&A

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Alternative French Hood Construction

Most of you out there have probably seen and used the Tudor Tailor's French hood patterns. I do love the look of my hoods I have created using these patterns, but they do not travel well. When transporting them they must either be worn or packed carefully into a hat box. Making French hoods out of plastic canvas gives them increased durability, but also adds significantly to the weight.

If you have had problems transporting your hoods you may be in luck. Have you tried the research and pattern by Sarah Lorraine. Sarah's patterns involve layering pieces to archive a final look which is spot on for several of the portraits and profiles we see of period women in their headdresses. It also sits lower to the head in keeping with research being done on French hoods between 1510 and 1540. Take a look. Try it out. Share your thoughts. When my versions are done there will be an update. Happy August!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Exploring Turkish Clothing

So I have been quiet for a bit, but I return with new experience and insight. Ottoman Turkey was a major trading partner and military opponent to Poland, Hungary, Italy, and France during the sixteenth century. Without their presence the political climate of the time could have been very different. So get ready to fall down the rabbit hole into some research on the clothing of Ottoman Turkish women.

Mistress Sabiha,OP, come to our tiny town to teach a class on 16th century Turkish clothing. Her wealth of information made my head spin as she walked us through patterning the layers, selecting fabrics, and general information on Turkish women. After this class I sought to make an outfit so I could better understand the construction and assist some of our local group make their own.

Women of the Palace, 16th century
For those of you who are new to Turkish clothing let me talk you through the layers we discussed.
1. Golmek- This is your underwear/ against the skin layer. Upper class women would have large open sleeves and gold embroidery along the seams. The slit from the neck could go quite low and expose some cleavage. Usually white, but I have seen suggestions of other colors (black).
2. Salvar- Your Pants! Men and women both wore pants in Turkey. The crotches were often pieced on extant garments. Held in place by a drawstring.
Szigetvári Csöbör Balázs drew several Turksih Miniatures that are dated to 1570 during the Turkish occupation of central Hungary.
This Figure is a bit unique, but does show most of the possible layers a lady would wear.  
3.Midtan- These are short vests which we know were worn in later centuries by Turkish women, and in the 16th century by children at least. For more information please see Mistress Sabhia's blog below.
4. Yelek- This is one of my favorite garments. A long vest which can act as a supportive garment if fitted correctly. They are closed with buttons.
5. Entari- These are lightly fitted, long coats and what women would have worn regularly.
6. Caftan- A large ceremonial/ out-door coat.
My Entiri is made from a wool blend. (In progress image) Here you see that I chose to incorporate the button loops into a decorative element. 

We did briefly mention other accessories such as sashes, wooden sandals, fans, small veils, and the flower pot hat. With a little time and research interested parties could find out more on these subjects or you could e-mail the go-to-girl herself.

Other Good pages for more information on Turkish Clothing...
Mistress Sabhia's blog
Ottoman Empire Clothiers on Facebook
Ottoman Women's Clothing late 15th through 16th century
Gallery of Extent Turkish Garments
An overview of Turksih Women's Clothing

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Goldwork Partlet

I am still working on some of the finer details to my Venetian outfit based on The Concert by Giovanni Antonio Fasolo. One major detail I have been holding off on is finishing the goldwork embroidery on the partlet aka gorgiera. Now that my copy of The Royal School of Needlework's Goldwork Stitches is here I will be reading it furiously and trying to sketch out the subtle goldwork designs in the painting. Wish me luck! and from what I have read of the book so far it is big on technique, but very light on historical context. A full review will follow later. 

Giovanni Antonio Fasolo, c1565: "The Concert" (fresco detail)
Vicenza, Villa Campiglia Negri de' Salvi

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Embroidery fit for a Queen

Back in September I volunteered for a small but important project. Countess Illora, then Queen of Atenveldt, was stepping down in German high-renaissance clothing. Sarah Grace's end product was beautiful, but my embroidery is only visible to a few members who helped to dress the Queen.

Sarah Grace pre-smocked the embroidery for her Majesty's undergarment cuffs and neckline. I then used a stem stitch in white silk thread to outline the design I had chosen from some period patterns. The cuffs are a simplified version of one of Holbien's paintings in Basil, and the neckline is from an Italian sampler. Flower and vines for an inspiring woman.

Cuffs worked in white for a subtle beauty. 

Neckline in a floral pattern.