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1 Whip me, Beat me…make me wear BAD Elizabethan Gilding the Lily: A look at outward adornment in the Elizabethan time period.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Whip me, Beat me…make me wear BAD Elizabethan Gilding the Lily: A look at outward adornment in the Elizabethan time period."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Whip me, Beat me…make me wear BAD Elizabethan Gilding the Lily: A look at outward adornment in the Elizabethan time period.

2 2 Table of Contents Gilding the Lily – 3 The Bodice – 4 The Skirt – 7 The Kirtle, Petticoat and Forepart - 11 The Sleeves – 14 Fashion and Style – 17 Color – 26 Appendix – 24 Sources - 43

3 3 Gilding the Lily In looking at the outward appearance of Elizabethan women, it is incredibly important that we understand exactly what we are looking at. In “Whip me, Beat me, make me wear BAD Elizabethan: the unmentionables,” we looked at how underpinning gave support and created the infrastructure for the Elizabethan silhouette. By examining the outer pieces of the Elizabethan outfits, we can gain a better understanding of how to more accurately recreate the fashion. We will be examining the following pieces: Bodices, Skirts, Sleeves, foreparts and kirtles, regional styles, and color choice Forepart/ Kirtle Skirt Bodice Sleeves

4 4 The Bodice A bodice is an article of clothing for women, covering the body from the neck to the waist. The term comes from pair of bodies (because the garment was originally made in two pieces that fastened together, frequently by lacing) In common usage, bodice refers to an upper garment that has removable sleeves or no sleeves, often low-cut, worn in Europe from the sixteenth century to the eighteenth century generally over a corset. During the Elizabethan time period, the style of the bodice could change primarily by the neckline and sleeves. Bodices varied from very low (French) cut to high, very conservative necklines ( Spanish). They could close down the front with a row of closely spaced hooks and eyes, lace up the sides in the back, or lace or hook and eye down the center of the back. The method of closing the bodice depended on the style and the look they wanted to achieve Eleanor of Toledo bodice from Patterns of Fashion that laces up on either side in the back.

5 5 It is important to remember that when creating the bodice that there are no shaping seams used in the front. Generally the only two shaping seams on a bodice existed in the back, as you can see in the illustration on the previous page of the Eleanor of Toledo’s bodice. The reason for this resides in the silhouette of the time: a flat, conical torso. The bodice was shaped by the corset, which ensured that curves were minimal. In creating an Elizabethan bodice, one should never create and fit a bodice without having on their corset. If one has a corset pattern, then you can create your bodice pattern from that. STRUCTURE: Bodices consisted of three layers: an outer layer, and inter lining, and an inner lining. Sometimes they were stiffened using bents of reed or whale bone. Buckram was also used to stiffen bodices as well. From extant garments, we can surmise that the outer layer would be the fashion fabric. i.e.. The fabric of your gown. Typical fabrics that the outer layers of gowns were made of would be primarily silk in the form of velvet and brocade, wool was also used as well. The inter lining was a heavier fabric generally of a linen or fustian. Fustian is a linen cotton mix. This layer would be used to give the bodice some shape and support. If there were going to be bents inserted into the bodice, it would be in this layer and the inner lining that the channels would be sewn to insert the stiffener of choice. The inner lining was typically a finer woven linen or silk that felt was a bit more costly and sumptuous than the interlining fabric

6 6 Other components of a bodice that are fairly common are picadills and shoulder roll and/or tabs Picadills are little decorative tabs that surround the waist of a bodice. Often these were decorated to match the ornamentation of the bodice. We see the picadil more and more in portraiture as the 16 th century transitions into its latter half. The theory behind the origin of picadils is that they were used to hide the lacings of items of clothing that were secured to the waistband of the skirt or bodice. Often nether hose, and underwear would be ties to the waistbands to prevent them from falling. Or, sometimes skirts would be laced to bodices. Regardless of the theories as to why picadils came into existence, they are an integral part of bodices of the Elizabethan time. Shoulder rolls/ tabs are found as the name suggests at the shoulder. There are a couple of theories for the origin for the shoulder roll/ tab. The first is the same as the picadil: they were used to disguise the ties for the various sleeves that were worn during the time. Another theory is that they were used to intentionally make the shoulders look wider so the waist would look smaller. As we can see in the Pelican Portrait of Elizabeth, there are both picadils and shoulder rolls

7 7 The Skirt

8 8 The skirt is where the majority of the fabric is going to be used in a gown. They were given shape by the bum rolls and farthingales worn beneath them. It was generally made of the same fabric as the bodice, and the ornamentation would be similar. In ornamenting skirts, they were generally decorated around the front opening and the hem. Wearing a skirt: Skirts could be worn both open and closed in the front depending on the look that a person was trying to achieve. The skirt could be constructed as a separate item or pleated into the bodice. In the two portraits of Elizabeth below, we can see examples of a skirt worn open and a skirt worn closed. You can see that there are closures on both skirts. if a skirt was worn closed the closures were functional If the skirt was worn open, then they became decorative.

