Taking my dip into “early period” to new heights … This started as a cheesy dress bought on eBay just to kick around camp, probably on Sundays, maybe in summer (since it’s a fairly lightweight cotton). I bought a size based on my hip measurement, knowing I’d have to fit the bodice down, plus hack several miles off the hem & wrists, as per usual with generic sizing. Being a (historically inaccurate) princess-seamed garment, it was super-easy to alter to fit, even by myself just facing the mirror.
Then I got an idea. Wouldn’t this be nice with another layer? I’ve always loved the look of a sideless surcote, aka “the gates of hell.” What goes with black & gold? What do I have in The Stash? Frantic pawing through fabric bins ensued. I had 5 yards of 45″ wide red silk dupioni (not very slubby either). Wow, what a great color combo! Could I eek out a wide, drapey garment out of narrow fabric? After all, piecing is period.
I relied heavily on Jehanne de Wodeford / Saionji no Hana’s sideless surcote pattern page (since this isn’t my period & because I was doing this 2 weeks before the event, I wasn’t going to delve into original research; also, did I mention this is going over a silly store-bought dress?) & I looked at Sabrina de la Bere’s sideless surcotes PDF. Using those, plus a mix of historical images in 20,000 Years of Fashion by Francois Boucher & fantasy images, I mocked up a version of the bodice in muslin. Then I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to lay out the pattern & gussets on the fabric & figuring what needed to be seamed or pieced. Turned out that one side gusset needed piecing & that was all, whew.
And then, because lilies must be gilded (& because I had the material in The Stash), I added strips of black faux fur around the neck & sides. With just barely enough time for shipping, I also found a gold girdle on Etsy. For a circlet, I stripped trim off the brass circlet I use with my Bitchy Roman Loungewear. I made a black linen circular veil too.
First worn at SCA March Crown 2014.