Monday, August 23, 2010

Elizabethan Costume

My big sewing project for 2010 is an Elizabethan dress. Here is the pattern:

Now, it's not going to look anything like this picture, because I picked out a different color scheme--navy blue, gold, and burgandy. I started buying the fabric in January or February and have been working away on it since then. I plan on wearing it for Halloween and the Maryland Renaissance Festival this fall. This dress is my second attempt at a very complicated historical dress--two years ago I made a Marie Antoinette costume.


So far, I've completed many of the pieces for the dress. The bodice has taken the most work so far. Here is a picture of the front of the bodice. I decided to leave off the lace detail on the front because I really liked the pattern on the blue fabric and I couldn't find any lace that looked good.

You can also see the grommets that I put in to lace up the dress in the back. It was my first time putting in grommets! It was really easy to do, just a couple of practice runs and I was a pro!

On the inside of the dress you can see all the lines for the boning. The bodice is actually three layers thick--blue outer fabric, creme inside lining, with duckcloth (like canvas) in between. It's a little hard to see in this picture, but I'm clean finishing all the seams with a zig zag stitch, so the fabric won't fray.
The skirt was the next part of the dress that I worked on. I sewed together 6 panels of fabric to make the skirt--it's going to be huge!!

I still have to gather the skirt around the waist and attach it the the bodice. This weekend I worked on the sleeves. I sewed some creme cord in loops to create button holes along the wrist.


Although it might seem strange to have sleeves made of a different fabric from the rest of the dress, many wealthy women in the Elizabethan era had interchangeable sleeves for their outfits. The sleeves were separate from the bodice and had grommets so they could be tied together.

The shoulder roll is going to act as a transition between the colors on the sleeve and bodice. I am also going to attach some burgandy trim to cover up the seams.


I still have a lot more to do, but hopefully it will go fast now that I have all the pieces assembled!