9 9 Since fabric was a pricey commodity in the Renaissance, people avoided cutting it as much as possible. Also, the more fabric a garment consisted of, the more wealth the wearer supposedly had. For both of those reasons, skirts were constructed in a fashion that included large amounts of fabric with a minimum of cutting. Constructing an Elizabethan skirt It is fairly simple to construct a skirt….it is essentially pleating a length of fabric into a waist band. The method of the pleating is where the technique comes in. Skirts could be attached through knife pleating, box pleating or cartridge pleating. Cartridge pleating while the most common form of pleating is also the most difficult. Knife pleat Box pleat Cartridge pleat

10 10 When looking at the length of your skirt, it is imperative to measure over your bum roll and your farthingale to get the appropriate length. A “round” gown has a skirt that should brush the ground all the way around the hem. There should be no gap between the hem of the gown and the ground. Another option is a “train” gown which comprised of a skirt with a train. The skirt hem should brush the ground on the front 1/3 of the skirt and gradually get long as it moves to the center back of the skirt. There are examples in portraits of both types of gowns and mentions of them in Elizabeth’s wardrobe records. The train length is governed only by your desire. “Train” gown“round” gown

11 11 Kirtle, Petticoat, and Forepart

12 12 “A kirtle is a tunic-like garment worn by men and women in the Middle Ages or, later, a one- piece garment worn by women from the later Middle Ages into the Baroque period. The kirtle was typically worn over a chemise or smock and under the formal outer garment or gown. Kirtles were part of fashionable attire into the middle sixteenth century, and remained part of country or middle-class clothing into the seventeenth century Kirtles could be loose garments without a waist seam, or could be made as a combined bodice and petticoat, depending on their use and the current fashion. Kirtles typically laced up the back or side-back, especially when worn under front-lacing gowns as in sixteenth century Germany and the Low Countries.” Typically women wore their kirtles over their chemises but under their farthingales. The reason we are addressing kirtles in this portion of the class is that sometimes they were worn as an outer garment as seen in the picture above. They could also serve as the forepart if the wearer choose not have hoops under their gown and be displayed prominently as the under gown. Kirtles could also be heavily decorated and worn visibly under a “loose gown” that was left open all the way or open only from the waist down as seen in the portrait by Bronzino to the left.

13 13 Petticoat/ Forepart A petticoat or underskirt is an article of clothing for women; specifically an undergarment to be worn under a skirt, dress or sari. The petticoat is a separate garment hanging from the waist (unlike the chemise). In historical contexts (sixteenth to mid-nineteenth centuries), petticoat refers to any separate skirt worn with a gown, bed gown, bodice or jacket; these petticoats are not strictly speaking underwear as they were made to be seen. The Forepart is a decorative piece of fabric attached either temporarily or permanently to the petticoat. It was generally about the width of one quarter of the whole the whole petticoat. The forepart was used as the decorative “visible” piece worn under an Elizabethan gown. These very frequently matched tie on sleeves that would also be worn with the gown. Often foreparts received artifice such as beadwork, various types of embroidery including but not limited to couching, crewel embroidery, appliqué, straw embroidery, etc. forepart petticoat

14 14 Sleeves

15 15 So, why an entire section on Sleeves…after all, sleeves are sleeves, right? Nope, not to the Elizabethan. Sleeves were treated as their own item of clothing. Rarely were sleeves considered a permanent part of a gown. More often than not, sleeves were detachable and interchangeable. Sleeves could lace into a gown, tie into gown, or button into a gown. Regardless off how they attached, they were generally very ornamented and often matched the gowns forepart. In the close up in the portrait to the right, by Bronzino…there is a basic Elizabethan sleeve and it is visible where the sleeves is tied in to the bodice of the gown. This is an example of a basic Elizabethan sleeve on a Venetian gown that follows the basic construction of a sleeve as laid out in the picture below Basic sleeve displayed flat Like anything else in the Elizabethan time period, sleeves were not left basic. To the right is a Portrait of Elizabeth with bombasted and embroidered sleeves. Bombast is a term used to describe “stuffing” a batting of some kind into a garment to give it shape as can be seen here. Also, not how the sleeves are heavily embroidered to match the gown

16 16 And why stop with one pair of sleeves! In the case of a Spanish gown, there were two sets of sleeves: a tighter fitting under sleeve and a larger (often giant) over sleeve. In the case of over sleeves and under sleeves, typically the under sleeves matched the forepart and the over sleeves matched the gown itself. In the three portraits on this page, there are variants of over and under sleeves. The variations of the sleeves were only limited by the imagination of the tailor.

17 17 Fashion and Style SpanishFrenchPolish VenetianItalian

18 18 Regional Fashion In looking through Elizabeth’s wardrobe accounts, there are mentions of gowns made after various regional styles. Some of the best research done in this area is by Janet Arnold in the book Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlock’d. Janet Arnold examines the difference between the types of gowns mentioned in various wardrobe accounts of Elizabeth’s wardrobe. For one reason or another, this has been a particularly intriguing part of researching Elizabethan clothing. I think this is because my strength in costuming is in composition, aesthetic, and style as opposed to construction and technique. I have spent a great deal of time examining portraits from various regions mentioned in the wardrobe accounts and observing the differences and what likely made up a gown of “x” style. I believe that in recreating a great Elizabethan gown it is crucial to understand the regional nuances of each of the styles.

