RL - Elizabethan Dress

Arts & Crafts
Post Reply
User avatar
Lily
Honored Resident
Honored Resident
Posts: 710
Joined: 09/21/13

RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Lily » 10/18/15

I never did finish the Henrician French Gown last year because, well, I got the part of Mother Superior in last year's Renaissance Festival. I didn't need the fancy garb and things. The fabric for that gown went into making a new cover for my sofa. Hehe. (It's looking fabulous! I'll post pictures when the new sofa cover is done.)

This year, I auditioned for the pirate scenario. Being a pirate sounds fun, yes? However, the queen was looking for a couple of new members for the Royal Court. They need intelligent people who can act and think on their feet, and the queen decided that I was exactly that.

Well, now I'm in the Royal Court... and I need to start thinking about my underwear.

I start making a mental checklist of the things I will need before I even begin designing and making my dress: a new chemise for my new neckline, bloomers (They're not period, but we're required to wear them after an incident a few years ago involving a hoop skirt and a bright pink thong.), a bum roll, a farthingale (a.k.a. a hoopskirt), and an Elizabethan corset.

I pull up my instructions on how to make a pattern for an Elizabethan corset and get my boning material. Then I being measuring.

You need four measurements for this: bust, waist, front, and underarm. You're supposed to measure to your natural waist, the crease where you bend. Your natural waist is higher up than the waist on today's clothing. According to the instructions, most women have an underarm measurement (2 inches from below the underarm, or the top of your bra strap, to your natural waist) of 6 1/2 inches. I measure mine. 11 inches. I must have measured it wrong. I double check. 11 inches. The instructions also tell me the front measurement, 2 inches above the bustline to an inch below the belly button, is usually 12 inches. You don't want to go lower because it will hit in an uncomfortable place when you sit. I measure mine. 16 inches!

WTF?!

I have hubby measure for me later that day because it's really hard to get certain measurements on your own. He measures 10 inches for my underarm and 15 for my front. It's an inch shorter, but still. WTF?! Then I read further into the instructions. Women with "very long" waists can have longer measurements.

So I have short legs and a long waist. I'm a freak.

Image

The top line is a "normal" waist length. The bottom line is an inch shorter than my measurements. Yes, I went two inches shorter for the front point to ensure my busk does not hit uncomfortably against my erm... girly bits when I sit down. Corset construction is now underway. I'll post pics of the finished corset after I'm done.


Then I started thinking about my character.

Story Time!


I chose to model my character after Anne Fiennes, the 10th Baroness Dacre. She was a very strong minded woman married to a rather weak minded man, and she was the 1st cousin once removed from Anne Boleyn. She was a controversial woman, almost scandalous. She inherited Sir Thomas More's house in Chelsea after the death of her mother, the Marchioness of Winchester, and resided there with her husband and, sometimes, her brother. She had one child, a daughter named Elizabeth who died young.

The 10th Baron Dacre had quite the history. His father shot a groundskeeper and was hung like a common criminal when Gregory Fiennes was 2 years old. All their lands and titles were stripped by Henry VIII. He was 19 when Elizabeth I took the throne and restored to him his lands and title, in 1558. He married Anne Sackville (and there's a whole lot of Anne Sackvilles in Elizabethan England) when she was very young.

Not exactly the best at managing money, he accrued some gambling debts and wished to sell off part of his father's lands to cover them. His sister, Margaret Lennard, threw a fit and sought to have those lands settled in her name. Margaret had gotten quite lucky and married into a very wealthy family. In her schemes to acquire this land and gain favor with the queen, she began smearing her brother and his wife's names to the queen. Well, Anne was having none of that. She wrote a lengthy letter to Elizabeth I to clear the matter up. Margaret's ploy didn't work, and I don't think she ever forgave Anne for it either.

