23 July 2013

The Next Big Thing

It's been a while since I did a grand-scale dress project, and I've got the itch. I'm pretty excited about the next thing I'm going to be working on.

Here's the setting: 1490-1500 Flemish - contemporary to the Henry VII era in England. We've got square (or W) necklines, but still a natural, mostly unstiffened silhouette. Waistlines have dropped back down after the V-neck Burgundian gown. Sleeves are still closely fitted, but might have just a hint of a bell around the lower arm. Skirts are flat at the waist and flared to the hem, at least in the front, although there is some fullness starting to gather in the back. Hats have come back down to earth, with black lappets and veils, but are still simple compared to the gable headdress and French hoods that will come later.

Project plan: I'm starting with the middle layer, a kirtle. I've got medium-weight black worsted wool from Mood Fabrics. Bodice to be cut from my basic cote pattern, straight front with eyelets for lacing, linen canvas for some support, and it should just need a new neckline. It'll have short sleeves, and I just need to decide if I want plain gored skirt or some pleats in the back. The Tudor Tailor books mention wool lining for this layer, but I think that'll be intolerably warm for the settings where I'll be wearing this - probably a lightweight linen lining, and even then maybe only the bodice. The chemise should be pretty easy once I've got the neckline set on the kirtle. And for the outer gown I've got some lovely red wool in the stash. I might do wool with wool lining for the gown - currently leaning toward a white wool flannel or similar. Last up is headgear, I've already got suitable jewelry, and the deadline for the whole thing is next March. No problem, right?

Resources: The Tudor Tailor and Queen's Servants books are really good for this, despite being concentrated a bit later and a different country there are a lot of similarities. Amalia Zavattini has a good collection of material, especially the image bibliography, although the focus is a broader than what I'm going for here. Mary-Grace of Gatland also has some inspiration pictures.

Guiron le Courtois, fol. 009r
Annals of Hainaut, fol. 028r

Book of Hours, MS Douce 72, fol. 002v
Book of Hours, MS Douce 72, fol. 045r (David and Bathsheba)
Book of Hours, MS Douce 72, fol. 077f
Book of Hours, MS Rawl. liturg. e. 36, fol. 090v
Book of Hours, MS Buchanan e. 3, fol. 032v
Book of Hours, MS Buchanan e. 3, fol. 037r
Le roman de la rose, MS Douce 195, fol. 001r
Le roman de la rose, MS Douce 195, fol. 002r
Le roman de la rose, MS Douce 195, fol. 007r
Founder's and benefactors' book of Tewkesbury abbey, MS Top. Glouc. d. 2, fol. 015r

... and that's just what I found in the Bodleian's digital collection; I'll be trawling some other collections later.


Krin said...

Hi Catrijn, it's a great and comfortable style.

I've got a variety of theories and source material on my blog for women's dress in the Low Countries (Dutch/Flemish) around the turn of the 1500s: http://dutchrenaissanceclothing.wordpress.com/
And a pinterest board with a variety of images: http://pinterest.com/misskrin/clothing-of-the-low-countries-15th-16th-century/

You may also want to look at the work of sevenstarwheel, as she's made a dress or two from this era, and a couple of hats: http://sevenstarwheel.wordpress.com/

Finally, the work of the Tudor Tailor people for this era is excellent and definitely worth referencing. I'm not convinced the W neckline was popular in Flanders - it appears to be a French thing which was also seen in the English court. The Flemish are really rocking the square slightly trapezoidal neckline with a V shaped back though.

If you want to do the W-neckline, then a hunt through French manuscripts will pull up a variety of images of women in this style with the slim, slightly bell-cuffed gowns.

Looking forward to your explorations, Clara.

Cathy Raymond said...

A fascinating project. Few costumers/reenactors take on that particular style. I'll be eager to follow your progress through your blog.

Catrijn vanden Westhende said...

Thanks for the additional resources Clara, those are great!

I'll disagree (a little) about the W necklines, though. Certainly less popular than the straight across, but there are at least a recognizable minority of cases where there's a rise at the center front, either rounded or angled. (There's one in the featured image above, on the lady farthest right in the upper section, and it's in several of the Gerard David paintings like https://pinterest.com/pin/101331060336504333/). It's not the huge, exaggerated W that you sometimes see, but neither is it flat. I'm planning straight across for my own, though, because I think it will suit me better.

Krin said...

Good point on the subtle W-shape in the Gerard David pics, I'd forgotten about those. I guess when I hear someone talk about the W-shaped neckline, I think of the extreme point you see in French and some English pictures of this time, which is the thing I've not seen in pictures from the Low Countries.

(your recent post reminded me I was going to reply to this)