05 October 2009

1470s Burgundian gown

1470s Burgundian gown
Originally uploaded by Catrijn.
From the archives: the green Burgundian V-neck gown that I made in 2005-2006.

Few dresses are as iconic of medieval fashion as the V-neck gown that was popular in the court of the Dukes of Burgundy around 1475, thus called by reenactors the Burgundian gown. The fashion extended to nearby regions as well, of course, particularly the Low Countries which were held by Burgundy at that time, and similar styles were seen in France and England. This style of gown is an overgown, being worn over a chemise and a foundation gown; artwork of the period seems to indicate it was made of fairly thick material and fully lined, often with fur. As such, this is a very warm dress, and would replace a cloak or coat. There are some illustrations and paintings that seem to indicate velvet was also a possible lining option, based on color and painted texture, and I have at least one unusual example that shows a blue and gold brocade instead.

Construction details: Unlined gown of heavy-weight 100% wool melton, with silk velvet trim; hand-sewn with silk thread. The body construction uses four main panels, with selvage edges at front and back center seams. The V neckline is opened by pulling the selvage edge out to the side, not by cutting away material. In the back, the opening is filled in by a triangular piece. The side seams were shaped by draping to the body, and then gradually widen into the A-line skirt. The front opening extends slightly lower than the bottom of the belt; there are a few lacing rings on the inside edge to hold it closed. The sleeves are bias-cut to allow a closer fit, although they are slightly too long for me. I have chosen to only place the trim material at collar, cuff, and hem, where it shows, rather than fully lining the gown, due to the very limited quantities of silk velvet that I had. (It was taken from a vintage dress which had already been ruined by someone else's attempts at alterations.) The inset panel is a rectangle of red silk, pinned to the undergown layer. The gown neckline, as it has a tendency to pull out wider than I like, is also pinned down under the collar, to hold it in place.

Other details: I'm also wearing a beaded necklace, and a silk gauze veil over a truncated hennin, about which I might blog later. I will note that the veil is catching the flash in this photo, and is much more sheer under normal lighting conditions.

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