In late 1594, Anne's husband died, leaving the estate to her under the care of her brother-in-law, Sammuel Lennard (Margaret's husband). He was to pay her £2000 a year. By this time, most of the land really was Anne's, left to her by her mother. Margaret was furious. I'm sure you can guess what she tried to do. Anne was accused of trying to appropriate her husband's estate to herself, and her husband's estate was put into abeyance where it remained for some time. She successfully defended herself from these charges and then died just a few short months after her husband, in 1595.

This part was the real deal maker for me when I looked for historical inspiration. In Anne's will, she made provisions for the establishment of Emmanuel Hospital on a part of her husband's land and also an almshouse for 20 poor people nearby. This fulfilled a life-long dream she and Gregory shared together. She left her lands, manors, and houses to Lord Burghley (William Cecil). To Queen Elizabeth I, she left a jewel worth £300, and to Lord Buckhurst (her brother), she left the rest of her jewelry as well as a portrait of Elizabeth I framed with 26 rubies and a pendant pearl. To Margaret Lennard and her husband, she left a note reminding them that they still owed her £2000.

It wasn't until James I took the throne that Margaret and her husband received the titles of Baron and Baroness Dacre in 1604. (Elizabeth I had a long memory. Hehe!) Margaret never did her get hands on Anne's land.

Is that not an awesome story? A woman that independent needs garb to match. In that time, dresses for women had a very specific neckline. A variance from the low, revealing neckline was a dress designed like a man's doublet. It was scandalous for women to wear dresses designed like this because it sent a message that she thought she was just as good as a man. I decided that this doublet patterned dress would be the perfect dress for my character and pulled out my pencils for a super quick sketch.

Image

I was tempted to make an attifet, but I decided that it wouldn't be masculine enough for my character. Plus it wouldn't offer much shade from the sun, and I get sun hives (as well as sun burns). I'm debating between a riding hat and a tall hat. The tall hat has a wider brim, so I'm leaning towards that.

User avatar
Lily
Honored Resident
Honored Resident
Posts: 710
Joined: 09/21/13

Re: RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Lily » 12/31/15

An update on the Elizabethan dress...

I finished my Elizabethan underwear (except for my chemise) around Thanksgiving, and then, with the end of the semester, I was too busy to do anything else until Christmas vacation. After making my corset and trying it on, I realized I could have gone an inch longer instead of erring on the side of caution. Actually, I could have gone 2 inches longer, but at least I won't have problems bending and twisting!

I also made my bum roll and farthingale. No, it's not a traditional farthingale. Our head of the costume committee (who is a professional drag queen) suggested I make my farhtingale wider than normal to offset the length of my waist. It's more of a hoopskirt, though it does have that oblong shape that farthingales had. He was right. I would have looked like a beach ball if I'd made my farhtingale in the traditional manner.

Image

The muslin chemise pictured is the one I used last year, but they won't let me use it this year. Because my sleeves will show when the temperature gets overly warm, I need a much nicer chemise. I have this gorgeous bleached Irish linen for that.

Because the royal guards will be wearing emerald green, I had to change my original color scheme. I went for a pale olive green tone-on-tone brocade and am using red beads and trim with red accents to keep me from looking like a giant olive.

Image

The catch is that they didn't have any trim I liked, so I have to make my own. I found a lovely Victorian fabric that I'm turning into trim.

Image

Image

I started putting my actual dress together the day after Christmas. With family coming over Christmas Day, we were much too busy for me to start the week before. Surprisingly, the dress is coming together quickly. Currently, I'm trimming my over skirt and hemming it up.

I started with my underskirt which will be beaded with small red seed beads that have a silver lining inside for sheen. I used the thick green & red trim piece at the bottom. It took 6 yards of fabric to make the underskirt, not counting the front panel, called a forepart. I may have to adjust the forepart a bit after I finish the overskirt.

Image

Then I began making my overskirt. I started out using a traditional cartridge pleat as described on this website.

https://www.elizabethancostume.net/cartpleat/

However, because I had a wider-than-normal farthingale, I needed more fabric for my overskirt. It was so heavy that the fabric itself began to weaken where it was stitched to the waistband. I quickly realized that I was going to have to cheat on these pleats in order to keep the fabric (or stitches) from ripping off while at the fair. After some time examining the problem, I decided that no one would be able to tell the difference with the fabric draped over my bum roll... I hope. I secured the entire pleat instead of just the top edges.

