Lady Greensleeves's Velvet Undergown

The tailoring misadventures of a histerical costumer

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

And... I've decided

After browsing some potraiture online, and looking hard at gorgeous colors at Fair this weekend, I've decided that the color for the Easy Gown is going to be...

Chocolate brown! Velvet doublet bodice be damned. Definitely linen.

It just goes too well with every other color I like--my flaming orange chemise, a deep teal, black, cream, green....

I was also inspired by this portrait by Botticelli, both in color and in silhouette (although someone should have taught that lass about posture. Good heavens!). Of course, other than the box-pleated skirt, it's rather hard to see what's going on in that dress, so I turn to this Book of Hours drawing of farm workers. Now, I've had this picture up as my desktop wallpaper for a couple of months now, and have gotten a pretty good look at it. I feel like assuming that both gowns are of the same construction. The pink lass--does that look like lacing up the back of her gown? At any rate, I like the deep-v back neckline. It will solve some bodice problems I typically have (gaping necklines), and I've wanted to try the cut for a while now.

Since we're looking at gowns that lace up the front, I am both enchanted and perplexed by gowns like the one in this portrait by Carpaccio. How is that staying shut? Does she or does she not have a corset on under there (I know, I know, age old Italian debate)?

So, anyway. The Brown Easy Gown (the Brown Easy?) will be some combination of all these influences, largely dictated by my sewing skills and ambition. Semi-accurate, we'll say.

And while we're at it, let's think trim. I love the little sparkle of gold on the Book of Hours women (as impractical as that seems). I wonder if I could achieve that with guards of very thin gold ribbon? Gold looks nice with brown, yes?

And another thing...

As I was looking for that Botticelli in brown, I ran across several (lots, actually) Botticelli Madonnas wearing blue, sleeved robes with lining. Several of them are so similar as to suggest the same real-life garment modelled in each portrait. Here, here, and here.

Why is this important, you ask? Or even interesting? Well, because I have been waffling in my plans for my Ren-Friendly Rainwear project. It was to be a blue robe, lined in purple satin... but I've become discontent with the idea of a robe. Now that I see a similar garment in period artwork, I am beginning to reconsider my discontent. Mmmmmm.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Color Conundrum

Ok, so it's been ages since I've posted here, and there's a reason. I've been sewing. Up a storm. I've finished two of the Ren-friendly Rain Cloaks (one is totally done-done; one is ABT [all but trim]). I've made half of milord's rain tunic (the cowl-and-hood part), and I've started the Mystery Doublet. Well, back that up a bit. I did the mockup for the Mystery Doublet (which I believe was my last entry), and two (three?) weeks ago I finally had a chance to do a fitting, and IT WAS PERFECT!! Woot! Now I just need to find time to actually sew the thing.

During the same two weeks before my revisions are due. Yeah, uh-huh.

Which probably explains why I am here, daydreaming about garb again. Instead of making any. This seems to be my pattern, eh?

Anyway. Here's the deal. In addition to the Ren-Friendly Rainwear project, one thing I've been wanting for more than a year now is what I'm calling an Easy Dress. Something lightweight, lightly constructed, and uncomplicated, suitable for wear on really hot (or rainy/muddy) days. Currently my Peacock Blue Velveteen Gown is my easiest-to-wear garb... but I could use something a little more weather-versatile.

So what's the issue? I can't decide on a color.

I already have tons of garb. Gowns in the following colors: Peacock blue (aka dark teal), flaming orange, violet, butter yellow (well, I don't have the yellow, yet; I still have to make that one). Pieces in magenta, grey-green, French blue, black, rose-and-green tapestry. And that's just the garb I really wear. I had an ensemble in rust that I adored, but it's rather worn out now, and I don't think it's salvageable.

And there's the *planned* garb! My kirtle-and-doublet-bodice ensemble, to go with the embroidered coif, is going to be vermilion silk (kirtle) and chocolate brown velvet (doublet bodice).

I'm running out of colors. There are some that are absolutely out: pink, pale green, lilac. I'm thinking I'd love navy blue, chocolate brown, or a deep claret red... but am afraid the navy will be too similar to the peacock blue gown; and if I have a vermilion kirtle planned, I surely don't need a claret red Easy Gown.

The problem seems to be, I like too many colors. Also that I don't want to repeat myself. But I keep seeing things (like my vase of orange daylilies for my anniversary) and thinking how glorious the flaming orange and deep green look together. I *don't* have anything deep green (true forest green) that I wear anymore(although I have a grey-green silk chemise, and a deeper green silk split skirt; all Ophelia's, natch.). I already wear the split skirt with my flaming orange chemise, so... do I really need green?!

There are also russet and tobacco brown; colors I adore for mundane wear; but for whatever reason, I'm not feeling the love. Hm.

I have narrowed my fabric down to linen, linen blend, or fabulous cotton jacquard bedsheets. If I find said sheets. I am considering making something like the peacock blue gown (the Simplicity Irish dress), but with a deeper, square neckline, and a pleated skirt (because, God help me, I will never gather a skirt again). But then I go through my links and pix and see all these Florentine gowns, and they're *so* lovely, and I have to rein myself back in (I look dreadful in high-waisted things).

Grumble. It's either time for me to hit the Web Gallery of Art for portrait research... or to finish those damn revisions.