In a message dated 1/31/2006 4:25:28 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
>I'm in the planning stages of putting together my first Elizabethan
> dress (starting with the Simplicity "Shakespeare in Love"[snip]
does anyone have any advice to make this project go
> smoother? I've been sewing for years now, but never anything of this
> > Rebeca de la Mare
1) Throw out the top half of the dress. There should be no princess
(curved) seams in your bodice for 1570-1580. In fact, I use no seams at all except
for tacking the "straps" of my bodice to the torso in back. I'll have to
scan a pic for you in the next few days of a good "straight-bodied" or "french"
[worn by the English!] gown bodice.
2) The skirts, however, are lovely. The tutorial on cartridge-pleating
alone is worth the price of the pattern. Do use a stiffener like a strip of
linen or a modern curtain pleating tape along the top of the overskirt, between
the gingham ribbon and the good outer fabric. This keeps the cartridge pleats
rigid and neat coming out from your waistband, to add extra "oomph" to your
skirts. Do NOT attach the underskirt to the overskirt, though; give each one
its own waistband, so you can change kirtles (underskirts) later to
coordinate with other pairs of sleeves. You can add 2 eyelets holes to the back of
each waistband and tie them together to prevent the foreparte of the kirtle
from spinning sideways -- a period treatment. But to do that, you'll need to
shift the underskirt opening to one of the side seams. Skip the zipper if
there is one, and just use a heavy hook and eye; your overskirt will completely
cover the gap.
3) The bodice fabric should match your overskirt! The picture is WRONG.
Your sleeves can match your bodice and overskirt OR your forepart, and can be
more embellished than the other dress parts of the same fabric.
4) The farthingale is perfectly functional, but I recommend skipping the
waistband and simply folding the top edge over to make a casing for a twill tape
drawstring. Note that the farthingale is cut to be worn OVER a bumroll, and
will not lay correctly without it. There has been some debate as to whether
the bumroll goes over or under in period, but I find the silhouette seen in
portraiture is better achieved by wearing it UNDER. Then again, there is
still a debate on whether bumrolls really existed, too...
5) Skip the bumroll in Simplicity 1888; The bumroll of Simplicity 8715 (I
hope that's the right number!) is much easier to sew and more comfy. [The
shirts in 8715 are nice, too, if you skip the big flounce at the neck and make a
real ruff to pin into the collar instead.] Tie your bumroll on securely with
twill tape, and then tie on your farthingale over it. The fat bumroll keeps
the drawstring farthingale from slipping downward.
Um, that's about all I can add from memory, since I'm wayyyy tired. But you
can see how the skirts look with my alterations in my pic in the "Photos"
section: "Gillian's garb.
Hope that helps,