Image

Image

Once that was done, I began working on my doublet. It's mostly finished. I just need to make the panes for my upper sleeves and then grommet it for my lower sleeves to attach. Until then, I have no sleeves. Hehe.

Image

My goal today: hem my underskirt and overskirt and make more trim from my Victorian fabric.

User avatar
Lily
Honored Resident
Honored Resident
Posts: 710
Joined: 09/21/13

Re: RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Lily » 12/31/15

Also, my cats have decided that my skirts are the perfect place to hang out. Colby has even taking to batting at my feet while I move around the tailoring dummy.

Image
Last edited by Lily on 12/31/15, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Xyviene
Regular
Regular
Posts: 64
Joined: 01/06/15

Re: RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Xyviene » 12/31/15

Your latest post has a broken image dear.,

User avatar
Lily
Honored Resident
Honored Resident
Posts: 710
Joined: 09/21/13

Re: RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Lily » 12/31/15

Xyviene wrote:Your latest post has a broken image dear.,
Which image? They all appear to be working for me. Imgur did go down for an update a bit ago. It might have been that.

User avatar
Xyviene
Regular
Regular
Posts: 64
Joined: 01/06/15

Re: RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Xyviene » 12/31/15

Lily wrote:Also, my cats have decided that my skirts are the perfect place to hang out. Colby has even taking to batting at my feet while I move around the tailoring dummy.

Image
Maybe it's set to a strange setting? It still shows up as broken for me.

User avatar
Lily
Honored Resident
Honored Resident
Posts: 710
Joined: 09/21/13

Re: RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Lily » 12/31/15

Hrm. I'll play around with it. Here's the direct link to the image. It's my cat hiding under my dress while he swipes at my feet.
https://i.imgur.com/9L52OoJ.jpg
Last edited by Lily on 12/31/15, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Xyviene
Regular
Regular
Posts: 64
Joined: 01/06/15

Re: RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Xyviene » 12/31/15

I think it must be an internal server issue they're having. I get this lovely error message:
Error 503 Maximum threads for service reached

Maximum threads for service reached

Guru Mediation:

Details: cache-iad2123-IAD 1451598505 820361846

User avatar
Lily
Honored Resident
Honored Resident
Posts: 710
Joined: 09/21/13

Re: RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Lily » 12/31/15

Xyviene wrote:I think it must be an internal server issue they're having. I get this lovely error message:
Error 503 Maximum threads for service reached

Maximum threads for service reached

Guru Mediation:

Details: cache-iad2123-IAD 1451598505 820361846
Well, poo. :( I'll see if reuploading the image does anything... after I finish the Frostfell quests on all my carpenters.

User avatar
Lily
Honored Resident
Honored Resident
Posts: 710
Joined: 09/21/13

Re: RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Lily » 12/31/15

OK, re-uploaded the image. Does it work now?

User avatar
Sibelle
Terminus Developer
Terminus Developer
Posts: 2974
Joined: 08/23/10

Re: RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Sibelle » 01/01/16

Yep! Hah, he's cute.

User avatar
Lily
Honored Resident
Honored Resident
Posts: 710
Joined: 09/21/13

Re: RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Lily » 01/11/16

I redid the pleats on my overskirt because I wasn't happy with them. I made much smaller cartridge pleats, and they held just fine at the smaller size. I also created the panes for my upper sleeves. I will never make paned anything again. They were annoying to make and attach.

Image

Image

User avatar
Lyah
Owner of the Raven
Owner of the Raven
Posts: 3645
Joined: 03/08/10

Re: RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Lyah » 01/12/16

Lordy! The effort on this has been amazing, what a wonderful job you have done here!

