torsdag 19 november 2015

A 15th century Italian gown

I haven't done 15th century Italian since the early '90s, if you don't count my wedding dress, which was a sort of pre-Raphaelite version of an Italian renaissance gown

But my trip to Florence in Septmeber, for a conference with the Early Modern Dress Network really made me enthusiastic about the period and the style again. Especially since there were presentations both about a partly preserved gown from the period, which used to belong to Osanna Andreasi, also known as St. Osanna of Mantua, and about Ghirlandaio.

Adding the wonders of Santa Maria Novella I decided to have a go at it. I am also workign on using my stash of fabric, so I decided to use rayon damask cutains that I bought many years ago. I see it both as a wearable test for a later version in silk and as something nice and comfortable that I don't have to be excessively careful with at outdoors events.

In any case it will mostly be partly covered by an overgown when worn. But I haven't made that one yet.

Like this

Next time I will make the sleeves much wider at the top, but I was short of fabric. Osanna's sleeves were rather wide and soemwhat puffy at the top. You do see narrow sleeves too in art, so it's not wrong, not just what I would have preferred.

I will also use more fabric to get a wider skirt. The skirt is mostly gored, with a few pleats at the back and sides, like Osanna's gown. You can see the opening of the skirt in the front, because I forgot to add a hook and eye before posing for photos, but it really is period ;) Though possibly only when someone is putting his hand inside your skirt :)

Francesco della Cossa: The triumph of Venus (detail)

Since it's mostly the bodice and sleeves that were preserved of Osanna's gown it was the bodice that I used prinmarily for this gown.  My gown has a higher neckline than what you in most people's reproductions, but which is what you mostly see in art. Osanna's was even higher, but maybe that's party of the saintly stuff :) Or not really, there's lots of very high necked gowns in the Italian renaissance, but since it is very hard to make a pattern fro a high necked gown when you have the kind of boobs I have I settled for a middle ground. And I'm really happy with it. It has narrow strips of plastic whalebone a the opening to keep the edges from puckering and I love how they curve smoothly over the bust.
The v-neck in the back is from the preserved gown.

Here's a detail, where you can also see the pretty necklace that a woman called Cecilia Fredriksson, who lives on Gotland, made.

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