19 19 Spanish Fashion As the power of the Hapsburg dynasty reached across Europe in the mid 1500’s, fashion on the continent was dominated by the fashions in the Spanish court. As Spanish fashion was introduced to the English court by Catherine of Aragon, it was already common in England. Soon Spanish fashion eclipsed that of the French and the Italian. A “Spanish gown” can be characterized by several things: a high neckline topped with a ruff, rigid corsetry, conical farthingale, and two sets of sleeves. It was the influence of Spanish fashion that brought the cone shaped farthingale to England. Eventually, however, the sleeves became the signature piece of the ensemble and gowns were considered “in the Spanish style” if they had two sets of sleeves, with one set being merely ornamental hanging sleeves. Often there are mentions of “Spanish sleeves” paired with other types of gowns

20 20 French Fashion Elizabeth had an affinity for French fashion, even though she didn’t always care for the French themselves. This may be because she loved the fashion itself, or for political reasons. Certainly Elizabeth was an astute politician. Gowns “in the French fashion” are probably the most common type of gown mentioned in the various wardrobe accounts. The French influence in Elizabethan fashion exists two-fold: the gowns themselves and the advent of the French farthingale. The French farthingale entered Elizabethan fashion much later in the century than did gowns in the “French style.” French gowns are characterized by low cut square arched necklines, large shoulder rolls, and very rigid corsetry. Also it is speculated that they would generally include a train as well. There is a rigidity in the French gown that is not found in any other fashion except for perhaps the Spanish gowns. Eventually we see entries in the wardrobe accounts such as a gown in the French Fashion with Spanish sleeves.” This would have meant a gown that had a low square arched neckline, large shoulder rolls and two sets of sleeves. This was very common in the court of Elizabeth, as she was fond of combining different styles

21 21 As the century progressed to a close, the term French Gown came to mean something else entirely: With the introduction of the French farthingale, once again the French revolutionized the face of fashion. With the introduction of the French farthingale or the drum farthingale (at right), the term “French gown” came to mean a gown worn over a French farthingale that had an elongated bodice that came to a sharp point in the front ( see below). Elizabeth favored this fashion until her death in 1603. In the French gown, the back of the gown was cut on the straight of the fabric grain, and all the bodice shaping was done in the center front. This was how the low square arched necklines came into existence; the shaping in front forced it into the arched shape. Another aspect that is peculiarly French is the penchant for larger shoulder rolls. The interesting thing to note is that the sleeve fabric was not always worn under the rolls. Sometimes sleeves were stretch over the padded shoulder rolls, which caused a very distinctive look seen at right.

22 22 Italian Fashion We know that there are mentions of Italian gowns in the various wardrobe accounts, but what constituted an “Italian” is as yet theory only. There were five gowns made for the queen in the Italian style between 1568 and 1569. In the description of all of the gowns the term “double bodies” is used to describe the bodice. It is conjectured that this means two bodices that were worn over each other, often with the top slashed to display bits of the one beneath (as seen in the picture to the right). Another aspect that seems to be peculiarly Italian in fashion is that the top “body”{ is often “v” necked with either a ruff following the shape of the neckline or a stand up collar as seen below It is difficult to distinguish in the picture to the left, but you can make out the fabric of the under bodice right below the ruff. It matches that of the sleeves, which we can suppose is one garment.

23 23 Venetian Fashion In 1565 Walter Fyshe made a gown for Elizabeth Knowles in the “Venecian” style of crimson velvet and ground satin. While Venice is most definitely part of Italy, it had a distinct fashion of its own. Venetian gowns tended to be worn sans farthingale with only a small bum roll or nothing at all to support the skirt. Also, the bodies laced in the front, creating the signature “ladder lace” effect that is associated with Venetian fashion. This is evident in the portrait to the right. Also Venetian gowns had simple sleeves with only a small shoulder roll at the shoulder. Also, the gowns sat very wide on the shoulders, seeming almost to fall off. This was prevented by the bodice being cut much higher in the back. These styles of gowns can be observed in portraits by Titian, the woodcuts of Vecellio’s, Jost Aman’s Trachtenbuch, and Abraham de Bruyn’s Omnium Poene Gentium Imagines. There seems to be fewer layers in Venetian gowns, which is supposed due to the more temperate climes of Venice.

24 24 Polish Fashion It seems odd now to suppose that Poland had a large influence in the English court, but in the 16 th century, Poland and the low countries played a large part in influencing fashion. We know for sure that Queen Elizabeth had on Polish gown in her inventory of robes. Walter Fyshe was employed in “alteringe and making longer of a gowne of blak vellat of the Polony fation the velat to alter the same of our greate Guarderobe.” There is not a detailed account of what a Polish gown, deciphering what a Polish gown is is at this point conjecture. Looking at the portraits of nobles living in Poland, it is noticeable that their garments are influenced by middle eastern fashion. Often they have very decorative button and loop closures ending with tufts of silk. These are a type of ornate frogging, though the term is not period. There are several examples of gowns with these type of closures and they have several things in common: they are rather masculine in the doublet design, they have “frog” closures down the front, they have high necked bodies, and they ornamentation is moderate to simple. It is conjectured that this is what is meant by the term “polish gown.”