User avatar
Lily
Honored Resident
Honored Resident
Posts: 710
Joined: 09/21/13

Re: RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Lily » 01/12/16

Heh. My daughter talked about wanting to join me on the Royal Court, and I told her there was no way in Hell I would make another dress this elaborate. So far, it's taken 3 months from underwear to overskirt, and I'm not done yet.

And thanks, Lyah!

User avatar
Lillya
Resident
Resident
Posts: 243
Joined: 05/20/08

Re: RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Lillya » 01/14/16

I love this, Aunt Lilly ♡

User avatar
Slipps
Honored Resident
Honored Resident
Posts: 1983
Joined: 12/07/10

Re: RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Slipps » 01/15/16

That does look really good!

User avatar
Lily
Honored Resident
Honored Resident
Posts: 710
Joined: 09/21/13

Re: RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Lily » 02/03/16

Chemise... ✓
Partlet... ✓
Bloomers... ✓ (No, they're not period, but we're required to have them ever since an unfortunate incident involving a hoop skirt and a hot pink thong.)
Corset... ✓
Farthingale... ✓
Underskirt... ✓
Overskirt... ✓
Doublet Bodice... ✓
Sleeves... ✓
Hat... ✓
Cloak... _____ Still working on that one.
Pouches/Bags... _____ Still working on these too.

2 shirts for the guards... ✓
Garb for my daughter... ✓
Altering son's garb... ✓

I have an order for two more guards' shirts, which I told them wouldn't be done until next week. I have to fix my daughter's chemise and add some length to her ruffled overskirt. I really need to get my bags made because I need to pack a lot of food on me. I won't be able to eat the Faire food. It'll all have gluten in it or be prepared or cooked on the same surface as things with gluten in them. I need to attach the red fasteners to my sleeves so I can close them. The cloak is definitely needed for rainy days. I'm not too worried about cold days as things warm up quickly, but when it rains, it gets super chilled-to-the-bone cold.

And 3 days left till opening weekend! Aha hahaha hahahaha!!!! *goings nuts*

On the bright side, here's a pick from dress rehearsal. They were running through the scenarios again. Most of the cast had not seen them yet, but the Royal Court folks have seen this over and over again for the last month. We were bored and just hanging out to the side, as most of us will be off "shopping" during the scenarios. The man I'm talking to is Lord Rhydian Powys, Duke of Cawdor.

Image
Last edited by Lily on 02/03/16, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Tajar
Resident
Resident
Posts: 492
Joined: 02/02/12

Re: RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Tajar » 02/03/16

That is really freaking awesome!

User avatar
Lily
Honored Resident
Honored Resident
Posts: 710
Joined: 09/21/13

Re: RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Lily » 03/18/16

Some images from the Faire...

Actually, this first one is from dress rehearsal in January. I'd been washing dishes with the Local Yokels to help them prepare for the season. Then I ran to my car to get dressed and hurried on to rehearsal. A friend (who plays Lady Love, nanny to the royal children) snapped it.

Image

This was was the 2nd or 3rd weekend of the festival. Lord Hunsdon was escorting both the Lady Mayor Roselynn and myself to the Falconer's Heath for scene 3 of our scenario. Furball is the our festival's official photographer. It's about this point where the loss of weight and size was becoming very noticeable. Nothing was fitting correctly. It would constantly pull back, and instead of my corset pushing my boobs up, the girls kept slipping into it.

Image

And while Furball may be our official photographer, it doesn't mean that other photographers don't visit. This was opening weekend. Lord Thomas, the Duke of Norfolk (also known as the Queen's brother), and I went shopping during scene 5 and were caught stopping by the Mayor's Court for some refreshment. (It gets super hot and dusty out there.) This was taken while everything still fit, but the heavy fabric of my forepart kept hiking up above my belt.

Image

Since opening weekend, I've lost 4 inches around my waist (to add to the 2 inches I'd lost before Faire even began) and 16 pounds. I managed to take in my corset so it now holds the girls up properly. Then I began work on my underskirt and forepart. This time, to solve the issue with my forepart hiking above my belt, I made it detachable. It'll also aid in changing the look of my dress if I decide to purdify it for next year by either changing the fabric to a different color or beading it.

