Posts Tagged With: red/green brocade forepart

Court Garb Planning: The Layers

I’m deep into planning for my Elizabethan court garb (circa 1560-1570) – my goal is to have this done for Hare 2013.

For those that are interested in what this entails, here is a list of the items that I will be making:

1. Plain Linen Shift

This is the basic undergarment that would have been worn next to the skin and washed regularly.   There are several styles of shift that are appropriate but this time I am going for a low-necked shift, much like the one  below.

Blackwork Smock, c. 1575-1585
V&A Museum

This is a rectangularly-constructed garment with a large square neck opening. The sleeves are gathered into cuffs. I will not be including the ruffle, as I plan to attach ruffs to the cuff.  This garment will not show in the final outfit, so I’m not adding any decoration.

2. Petticoat

I’m not too sure what to say about these.  We know they had them but the evidence is scarce and there are no extant petticoats from this period.  It’s generally assumed to be a skirt pleated into a waistband.

3. Partlet

The partlet mimics the top of a high-necked shirt, but could be a separate garment.  This makes sense if it is decorated (and they could be VERY decorated), as it would need to be washed less often than a full smock. As far as portraits go, it can be very hard to tell if someone is wearing a partlet or a high-necked smock unless you can see both layers, such as below.

Portrait of Bianca Cappello (1548 – 1587)

Portrait of Bianca Cappello (1548 – 1587)

4. Ruffs

Ruffs were ruffled collars and wristbands heavily starched into ‘figure-eight’ pleats.  See the pictures above and below for examples.

5. Farthingale

These days it is often called a ‘hoop skirt’.  In this era the Spanish style is most common.  It is a conical stiffened petticoat that give the skirts of their time their particular shape.

The "Hampden" portrait

The “Hampden” portrait , 1563

6. Petticoat Bodies

Bodies (more commonly called a corset today) would either be on its own, or have an attached skirt (making it a ‘petticoat bodies’).  I’ve always found the latter to be more comfortable, so that’s what I’ve chosen to wear.  The garment looks a lot like the dresses in the top right of the picture below.

Eygentliche Beschreibung aller Stände auff Erden

From Eygentliche Beschreibung aller Stände auff Erden, 1568

7. Sleeves

These are sleeves.  In this time period they are generally close-fitting, often slashed.  They are separate garments that tie on to the dress, rather than a modern sown in sleeve.

8. Forepart

The forepart refers to the front portion of a petticoat or kirtle.   These are also often a separate piece that could be attached to the petticoat instead.

9. Stomacher

A decorative panel that could be pinned over the front of the bodice to hide the lacing.

10. Gown

This is the main garment.   There were many varied styles.  I will be making a gown with a high-necked doublet with an attached skirt, much like the dress below.

Portrait of Eleanor Benlowes

Portrait of Eleanor Benlowes, 1565

If I have enough fabric I would like to have hanging oversleeves, such as these:

Gown worn by Dorothea Sabina von Neuburg, 1598.

11.  French Hood

The french hood in this period is a curved hat worn back on the head, like in the portrait of Eleanor Benlowes above.

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Court Garb Planning Continues

My plan for this outfit is centered around the leather doublet previously mentioned.  The rest of the dress I am basing roughly on the lines of the gown Dorothea Sabina von Neuburg was buried in, without the train on the skirts.

I’ll be changing the embroidery/trim on the skirt/hanging sleeves to match that on the other doublet.   The forepart and sleeves will be done in a shot silk brocade.  I’d also like to do a partlet with gold lace and an attached ruff, as well as wrist-ruffs to match.  I’m debating between a french hood or a riding cap, but am leaning towards the french hood.  That may change once I finish the dress.

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Boned Underkirtle Finished

I have finished my underkirtle (petticoat bodies).  I’m leaving the hem unfinished on purpose, because I’m not sure how much the heaver fabrics will affect the set of the hoops underneath.  That was I can help all of the skirts once the overdress is completed.



Speaking of the overdress – I have a muslin fitted.  My plan is to design my embroidery pattern on paper, then transfer it to a very very lightweight interfacing and iron that to the back of the velvet.  I can use that as a guide for the embroidery before cutting the fabric.  The doublet design will follow the one in Patterns of Fashion very closely.  I will then take elements from this for the hanging sleeves/skirt.

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Court Garb

Is it possible to only work on one project at a time? While I’m still working on a few other outfits, I’ve decided to start work on something fancy, too.  My plan is centered around the leather doublet shown below. I’ve always liked the unusual collar design (rather than your standard standing collar).

16th Century Padded Leather Jerkin. from

I’ll be following the basic design of this doublet, with modifications to the design of the embroidery, in a deep green cotton velveteen with gold(tone) embroidery. To go with this I’ll be making a matching split-front petticoat in the same green and gold. I’m hoping I have enough of my shot-silk brocade for a forepart and sleeves. I’d also like to do a partlet with gold lace and an attached ruff.

Here is a look at the fabric:



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