25 25 There are other types of gowns to examine, such as Flemish gowns, riding gowns, loose gowns, etc. However, examining the Spanish, French, Italian, Venetian, and Polish influences on Elizabethan fashion will allow for a better understanding into recreating a gown. Through research, it becomes evident that and Elizabethan gown is more than a dress thrown over some hoops. There are signature regional stylings and particular characteristics that need to be examined in recreating an Elizabethan gown. This will ensure for a more accurate and authentic recreation.

26 26 Color When creating an Elizabethan gown, color choice is tantamount to fabric choice. The right color can make or break the success of gown. When reviewing portraits from the sixteenth century, one begins to get a feel for what colors were frequently used in creating gowns. I would advise to avoid colors that do not appear in nature, as these colors generally don’t show up as being used in gowns. Also, just because a person can document that a color existed does not mean it was used in Elizabethan Fashion. Suppose that someone could document bright fuchsia in middle eastern clothing. This does not mean that an Elizabethan gown should necessarily be constructed out of it. Like today where Pink is the new brown, and brown is the old red, and red is the new yellow and yellow is the old black…Colors in the courts of Europe in the 16 th century meant something. There were colors that went in and out of fashion. Some times there were colors as creative as “goose turd green,” or “dead Spaniard.” Understanding color is imperative to recreating the perfect gown.

27 27 Period NameModern color Claie-colourCream or gray SheepUndyed wool GingerPowdery yellow-cream Cane ColourYellowish Tint White Clodie ColourOff White/Grey CraneGrayish white DoveGrey Ash Colour (Cendre in France)Grey Isabelline also called Flax-seed)Grayish buff Willowgrey, light and green Dying Spaniardgray, light and greenish Rat ColourBlack, Heather Heare ColourBrown, the color of a hare Brown BreadBrownish tan Meallight brown PukeBrown, Rusty, dirty PeahenBrown, reddish RussetReddish brown MurreyPurplish Red (Plum or Mulberry)) AmaranteAmethyst-purple ZinzolinRed-violet GingerlineReddish violet CrimsonRed Maiden's blush (also called Ladie Blushe)pinkish red StrammelRed Bristol RedPleasant Red Sangyn (Blod)Blood Red Ox-BloodBlood Red RubyRed IncarnateRed ScarletBright Red HorsefleshDarker than Carnation

28 28 Period nameModern color Carnationpinkish-brown (meat) Lustie-gallantLight Red Ventre de bichereddish-white PinckePink Drakes Colour Green NacaradePale orange-red PimpilloRaw Umber/Raw Sienna Tawnybrown, orange Lion-Tawnyyellowish tan Orange-Tawnybrownish orange BleccheOrange MarigoldOrange-Yellow PeacheYellow flushed with pink Bright New TanTan Maidenhair (hair)bright tan StrawLight Yellow PrimroseYellow CanaryCanary yellow GozelingePale Yellow-Green Popingay (Popinjay, Popingay-blue)Green, yellowish VirliVivid Green Lincoln GreenBright Green Watchetblue, greenish Seagreen(Celadon)greenish blue-courtesan Pease-porridge TawnyBrownish-green Goose-Turd Greengreen, yellow-brown VerdigrisOxidized copper Milk and Waterblue, pale light WheyPale whitish-blue PlunketLight Blue BichePale blue InciannomatiIntense light blue AzzuriDeep Blue

29 29 Appendix

30 30 and Drea Perhaps one of the greatest resources for the earstwhile Elizabethan is This site was created by Drea Leed and based around her research. For the most part agree with Drea’s findings, and what I especially love is the ease in which she lays out how to draft various patterns. I often include her directions from the website in my classes, because she does a far better job than I in putting the directions in clear, consise, easy to follow steps. She also includes pictures. I find that sometimes I still go back to her site to remind myself about something or another. Obviously this should not be your only source for researching Elizabethan culture, but it is an amazing resource. The following patterns are

31 31 Making an Elizabethan Bodice Pattern by Drea LeedDrea Leed Once you have a corset pattern ( see Whip me Beat me: the unmentionables), you can easily alter it to make a bodice suitable for most of the 16th century. This bodice can be worn over your bodice, or it can be worn without a corset underneath to create an "Elizabethan" silhouette appropriate to middle or lower class women. I based this pattern somewhat on the pattern of the petticoat bodies of Eleanora of Toledo, shown in Janet Arnold's book Patterns of Fashion: The Cut and Construction of Men and Womens dress 1560-1620. To begin with, take the corset pattern you have created. If you have already made a corset from this pattern and altered it so that it fits you precisely, so much the better. Measure out four inches from the center front, and draw a vertical line up several inches (8 or so.) If you have already made a corset from this pattern, put it on and measure the distance between the front top of the corset and the top of your shoulder and make the strap this long. Draw another vertical line 1.5 inches to the left of this line; this will be the front "strap" of your bodice. Draw a curving line connecting the side edge of the strap to the top of your corset.