Image

I put darts in the back of my bodice to take that in, but at some point I really need to sit down and take it in properly at the seams. For now, I'm repleating my overskirt... because the way I spaced out my pleats before left me no room to take it in. I basically had to take it apart and put it back together again. The goods news is that the new pleats look gorgeous. I also need to take in my bum roll now.

Fun fun!

User avatar
Lily
Honored Resident
Honored Resident
Posts: 710
Joined: 09/21/13

Re: RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Lily » 03/25/16

These would be the new pleats on my overskirt, which look very lovely. The picture makes them look small, but that's actually 4 inches of fabric in each fold.

Image

Image

Unfortunately, taking in my skirts at the waist changed the way they laid over my farthingale, and I didn't realize this until after I'd gotten to the fairgrounds and put everything on. My skirts wound up becoming 4 inches too short, so we pinned the overskirt to my forepart, unrigged everything, and rearranged the folds of fabric over my hoops. I was quite uncomfortable for most of the day, but I couldn't have picked a better weekend to have a costume failure. I had sprained my ankle the week before, and it was still hurting. I spent most of the day sitting down at Mayor's Court and up on the dias waving at people coming in and out. I also had more pictures of me taken on that day than I did on any other day.

Figures.

This was just after I'd been caught using my little golden spyglass (which hangs around my neck) to get a closer look at one of our muscle-bound shirtless men in kilts. That's one of my bits at the Faire. It always gets a laugh, especially if the guy is just 5 feet in front of me. The weekend was made even better because it was Time Traveler's weekend. All our royal guards had been replaced by storm troopers and Sith, known by Phoenix cosplayers as the 501st. It was awesome. In the background, you can see one of the 501st wranglers. She kept the troop on time and made sure they were drinking enough water and taking breaks to cool down.

Image

We got a visit from SeleneLily Galicia who travels around taking pictures of everyone. She'd been very ill recently, so it was so awesome to see her out and about. This is Lady Sarah, the Countess of Devon (but we call her Lady Pumpkin), Lady Grace, the Marchioness of Winchester (also known as the Queen's sister), and myself.

Image

And of course she had to get one of us with her minion.

Image

Lady Grace joined me on the dias the first day, when I was so upset about everything not fitting correctly anymore. She asked me what all I had done, and I told her that I'd taken in the waist by 6 inches. It was still loose enough to slide around when needed, but suddenly, it was too short. I assured her that I had not taken up the hem at all. That's when she made the suggestion to shorten my hoops.

I made my farthingale back in November, before I started losing weight. I was six inches bigger in November. That night, I shortened my hoops a little bit at a time until everything fell correctly. I took my largest hoop in by 2 feet, give or take a couple inches. The next day, everything looked so much better, but of course no one was snapping pictures of me when my dress was fixed. Hahaha!

The next day, I was on the dias with the Duke of Norfolk and a 501st storm trooper who'd been assigned as our guard. We told people that we moved their cars while they were away having fun and then wished them luck, yelled at every person dressed as the Doctor to take our guard home (to which our trooper would yell, "Why'd you have to leave me here with THESE two?!"), and when accused of being naughty or mean to our assigned guard from the 501st, I would inform people that, "We would certainly -never- do anything like that. We're the very picture of sweetness and light!" The Duke of Norfolk would put on his best innocent face with his hands palm-to-palm next to his cheek and smile prettily, which of course looks very insincere on him.

We got more than a few laughs with our antics that day.

I've also met quite a few new friends at the Faire this year. It seems that the number of teachers working at the Faire increases each year. Currently, we have 3 elementary teachers, one preschool teacher, 2 high school teachers, and a college professor. It's been so nice to be able to discuss frustrations and possible solutions for work, and except for the college professor and preK teacher, everyone understands. We're all under the same pressure and time constraints.

