I didn’t plan on making anything new to wear at 12th Night because I just made a nifty new 1530s dress for Collegium, so of course I wanted to wear that. But I was asked to join the court of Obidiah & Ascelin, and her royal highness requested a festive, wintery 16th-century theme for their coronation, specifically with hats & coats. How could I deny this honor? And besides, I’ve been wanting to make a zimarra — a loose, coat-like garment for Italian period dress — anyway, so I figured I could simply make one to go with my Italian gowns … perhaps even the 1530 dress, tho’ that’d be blurring the lines of historical accuracy a bit in the silhouette. I have some gorgeous deep red, white, & gold silk-cotton blend damask in The Stash which should be perfect for this, as well as a lot of gold trims. And maybe even faux fur. We shall see.
First, inspiration images!
These portraits show several of the things I’m going for: long, loose shape to go over a full gown; short or no sleeves to show the undergown’s sleeves; a variety of collar styles to choose from; fur lining &/or trim; gold &/or embroidered trims; & sticking to a general 1530s-1560s time frame. The basic shape is always the same — a loose overgown without a waist seam & generally the back is flat, without pleating (that appears to be a very late-16th-century addition & mostly in English & Dutch versions of loose gowns). The Italian version in this century tends to have sleeves (unlike the earlier giornea), whereas the English style of loose gowns seemed to be as often sleeved or sleeveless. However, for 12th Night, I may leave off the sleeves & make them later, depending on if I do wear this with the giganto-sleeved 1530s gown or something else.