32 32 Now, starting about three inches to the right of the center back of the corset, draw a line slanting up and to the right about 10 inches long. If you have already made a corset from this pattern, put it on and measure the distance between the top back of the corset and the top of your shoulder and make the strap this long. Draw another one 1.5 inches to the right of the first line; this is your back shoulder strap. Extend the center back line of the corset up four inches. Connect this extended back line with the top of your back strap, as the diagram to the left illustrates As you did for the front strap, draw a curving line connecting the side edge of the back strap to the top of your corset. This will create the armhole of your bodice. Eliminate the front point of the bodice, if you so wish, or modify it to a gentler curve.

33 33 Draw a diagonal line from the center of the back side of your armhole to the bottom of the pattern, about 4 inches away from the center back Once you've cleaned up all the drafting lines, your bodice pattern will look somewhat like the picture to the left. Cut along the diagonal line to make this a two-piece kirtle pattern. And that's it! Fitting the Bodice Pattern Of course, once you have a pattern you need to fit it to yourself. The bodice pattern instructions above aren't exceedingly precise; you may need to alter the armhole, shorten or lengthen the sides, and you will also need to find out how long the straps should be and whether the neckline of this bodice is too wide or narrow for your taste. Fitting can be quite complicated, but this pattern is very simple and even if you've never fit a bodice or any other garment before, you can get a quite respectably fitting bodice. To do this, take a heavy fabric--canvas, poplin, drill or something similar. Place the front piece of your bodice fabric on the fold, trace around the pattern, and cut out the fabric 1/2 an inch away from the traced edge of the pattern. Then place the back piece of your pattern on another piece of folded fabric, trace around it, and cut it out half an inch outside the traced lines. Sew the pieces together along one side back seam, and pin the shoulder straps together. Then try it on. If you have an elizabethan corset, put the corset on first and try the bodice on over it. Have a friend safety-pin the other diagonal side back seam closed. Pull the shoulder straps tight, and safety-pin them together at the top of your shoulders. (You may have to perform the "elizabethan lift" during this pinning procedure, to elevate the bosom and achieve a correct 16th century silhouette.)

34 34 Now check the following: *Is the bodice too loose? It should fit quite snugly, not allowing any shifting beneath it. If it is too loose, pinch the excess in equally on both side back seams and pin it until it fits. Use a pen to draw a line along these pins. *Does the armhole dig into your arm? If so, take scissors and carefully snip cuts from the edge of the fabric in until it feels right. Draw the new armhole line with your pen. *Is the length of the bodice correct? If it is too long, draw a line on the sloper to the place where you want the waistline to be. If it is too short, measure from the edge of the drawn pattern line down to where you want the waistline to be, and write this measurement with a pen on the bottom edge of your bodice. *Does the center top back gap? Pinch the fabric at the top and pin it together, working your way down until the back piece conforms smoothly to your body. Draw a lin with a pen along this new pinned line. *Are the straps too far apart or two close together? If you don't like the placement of the straps, mark on the bodice where you would like the straps to be. *Is the front neckline too low or too high? Again, either mark where you would like the neckline to be, or write the measurement on the top front of the kirtle. This may sound like a lot of work, but with the help of a good friend it will only take 10 to 15 minutes. All the work you do now guarantees that the final result will fit like a second skin. Now take the bodice off. Rip the back side seams apart, trim the shoulder straps to the point you marked with a pen. Cut along the pattern lines of the pattern, making all alterations specified the pen marks on the bodice--cut out the armhole a little wider, cut along the curved top back seam, trim the front neckline down a little, etc. Lay your bodice pattern pieces on top of the original paper pattern pieces, and transfer all alterations to the paper. Here is where you would cut shoulder straps (on the paper pattern) and move them toward or away from the center front; here also is where you would add paper to the bottom of the pattern to lengthen the waistline. Once you have this bodice pattern, you can use it to make an Elizabethan or tudor gown.