On stage, Catherine de' Medici, the Queen Regent of France, and Lady Anne have become good friends throughout the festival season. As both of our in-character husbands "stayed home," we're able to shop, gossip, and flirt to our hearts' content. Backstage, our latest mutual commiseration has been about state testing, which begins next week. Both of our jobs are dependent upon how well our students perform on the test, and with the influx of new students at my school and the over scheduling at hers, the odds are stacked against us.

Image

This picture of Lady Pumpkin, the Queen Regent of France, and Lady Anne was shared with me the next day, courtesy of Speed Force Photography.

Image

And of course no Time Traveler's weekend would be complete without a TARDIS!

Image

This weekend is closing weekend. We have all sorts of shenanigans planned, especially since it's also Easter weekend. Lady Grace has challenged Her Majesty to a cabriolet race. I'm on Lady Grace's team. The Russian fabric merchant has agreed to be our announcer. He's quite loud, and our favorite Scotsman will get to escape the Living Mermaid show to come start the race for us... 50s drag race style. It's going to be fun.

Cardinal Guido will, of course, be singling out everyone who comes to the Faire dressed as Jesus. (You'd be surprised how often that happens.) Actually, all our clergy plan to have excessive fun picking on the patrons on Sunday. It'll be glorious. I expect I'll be hearing a lot of, "Enjoy the cleavage, sir. I'll see you at confession."

User avatar
Lily
Honored Resident
Honored Resident
Posts: 710
Joined: 09/21/13

Re: RL - Elizabethan Dress

Post by Lily » 03/29/16

The final weekend has come and gone. I took my garb in a total of 6 inches, but it's hard to tell in the pictures because my sleeves hide the small of my back in all the pictures. Plus the bum roll made my ass look really big. SeleneLily came back for the final weekend and got quite a few shots in.

Image

Because I switched from the prince's court to the queen's court halfway through the day (so I could sing at both feast halls), I never was able to make my way to the Local Yokels for lunch. However, I was at the mayor's court frequently, as they're next to the feast hall. They took care of me and made sure there was always something I could eat that wouldn't make me sick.

Image

And we had our cabriolet race! Unfortunately, the cabriolets could only go down the lane one at a time, so it was decided ahead of time the Queen would win. However, Lady Elizabeth and I had our own shenanigans planned. It totally did not involve me supplying her with a crossbow and marshmallows. She totally did not fire those marshmallows at the Queen the entire time, getting 3 or 4 of them into the Queen's standing ruff. In the back you can just make out Lady Elizabeth (in light blue) not loading the crossbow at all.

Image

The Queen's RL husband is the Faire's official photographer, so he was sure to get a whole lot of pictures of the "race." These are just a few of them.

Image

Image

It was right about here, at the end of the race, when the Queen realized we were shooting marshmallows at her. It didn't help that the Queen's country cousin Milly told her it was a drive-by shooting. Hahahaha! At that, Her Majesty began pulling out the big guns and shot giant marshmallows at us. Thankfully, the big marshmallows aren't very aerodynamic.

Image

At the end of the last day, I held up the bright green plushie frog that I'd hung on my belt and began asking patrons, "Does anyone know a witch that can help me? I need my husband back! He has the money!" When some of them told me to kiss him, I'd tell them, "That only works on princes, and my husband is no prince. Believe me!" If a patron dressed as a witch or a wizard came forward to play along and try to turn poor Gregory Fiennes back into a human, I'd say, "You're not very good at this, are you?"

And thus the festival ended... much too soon. I was sad to say goodbye to people I knew I wouldn't see again for another 10 months.

However, I have plans for my gown next year! With the Duke of Norfolk's help (chairman of the costume committee and a professional drag queen outside of the Faire), I will be replacing the sleeves and forepart with a bright coral color to really make the dress pop. I'll also be doing some beading and getting together with Queen Mum to make a new hat, but most importantly, I'll need to make a new bodice for next year. I took in the current one as much as I could, and making a doublet bodice really didn't keep me from getting sunburned. As I told Norfolk, "If I'm going to get sunburned anyway, then I'm going to look fabulous doing it!"

Post Reply