A plum coloured Elizabethan gown

Made in 2001

 Weird face, good view of dress

This dress is made of what was left of some plum coloured wool twill that had already been used both for my husband's doublet and paned slops and my friend Björn's coat. Like all my fancier elizabethan dresses made then it has a separate bodice and skirt.

The skirt is made of straight panels. It is cartridge pleated and the upper part of the skirt is padded with thin polyester batting before pleating. This makes the skirt look fuller and eliminates the need for a bumroll. Well, that and my natural body fat. The skirt is fully lined with black linen.

The bodice has stuffed shoulder rolls from the plum wool.To make shoulder rolls you basically make croissants out fabric. You cut out an oblong shape that tapers in both ends, as long as you want them to be and double the width you want your rolls to be (This is hard to explain properly in words). You sew them (almost) together, turn them and fill them with batting, rags or whatever. Then you start shape them around your shoulder. Before that they're just tapering "sausages", but by bending them and sewing a few stitches to make them keep to shape you'll soon end up with rolls that fit your shoulders. Then I added the silk "puffs" before attaching strips of purple wool to the croissant. Between these there is some narrow antique gold braid. And finally, after all the decoration, you can sew your shoulder rolls to the outside of the finished shoulder straps. By hand of course, like everything else with these rolls. I think these are actually a little too big. But they are very handy, because they make your bodice straps actually stay on your shoulders, even if you push them out to get a wide neck-line.

I'm wearing the dress with a white cotton/rayon damask forepart and black-worked sleeves and partlet. Thise can be seen better in this close-up.

In the first of these photos you can also see a little of my smock with blackwork around the neck. Besides the smock I'm wearing my first corset and a farthingale.

These photos were taken by my friend Sara in 2007 maybe? In this  picture from 2001 I'm wearing a forepart of gold coloured rayon damask, although not as shiny in reality as on this picture. Must be due to the flash. Note the very spiffy gym hall background.

 I'm also wearing black velvet sleeves that don't belong to this dress, but which I wore to keep warm in the unheated 15th century castle were the feast took place.

The hat is a small toque, modelled after the portrait of what is thought to be Helena Snakenborg, a swedish noblewoman living in England.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

 When I made the toque I thought that the small flowers on her hat was made of fabric, so I made small "carnations" out of what was left of the purple wool and attached them to a black velvet cap, like the white ones in the portrait. I have now studied a much better reproduction of the portrait where you see that the flowers are actually roses made of gold and enamelled white. I don't think cut out fabric flowers are wrong however, not just as fancy.

 I'd like to point out that my dress is not even an attempt to reproduce her gown, I just took the hat from there.

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