35 35 Making an Elizabethan Petticoat by Drea Leed A petticoat is a relatively easy item to make. It's versatile, too; with minimal changes, this pattern can be used for Cavalier and later 17th century underskirts, as well as for simple gathered overskirts. Fabric: The amount of fabric you need depends on your height, waist size, and the amount of fullness you want in the skirt. 3 to 3 1/2 yards of 45-inch wide fabric products a petticoat with a good amount of fulness to it. At a bare minimum, you will need enough fabric so that the petticoat fits over your hips. 2 yards of 45-inch wide fabric can make a modest petticoat without as much gathering or pleating at the waist. If you are tall or plan to wear the petticoat over a large bumroll, 45 inch wide fabric may not be long enough to reach your feet. You would either want to use 60- inch wide fabric or buy an extra yard and a half of a contrasting fabric to lengthen the skirt--a very common practice during Elizabethan times. If you want to make the petticoat reversable, or if you wish to line it with a different fabric, you will need the same amount of lining fabric as you have petticoat fabric. Directions: 1) Lengthen the skirt (optional) Before you begin sewing your petticoat together, you need to make sure that the fabric--if it is 45 inches wide--is long enough. Put on whatever foundation garments, such as a bumroll, that you will be wearing underneath the petticoat. Take a tape measure and measure from your waist, over the bumroll (If you're wearing one) and down to the ground. If this measurement is less than 45 inches (or if you're using 60 inch wide fabric), you're in luck! You can go on to step 2. If this measurement is greater than 45 inches, or if you want to put a strip of contrasting fabric on the bottom of your petticoat regardless, you will need to lengthen the fabric you have using the following method: Cut a strip of fabric out of a contrasting fabric. The width should be the finished width that you want the strip to be, plus 1 inch. (For example, if you want a 2-inch wide band at the bottom of your skirt, cut out a 3-inch wide strip of fabric; if you want an 8-inch wide band, cut out a 9-inch wide strip. You will need a strip of fabric the same length as your skirt fabric. Most likely you will have to cut out two or three strips, and sew them together to make a strip of the proper length.

36 36 Bands of contrasting fabric at the bottom of petticoats during Elizabethan times were called "guards" if they were wide, "welts" if they were narrow, and were very commonly used. Woodcuts and portraits show bands of fabric from 1 inch to 8 inches in width. For simple petticoats worn by servants and the not-so-wealthy, these strips of fabric would have been similar to the material of the petticoat--a linen petticoat would have linen bands, a woolen petticoat woolen bands. If you are making a fancy petticoat, of course, you can make the bottom band of velvet, satin, taffeta, or whatsoever your heart desires.. Place the strip of edging fabric and the skirt fabric right sides together, and sew the two pieces together half an inch away from the edge. Iron this seam flat. 2) Sew the fabric into a tube. Authentinote: Although all extant petticoats and petticoat patterns were slightly flared, it is much easier to make a tube-shaped petticoat. It achieves the same shape. You can if you wish cut two or three slightly flared pieces and sew them together into a flared tube, to make a more authentic petticoat. For a petticoat section 30 inches wide at the top, the bottom would have been, on average, 46 inches. This step is pretty self-explanitory--match up the raw ends of the piece of fabric, right sides together, and sew them together 1/2 an inch away from the edge of the fabric. Start at the "bottom" of the skirt and stop sewing around 8 inches from the other end. If you have 3 yards of fabric, you should now have a tube 1.5 yds in diameter. If you have a contrasting band of fabric at the bottom of the skirt, you should pin the edges together before sewing them, making sure that the seams where the band meets the skirt fabric match up on either end. If you are making a lined petticoat, repeat this same procedure with the lining Be sure that the lengths of the lining and the outer fabric are exactly the same, so they will match up without puckers, gathers or excess fabric when they're sewn together. 3) Hemming the Skirt. Modern skirt-making techniques involve finishing the waistline and then trimming and hemming the skirt so that it is even all the way around. In Elizabethan times and for the next few centuries, the opposite method was used--The hem was finished first, and then the waistline was fitted so that the skirt hem was even all the way around.

