My Perfect Gown

by Diana Chapdelaine

Gown Sketch

Fabric Choices

1. What time period and country is this gown from?
I would have to say 1550 to 1570. I would incorporate a few elements from the time spanning 1550 to 1570"s. It would be English with a slightly French influence.

2. What pictures were you sources for inspiration?

3. What colors did you choose to make this gown out of and why?
I choose a medium grayed blue-some may call it a light slate, and cream. I had this image of a silver blue damask and an ivory brocade with silver threads that I think would look stunning.

4. What fabrics did you choose to make this gown and why?
I wanted a silk damask and silk brocade, both being tone on tone. It would be a simply for elegant creation for lesser nobility. What I have selected to actually make this gown is a damask of a cotton blend and a blended brocade. Both are upholstery fabric.

5. What accessories, if any, did you choose to compliment your costume? Why did you choose these particular accessories?
I choose an attifet for the hat, a feather fan for the warm summer days, silver brocade slippers (it‘s a court gown) A strand of pearls with a pendant of a deep blue stone, a girdle with blue stones Set in silver and a pomander at the end. One large brooch blue stones and pearls set in silver.

6. Describe all the costume pieces involved in this outfit.
First there are the underpinnings. Chemise, corset, bloomers,bumroll, farthingale and maybe another petticoat. After all the under- garments in the order I would put them on are the outer garments, Partlet, Kirtle, over-skirt, bodice.The accessories follow- Girdle, brooch, Attifet veil, fan, slippers, necklace.

7. How are you planning to create this gown? Are you drafting, or buying a Commercial pattern to start from? What influenced your pattern decisions?
I choose Margo Anderson‘s pattern since I have no clue about drafting patterns. I own most of the Big three companies and they are not as historically accurate As Margo‘s. I don‘t understand how to follow „Period Patterns" instructions though I do own it. I have used Fantasy Fashions, Alter years, Costume Connection as well. I have found Margo‘s to be fairly easy to follow.

8. How did your level of sewing experience influence your design choice?
My lack of sewing knowledge prevented me from using „Period Patterns", sadly to say. Other then the one company I can pretty much follow directions if I can understand them.

9. How did your budget resources influence your costume, fabric, & material choices?
My resources would not allow for the silk damask and brocade I wanted. At 150.00 per yard I had to lower my expectations. I found slate blue damask with a small even scroll pattern and an ivory or bone tone on tone brocade. Both were in reason if I saved for it. The blue was 38. per yd and the bone was 32 per yd.

They are cotton and cotton blends, light enough to wear all day at faire, and washable. These two fabrics are easy to obtain which is nice since I do not have to travel 100 miles or more to purchase them.

10. Where will you be wearing this outfit? Will it be worn often? What will you be doing in this outfit? How did these factors influence your design?
I attend Renaissance faires for fun. I love having a reason to wear gowns and clothing of the time. Most of the dings I wear for the weekend at any given faire arc based on the weather. If it is very hot I will wear cotton and linen as a peasant or, when the mood strikes me, a rogue. I find myself drawn to upper classes the longer I attend. I was very afraid to use patterned fabrics so I chose velvets to make my gowns. It has a few major draw backs. Velvet is heavy and hot, it‘s impossible in rainy weather, and it‘s harder to keep from crushing the nap.

My choice for this gown is based on what I learned in the class. I can pick fabrics that have patterns and be nearly correct. Since I am not an actor or hired to perform at faire, the gown I make must be comfortable and durable. I think this gown will meet these criteria

The clothing I make will see several seasons of Faire wear. I might wear one outfit for three or four days, one day each at a different faire, not for a whole weekend. lt must hold up to the amount of walking I do over uneven ground, look good in spite of the dust and dirt and sudden weather change. lt must feel good to wear.

11. Describe any other factors that influence you in designing this gown.
I wanted a simple elegant nobles gown, not too flashy and yet the right look for a lesser noble traveling. Something that would not mistake the wearer as being Merchant class. Whether or not I have succeeded I am not sure.

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