Golden Wedding Gown, ca. 1475

Another dress I made when being bored *lol* And under pressure. Does that go together? Pressure and being bored? Okay, I was under pressure because I needed to finish an underdress for a friend within a week, as we were going to a medieval fair together the following weekend. But then I was bored also because my last exam in uni got cancelled all of a sudden and shifted one week later, so I ended up with a few extra days - during which I *could* have learned for my exam, but my head was already so stuffed; or I *could* have started on my friend's underdress, but then again my parents had come back from a flea market some days before with this gorgeous golden brocade that hey had bought for 3 Euro (which is *plop*, peanuts), and as I walked past it I thought....oh. You could need a new dress yourself. Well technically I didn't, because my closet's bursting full already, but....

This dress is the result of a lot of but's, really...

I started on it rather experimentally...experimentically?...as an experiment by laying out my pattern on the fabric to see if it was enough at all. It was enough, so I cut it, just to see...whatever. As the pattern is not really a complicated thing (one front panel and one back, there you go) I decided to make it more complicated (lol) by adding a train in the back and a gore in the front. Also, I changed the sleeves a little to make these little sleeves that were so popular by the end of the 15th century.

My original pattern was the one I also used for my Frankish dress:

From Nehelenia Designs

The pattern for over- and underdress are pretty much the same; I used the one for the underdress because of the length and the sleeves. It has long, tight sleeves. But with nearly all early medieval designs, the sleeves are cut a bit differently from what we do nowadays - today, you make the basic dress and then set in the sleeve into the armhole. Well with this pattern - which is historically correct - you cut the dress, both back and front with (short) sleeves already (basically what we know as a raglan sleeve today) and just close the side seams up to the sleeve edge. You end up having a dress made of two panels, with short sleeves and two side seams - one seam being on the upper, visible side of the sleeve.
Then, if you want a long or wide sleeved dress, you just attach that to the short one, leaving you with a seam at about elbow level.

Problem with that was, all medieval clothes were cut *WIDE*. So with this pattern, you don't really have a shaped sleeve especially underneath your arms...it just hangs there. So for my 1475 dress, I had to change the sleeves drastically, reducing them about 2/3 in width underneath the arms.

It was the beginning of the Renaissance, which was already in full bloom in Italy and other countries by that time (like Spain) and preferred more tight-fitting, body-conscious clothing. However Germany was a bit reluctant in adopting the new styles, so by the end of the 15th century, we have both modern Renaissance and more old-fashioned medieval styles coexisting, sometimes blending into a strange mix of styles.

So, after I had everything cut, I sliced the front panel open from the hem to about waist level and inserted a V-shaped....ehm, insert. I ended up having enough leftover fabric to make a belt out of it - and I still have enough...not as much for another dress, I'm sorry, but maybe for a corset or something one day.
However, what was most work on this was the fur. It's real fur for a change (I can see the tomatoes comingLET ME EXPLAIN!!!). It was once an old jacket that I rescued from being thrown away by my grandma. It had been sitting in my cupboard since, waiting to be turned into something. And it was an ugly jacket, I can tell you. It looks much better on my dress Besides, what I think: I would never buy a brand new, expensive fur coat or something like that. But: If you throw color bags at someone who wears such a fur coat, you might not only end up having to pay for it, but the poor animal(s) also died *completely* in vain. It's ruined, just like that...gets thrown away and that was that. That's what makes me sad. 'Cause I mean...of course it's not right to kill animals just for 'vanity items' like that, and I would never buy stuff like that, but *if* someone buys it...well you shouldn't destroy it, either, but think a bit.
What I want to say: I believe there's no harm in re-using old fur items, like, buying old fur coats or jackets on markets and re-use them, even if you're normally against wearing fur .
And besides, I mean, fur has kept us humans warm throughout the centuries, and not only that. It was completely natural to wear it, for example through the Middle Ages, and, well....if you're doing proper reenactment, you can't always avoid it. You can in 99% of the cases as there's really good faux fur out there, but well...it's not historically correct, if you're taking it serious. Actually I believe that more animals were killed for clothing purposes in the past than nowadays (which doesn't mean it's okay!)...if you just imagine that about 300 ermines were necessary to make a king's coat...

Yes, however....[/moral rant]

So, this old jacket was cut up into pieces and sewn onto the dress BY HAND (hooray!). I had a fur dealer look at it at the market we went to, and he said it was probably hamster (the wild version, not what you're having in your cage! Save the tomatoes for someone else!!!).

The dress is cut so you can just pull it over your head; all the fitting is done with the belt afterwards. The undersleeves are really just that: undersleeves, with very unauthentic elastic on one side so you can put them on like gloves and they'll stay up. Not exactly historically correct (although they sometimes actually *did* it that way, minus the elastic of course but with drawstrings). As long as no one sees it though... And the dress is really very heavy by itself, it gets rather hot in there, so I was quite glad about the extra air circulation *g* The underlseeves are made out of a linen/silk mix.

As there exist pretty good pictures, descriptions and source material from the time around 1475, this dress is historically accurate save for the trim...well...save for the *sequins* on the trim. And the elastic on the undersleeves *smirk*

Yep, now...take a look at some pictures ;-)




And that's me, finally, at the medieval fair in Kaltenberg. The braids are not my own *g*
But the overall look is historically accurate, that's what a princess back in abt. 1475 looked like.

 

I want to add something to the neckline still, maybe some embroidery or trim or an outward facing in a different fabric or color....maybe when I'm bored again one day ;-)


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