I wanted a Nice Wool Dress for my late 16th-century lowland Scots gentlewoman character. Specifically, I needed something to wear to the SCA Beltane event, and the only thing I’ve made since re-entering Elizabethan garb was my big ol’ super-fancy court gown. That one *is not* going camping, hell noes! I also knew I wouldn’t have time before Beltane to sew anything substantial, what with going to Italy and all.
So I turned to the expert, Sarah. This was right when she was experimenting with taking commissions (I don’t know if she is right now, so if you ask, be nice!). I begged to be a test case.
I found a great deal on a heathered rust wool from Renaissance Fabrics. Of course I wanted black contrast because, hey, this is me we’re talkin’ about.
Then I toyed around with designs. I wanted a classic Elizabethan style, nothing fussy, just a little bit of decoration to show that my persona has means. So I got out one of my trusty generic female forms and sketched a dress on it to show Sarah what the heck I wanted. It ain’t perfect, but it conveys the needed information. For the web, I filled it in with a wallpaper of the fabric image.
I also commissioned Sarah to make me a shirt to go under the gown. See, I’ve always wanted a partlet-shirty-thingy with the high collar and cool box-pleated ruff-like collar and matching cuffs, but I’m way too lazy to be arsed to do it myself. I always make plain drawstring chemises that I tuck low so they can’t be seen. Booooring. My husband has cool shirts with the sexah collar and cuffs, but not me. So I wanted one from Sarah. And since the gown’s sleeves could be laced off, I could wear the gown with just the shirt sleeves showing for a nice, comfy-cool look on hot days.
A little while after I returned from Italy, Sarah sent me some photos of the finished outfit. Perfect!!!
The following week, I got the goods myself. I tried the gown on, and it fit great, so I had to make my hubbi take pictures. Of course, from the very start, our boy kitty, Toulouse wanted to get involved.
I found that the wonderful shirt’s sleeves were a bit too full to wear with the dress’ sleeves, but it looked super-spiffy with the dress sleeves removed (part of my plan all along, natch).
And omg, I adore this shirt! *squee!*
Then there’s dress without the shirt, just with my old chemise. Of course, I realized that the 18th-century chemise I’ve been using under my 1580s gown has a *round* neckline, and this gown has a proper Elizabethan *square* neckline. Ooopsie. So I kept tucking it around and it just kept showing. No biggie, I have material to make a square-neck 16th-century chemise, just didn’t get around to it before the Elizabethan feast.
And then Toulouse poked his head in again… He was being awfully cute, so I had to pick him up. What can you say? Costumers and cats, we’re the inevitable combination!