37 37 4) Find the Waistline. I generally make my petticoats somewhat shorter than the outer skirts, to keep from tripping on masses of fabric. Ankle length or even lower calf-length is a good length for a petticoat. If you won't be wearing a bumroll beneath your petticoat, marking the waistline is easy--hold the tube of fabric up to your waist until the hem is at the position you want it, and mark the fabric where it meets your waist. Starting 1/2 an inch above this mark, trim the excess strip of fabric off the top of your petticoat. If you are wearing a bumroll, farthingale, or some other shaping under the petticoat, the length of the petticoat won't be even all the way around. The following method for evening the hemline is a useful one for the non-mathematically inclined. (Although it is possible to do this alone, it is much easier with a friend or a dress form. ) First, Put on the bumroll, hoopskirt, etc., etc which will be worn under the petticoat. If you have a dress form, put these underpinnings on the form. Tie a string or ribbon firmly around your middle (or the dress form's middle) at the point where you want the waistline to be. Starting with one side of the 8-inch opening in the petticoat side seam, place this edge at the place where you want the petticoat to fasten (front, side or back) and pull the top of the skirt up underneath this string, gathering it as you go, until all of the skirt fabric is gathered underneath the waistline string. Even out the gathers as much as you can, and then begin pulling the fabric up or down as necessary until the hemline is even. To the right is a picture, taken from Jean Hunnisett's "Period Patterns for Stage & Screen", illustrating this process. Once you are satisfied that the hemline is even, mark the fabric at the waistline string with tailor's chalk or some other marking tool. Release the string, lay out the fabric, and mark a smooth line as close to the original markings as possible (they will be rather jagged). Trim the fabric 1/2 an inch above this mark. 5) Gather the Waistline. You can choose to either gather or pleat your petticoat to a waistband. Either knife-pleating (where all the pleats face the same direction) or box-pleating (where pleats face alternate directions) is period. I prefer to pleat my petticoats rather than gathering them, as it enhances the period look of the clothing. If you really want a petticoat which springs out from the waist, you can cartridege-pleat it instead. Cartridge-pleating is particularly effective with thick fabrics, such as wool, velvet and brocade, and petticoats which have been lined. Thinner fabrics like linen or satin are better off knife- or box- pleated. Whatever gathering method you choose, you may want to gather or pleat less in the front to keep a flatter line at the stomach; I leave the front six inches of my petticoats ungathered. You can find pictures of all these pleats and more, as well as more detailed instructions on how to make them, in this Introduction to Pleats.Introduction to Pleats If you are making a lined petticoat, treat the lining and the outer fabric as one layer at this point. To gather your petticoat, start 2 inches from the edge of the side opening and run two basting stitches, one 1/4 an inch above the other, 1/4 an inch from the top of the petticoat until you're two inches from the other edge of the side opening. Gather these two rows of stitching together until the top of the skirt is the same as your waist measurement, plus 1/2 to 1 inch (This will be taken up when the edges of the side opening are folded under and finished). To pleat your petticoat, you can either eyeball the pleats (which is what I do), or measure them off with a ruler. Run a basting stitch over the pleats, 1/3 an inch away from the top edge of the petticoat, to keep them in place. You can also iron the pleats at the top edge of the skirt once they're pinned or basted. To cartridge pleat a petticoat, take a look at this Short Tutorial on Cartridge Pleating.Short Tutorial on Cartridge Pleating 6) Finish the side opening. Before you put the waistband on the skirt, you have to finish the raw edges of the side opening. If your petticoat is unlined, this means turning the raw edges under and hemming them down. If your petticoat is lined, turn the edges of the outer petticoat fabric and the inner lining between the two layers of fabric, and whipstitch the edge where the two layers meet together. This is the time to make sure that the side opening is wide enough that the petticoat can slip over your hips; if not, rip the seam out a little more until it can. Reinforce the bottom of this side opening with stitches so that it won't rip out more.

38 38 7) Sew on the waistband/bodice. This skirt can be used as the skirt of a gown, kirtle or petticoat bodies, as well as a separate petticoat. Constructing an Elizabethan Kirtle tells you how to incorporate it into a dress.Constructing an Elizabethan Kirtle For a petticoat, however, you'll need a waistband. Once the top of the skirt has been gathered or pleated, cut a small band of fabric 1 1/2 inches wide and the length of your waist measurement plus 2 inches. Place this band on the right side of your petticoat, with the edge of the bandeven with the edge of your gathered or pleated petticoat waistline. Sew the band to the petticoat 1/2 an inch away from the edge. Reinforce this seam with another seam, about 1/8 an inch nearer the edge, and perhaps even a zig-zag stitch between the seam and the edge of the fabric. Trim the excess fabric off so that 1/3 of an inch of fabric remains between the seam and the top edge of the petticoat. Fold the band over to the inside, fold the end up, and hand- stitch it down using a strong quilting thread. This waistband is going to see some wear and tear every time the petticoat is stepped on, pulled or otherwise stressed, so it's important to make the waistband strong. Your petticoat is pretty much finished! The waistband is quite small compared to modern standards--no more than a band to finish off the top edge of the skirt--but as it's a petticoat and will be worn beneath a skirt, you don't have to worry about a gap showing between it and the bodice. It also decreases the amount of fabric around your waist. I wear my petticoats slightly below waist level; what with a smock,farthingale, bumroll, petticoat, skirt and gown, I try to keep the waistbands as non-bulky as possible. You can tie your petticoat together with ribbons at either edge of the side opening, or use (large and sturdy) hooks and eyes for the same purpose. both fastening methods were used during Elizabethan times. If you want to add some pizazz to your petticoat--and give it more bulk at the hemline--you can stitch rows of cord or applique thin strips of fabric or trim around the bottom.

39 39 Once you have a Bodice Pattern, you can use it to make up a beautifully period Gathered Kirtle. This kirtle can be made of linen or wool, if you want to be authentic, or a linen or woolen look-alike fabric if you don't want to use (or can't afford to use) the real thing. You should have two pattern pieces: A front piece and a back piece. Constructing a Gathered Kirtle By Drea Leed

