Monday, July 15, 2013

Elizabethan - A remodel

As much as I would have loved to have a new Elizabethan dress this year, there is just way too much other sewing prior to this coming weekends fair to have made it happen. So to save on time and my sanity I chose to just remodel the dress that i wore last year, by making a few easy changes to the construction and decoration and adding some new accessories.

Here is the dress before (bad pic I know):

I added diagonal lines of black trim to the bodice front and back to help emphasis the triangle shape and deep point of the mid 16th Century.

And I changed out the tight sleeves for a hanging sleeve with puffed inner sleeve. My inspiration was this portrait of Queen Elizabeth:

I had plenty of the original green material to make the new sleeves but no more of the original copper satin. So i found a new embroidered copper silk that was of the same color; as i really liked the combination of the copper and the dark green and black. i also felt that the embroidery on the new silk would help make the outfit as a whole look more fancy
The hanging sleeves were made with out a pattern just some guess work and rough chalked in shape, constructed of the outer green material and lined in the new copper silk. I edged the opening in the same black trim and added buttons to the opening for decoration and also for the closure down at the wrist. I then added the black set in gold Jewels to each button to help further "fanci-a-fy" the dress. 
The inner sleeve was also made patternless and is actually made up of 3 layers of fabric, even though i wanted them to be sheer, i also didn't want them to be too sheer as that wasn't really done based on portraits.
The inner most layer is very fine handkerchief weight cotton, then interlined in a very stiff cream silk organza and then the outer layer is a tone on tone embroidered silk chiffon. the sleeve is very light and will be very breathable compared to the old sleeves but maintains its puff due to the organza. The embroidered chiffon gives the impression of embroidered sleeves, because even though its my preference i don't have the time to blackwork embroider my own sleeves. the cuff is edged in a little gold lace for more "fanci-a-fying".This inner sleeves are detached from the rest of the main dress and they tie into my partlet so they can be removed easily for cleaning but you cant tell that they aren't sewn in.
Because i had to change the original copper silk to make the hanging sleeves lining i also had to change the copper on the under skit and in the neck lining of the main dress. These two pieces i just covered over with the new silk . . . you know just in case i ever change my mind and want to go back the original, the option is still there :)

I will also be changing the collar of my partlet to the embroidered chiffon to match the inner sleeves, i am just changing the collar because the body of the partlet doesn't show at all. I am making the collar taller by a good 2 and half inches and adding a very short tight ruffle to the top. While i would love to have the ruffle be an actual set ruff, again i do not have the time for that detail and it will have to wait till next years new dress.

And here is the dress after:
So whats left:
A coif in the embroidered chiffon to wear under my little floppy cap.
And i think i need more jewels . . . maybe on the embroidered copper silk . . . we'll see what i have time for :)


  1. Love the new hanging sleeves! Can't wait to see some pictures of you modeling it.

    1. Thanks! They are a lot of fun though I am little worried about them getting caught on things or knocking things over as i am a big Klutz!

  2. I'm just starting to toy with a gown for our local ren fest. Would the inner sleeves in this design be worn over the sleeves of the chemise? TIA!