1570s German Noble


This
is a German noble costume, as worn by my sister. (This is her best, “Someone
wants to take another picture of me?!” face. It was late.)

The entire overdress is made with under three yards of 60″ fabric.
I hadn’t realized how little there was on the bolt until after I had finished
the bodice. The skirt arcs up at the front to expose the underskirt, which is
slightly off-white satin with a 6″ band of gold taffeta around the bottom. (I
have found that gold taffeta goes very well with the color of the dust at Bristol.)
The skirt is edged in a heavy matte gold cording and flatlined in maroon satin
for a contrast where it pleats on the fall. The bodice laces at the front under
the bustline, which is a common german fashion that I have run across. The sleeves
are paned. Each pane is cut as two pieces (top and bottom), which are sewn together
with flanged cording at the seam. This serves two functions. The cording makes
the edge look nicer, but it also gives the panes the body they need so that
they don’t droop. The original design called for slashed satin sleeves for the
lower arm, but it was well over 95 the weekend this was worn. The chemise is
edged in gold lace at the top and on the cuffs. It is made of a light cotton
with designs woven into it.

The hat is much more reminiscent of the standard issue ‘Henry
VII hat’ than any true german headdress, but I have only ever found one german
woman’s hat that I would even consider asking someone to wear in public. They
are not generally a pretty sight. The hat is made of black satin, piped in silver
tissue lame (which I will never use again – it’s a pain), and stretched over
a form made of sheets of plastic foam. The tabs are then stitched together at
their corners, so that they whole thing is pulled up around the cutouts. The
inside of the brim is lined with marabou feathers, and topped with one great
huge gold feather. The great thing about german costumes is their absolutely
unabashed use of big Ostrich plumes. Trying to curl large feathers in a house
with two cats, however, is a very dangerous occupation.

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