40 40 1.Take the fabric of your choice. Fold it, place the back piece with the center back on the fold, and trace around it. Cut the fabric out 1/2 an inch outside of the tracing lines. Once you've unfolded the fabric, flip your pattern piece over and trace around it on the unmarked half of the fabric. 2.Now take the front piece. Place it on folded fabric, with the center front against the fold. Trace around the pattern, and cut it out 1/2 an inch away from the tracing lines. Unfold the fabric, flip your pattern over, and trace around it on the other unmarked half of the front. 3.Repeat the above with your lining fabric. 4.Sew the front and back pieces of the lining together along the right back side seam, sewing along the tracing lines. Now sew the front and back pieces of the outer fabric together along the left back seam. 5.Place the lining and outer fabric right sides together. Pin them all the way around, making sure that the fabric and lining lie smooth, with no wrinkles. Fold the tips of the shoulder straps back on either side to the tracing line, and pin them down. If you pin perpendicularly to the edge, you can sew over the pins (carefully) which will make it easier to sew. 6.Starting at the side back opening, sew up the side seam and around the armscye, following the tracing lines, leaving the top of the strap unsewn Continue sewing down the other side of the strap and around the back neck opening to the top of the other back strap. Sew from the other side of this strap around the armhole and up the front strap, around the front neckline, and down the other armhole and side back opening seam.Leave the bottom of the kirtle unsewn. 7.Now make snips every couple of inches along the armscye, and in the front corners where the straps come up from the top of the bodice. Make a few snips along the back neckline of the bodice, as well. This will keep the fabric from puckering when the kirtle is turned right side out. 8.Take the pins out, and turn the bodice right side out. Iron it so that it lays flat and smooth. Hand-stitch the straps together, stitching the outer fabric together and the lining as well. 9.If you want boning along the back side opening of the kirtle-something I recommend-sew a seam, either with a machine or by hand, 3/8 of an inch away from the back side opening on the front and back. Take poly boning, obtainable at the local fabric store, and remove it from its paper or fabric casing; slip it into the channel between the seam and the edge of the fabric. You want about an inch of space between the end of the plastic bone and the bottom edge of your kirtle bodice.

41 41 Your bodice is pretty much finished! All that's left is adding the grommets, or sewing the eyelets, on either side of the back side opening to lace it closed. Grommets are not period, but they do the job if authenticity is not an issue. I use the 00 (double-ought) brass grommets from Greenberg & hammer, which are much better quality than the Dritz grommets at the local fabric store. They're also cheaper--$6.00 for 144 of them. You can stitch over the grommets with thread to disguise them. If you want to make period eyelets, make a hole in the fabric with an awl or similar tool, stretch it to the size you want, and do a buttonhole stitch around the hole. If you use quilting thread and go 3 times around the eyelet, you can get a very sturdy lacing hole indeed! These eyelets do not tear loose, as grommets can do when placed under strain. I have worn a kirtle with hand-stitched eyelets for two years, and they look as good as the day they were sewn. Whichever you choose, place the eyelets 1.25 to 1.5 inches apart on either side of the kirtle opening. These kirtles and all other gowns of the 16th century were laced up using one lace. Tie this lace around the top two holes in the kirtle, tying them together. Then thread the lace alternately through the front and back eyelets, forming a zig- zag. Not only is this method period, but it makes it possible to get into a back-laced kirtle by oneself; simply lace the kirtle loosely with a very long lace, slip it over your head, and pull the lace tight. Loop it around the bottom lace and tie off with a half-hitch, weaver's knot, or whatever works for you. Once your kirtle is laced on, measure from the bottom edge of the kirtle to where you want the bottom of the skirt to be. Make this measurement at the center front, side, and back. It should be almost the same, as the kirtle bodice has a waist that goes pretty much straight across. Add one inch to these measurements; that is the length you will have to cut out for your skirt. The kirtle skirt is a very wide tube, gathered into the waist of the bodice. For the width of your skirt, measure around your waist and multiply this measurement by three.

42 42 To make your skirt, follow the directions for Making and Elizabethan Petticoat-for that's really what this skirt is-- up to step six. Instead of sewing it to a waistband, however, sew it to the bodice of your kirtle. Place the right side of the kirtle bodice and the right side of the skirt together, and sew along the kirtle waist 1/2 an inch away from the edge. Do not sew the lining-only the outer fabric. You may have to hand-stitch the ends of the skirt over the boned channels on the edges of the back side opening. Once the skirt has been sewn to the bodice, iron the seam flat- with the fabric going upwards-and trim to about 1/4 an inch away from the seam. I recommend sewing a second time along this seam, for security. I can't count the number of skirts which have ripped out of a waist seam because they were stepped on! Fold up the rough edge of the bodice lining so that the folded edge matches the skirt-bodice seam, pin and/or iron, and hand-stitch the lining down. If you only did a single layer skirt, you'll have to hem it up. If you want to add a bit of pizazz to your kirtle, you can add "guards", or strips of contrasting fabric, around the bottom of the skirt. This was a very common practice of the time, particularly in Germany. One, two or three bands, narrow or wide, were stitched down around the bottom of the skirt. This can help add body to a skirt as well. You now have a completely finished, authentically cut gathered kirtle, or "petticoat bodies", whichever you prefer to call it. This is a basic item, but very versatile; I have worn it, in lieu of a corset and separate petticoat skirt, underneath everything from a late Tudor gown to a late elizabethan skirt & jacket. Now that you have the pattern and have made a kirtle like this, you can play around with it. create a new pattern with a lower point on the front of the bodice, use brocade instead of linen, make sleeves that lace on to the kirtle straps and wings to cover the join, and you have yourself a beautiful gown.

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