onsdag 9 september 2015

A 16th century bodice

Generally I adhere to the belief that most women's clothes were sewn together at the waist in the 16th century - not a separate bodice and skirt - all preserved garments indicate that this was the case.  However, there are also enough sources from the German or German-influenced parts of Europe that show or suggest that sometimes women wore outfits with a separate bodice and skirt.

One is the painting of washing women in the Harley manuscript of the alchemical text Splendor Solis, dated to 1582, and made in Germany. Here you see a woman in a black bodice with a blue skirt.

British Library

The Austrian tailor's books recently published in Drei Schnittbücher. Three Austrian Master Tailor Books from the 16th Century, by Marion McNealy and Katherine Barich (available here) reinforces this by giving patterns for skirts as well as whole gowns. With these skirts a wams, like the one I recently made, was worn, but the image above suggests that sometimes also a sleeveless bodice could be worn with a separate skirt. 

Going through some Danish 16th century probate inventories I did find sleeveless kirtles and kirtles with half sleeves, but unfortunately no bodiuces. On the other hand: it was a small sample.

Outside the German areas there is also at least one English image showing lower class women in a separate bodice and skirt, from the painting Fete at Berdmondsey, by Joris Hoefnagel, painted ca 1569 (link to wikimedia).

There must be more of them, but this is enough for me to decide that I can make a separate bodice to wear with a separate skirt. I will probably mostly wear it as a support layer when I'm wearing a wams/doublet too.

 I didn't want to make a corset, I have those, though none that currently fits me - working on that - what I wanted a bodice that would give a good, German type, curvy silhouette, while still being supportive and shaping. Since the bodice of my folk costume by far is the best example that I have of that I decided to use a modifed version of that pattern. 

The folk costume's bodice is from c. 1800 and has a very narrow back piece, which is typical of the period. Since the side seams had started to migrate backwards in the 16th century, but not that far I made the back pieces slightly bigger, an the front pieces smaller. I also added som in the front, because I am fatter now than when I made that bodice, even if I can still wear it, and I made it just slightly longer.

My late 16th century Swedish peasant outfit was also based on the folk costume pattern. And I do love it. I should add, that this pattern does not give a very wide neckline, as seen in most period artwork, but since I have too narrow shoulders for my bust width (and rib cage and waist) it works well for me.

1 kommentar:

  1. This is the right period and country for my research.