A green gown, after Florentine Fashion 1505
Last year – the Swiss Renaissance Group In Nova Corpora decided to go on a journey to Florence, Italy, in Renaissance Costume.
I never made myself a Renaissance gown, I was used to sweet fairytale medieval, and 15th century Swiss costume.
I don’t know, who had the idea – but the main inspiration came by Anna Katharina's dark red Renaissance gown , what was inspired by early 16th century Florentine portraits.
She gave me the link to Jen Thompson Festive Attyre, and off I went!
e.g. this really nice Majolca Plate, archived by Jen Thompson
Firstly – what kind of a gown? Noble? Peasant? Citizen?
For me, always the most important thing about a costume is: if its just for sitting and posing around – it is useless. I must be able to dance, to walk around for several hours, it must be robust, and not too easy to stain.
I sat several hours over my artbooks, surfed for hours and hours the internet, just to stop on the same stile as Jen and Anna.
- Wool is a possible material for a “Gamurra”
- The cut seemed quite similar to 15th Cent. Swiss
- I fell in love with the big brocade sleeves!!! (as 15th has only very small and fitted sleeves)
- I love Renaissance Dances, and I need a gown what looks already like dancing!
I liked especially the colors Red and Green – but I couldn’t make myself a red dress as well – it would have been copying AnKh dress, so I stopped on the lady with the unicorn
I asked my grandmother for her advise, as she is an ancient seamstress, and has quite a good eye for colors matching people.
I showed her the picture from my Raffaello artbook, and I thought (and hoped), that she would agree with me, and telling me that it is going to be a nice dress, and that I surely would look lovely inside.
Failed. Her first comment was: This color doesn’t suit you at all! I showed the way the decollté was cut – and again: this green doesn’t suit you, and you are way too bony to wear this kind of a decollté.
I had to admit – she was right.
And I went off again, looking for a dress with a smaller neck, and thought, this wouldn’t be bad. But again – in my head the beautiful neck of the Raffaello painting was still spinning around, and I decided, to cut a round decollté, just as a “hommage” to the lady with the unicorn. (due to the partlet it seems not as square as the "usual" neckline - and there are many Raffaello paintings with round necks as well :-) )
The color question wasn’t decided yet – but usually I choose colors during shopping! I am a regular tissue store client, and when I see a certain color, and a certain material, the dress itselfs plops out in my mind. But as there nothing about “Raffaello gown” plopped out, I didn’t know what color.
I started with the hemp-rope corset, as suggested by Anna, who really looks stunning – but Granny was right – I am way too bony! At the time of my first “try on” it looked like a 1560 cony shape! No soft curves – just – cony, and flat! Well – this was the big: What are we going to do now?
I decided to go to Florence in my old green 15th dress – and to forget about Florentine high renaissance.
The first meeting of INC came out – and I still haven’t decided yet. A member had chosen a Moretto painting, in pale pink and dark green, another one wanted to make the “Julia” Bal gown of Zephirellis “Romeo and Juliet” – and I was sitting there in my 15th Century dress, and still had no idea at all.
Back home I went to the local tissue store - I was thinking about some red wool for a new 15th century dress.
At the "wool" shelf - it strucked me - there was my renaissance gown!
It was a beautiful thick and soft green wool, quite heavy, but such a vivid emerald color!
I took it immy to the cutting table, measured it out - and was disappointed again: Only 5.7m left - I wanted at least 7.
I returned to the shelf, looking out for some other material - and was holding the fabric what said all the time "I am a renaissance dress" My future dress was quite insisting, so I bought the fabric.
Back home I called Granny again "What can I do - I have way to less fabric for my gown!". I really was quite histerical. She replied "it's not the end of the world, you will just have a smaller skirt"
It was the end of the world for me - it shouldn't be a peasants dress, it should be a nice dress of a middleclass woman, not a peasant!
I was grumbling around - and once, when I talked with Anna Katharina on the subject of 15th Century skirts, I realised: "I am some what of stupid - that hurts!"
Yes - I recovered quite quickly of my "sewing amnesia" - what is the first thing a 15th re-enactor must master: How to make the widest skirt of less fabric!
Back home, I cut the fabric in triangular shapes, and sewed them by hand together.
The journey was just 10 days away!! Horror!
I didn't stop sewing - on my way to work, at lunch break, on the way home, at home - needle up, needle down.
Then the "old" problem - with a corset, or better without?
I decided not to make a corset - for the known reasons.
I cut the bodice, lined the front part with two layers of linnen, the back with just one.
The night before departure, I attached the skirt to the bodice - the dress was taking shape!
In the train I worked on the black velvet ribbon - a horrible material to work with! My fingers really _hurt_ and it was only the decollté done!
The closing ribbon on the side was attached at the Ostello, the hem as well.
But on the second day, I wear the dress - wonderful, comfortable, and green!
In Firenze, the gown looked like this:
Not bad - but still not good. It didn't looked at all like the lady with the unicorn - despite the nice color. The decollté was quite uneasy - and I didn't got the correct shape!
You see, what I mean? The small pleats at the neck - just ugly!
The Firenze Trip was very nice - but until the after Firenze meeting, I didnt get why the bodice looked so... so big.
When I checked the pictures from the "After Firenze Meeting" I saw why: the closure is way too wide!
No wonder that it wasn't holding the requested shape!
But my big sleeves look nice - don't they?
I added some velvet ribbon on the shoulders as well, it is starting to look like my dream. But I still need to learn how to knit a hair net!
And now - finally fitted - the photo is very bad - I will make better Photos soon
But looks waaaay better then in Firenze - doesn't it?
Here's a new picture Anna took the same day as the one above (but I didn't remember)
I sewed even some velvet ribbon on the side closures - after I stopped very brisk at the Galleria Palatina in Firenze this spring. The reason was this picture:
Judith and her Maid Servant
Look at the gown of the maid! - the black ribbon goes down until the skirt starts!
And - as I didn't got my new photos - an old one - I like it very much!! (even if the dress is not fitting). It was Anna Katharina who took the picture - thank you very much!!!