Lower Noble Gown

frontfacingside front34 front demureI did a lot of commission work this year, as part of the never-ending
Quest To Pay My Rent. Now, working for others is great and profitable and all, but it’s frustrating when you basically just want to play dress-up. ;) If I
recall correctly, in the middle of a terribly frustrating piece of work, I made
myself a deal and gave myself three days of play sewing time, if I met a set
of deadlines. This was the result.

The main of the dress is a fabulous red/blue brocade that speaks
for itself. (It occassionally shouts, actually. I don’t know if anyone had notice,
but I seldom use colors that stand there and mumble selfconsciously.) Now, normally,
in ‘bethan costuming, we end up trying to “jazz up” a plain fabric,
or use decorative elements to give a little oomph to an otherwise plain dress
fabric. This was sort of the opposite case — I was afraid anything I did might
tone down the overall effect. I settled on very thin guards at the neckline
and center front, with a wider guard at the bottom of the skirts. This is seen
more in the early reign of Elizabeth. The guards are a crimson velveteen, edged
with matte gold-tone piping. The sleeves are dark blue acetate grossgrain, with
silver trim. I mean to do little slashes on them, but that’s going to be after
I repleat the skirt (which isn’t playing well at the front in these photos),
which is going to be after I finish adding jewels and pearls around the neckline,
which I had better finish soon if I plan to wear it this weekend when I go to
MN, huh? Right. That’ll all happen. The skirt is gored, a la Alcega. The forepart
is actually from another dress, but it worked
well.

As a note to the discerning viewer, the horizontal creasing
at my waist is from the bulk of the skirt top beneath the bodice. If I’d had
the good sense to tack the front of the skirt downwards along the edge of the
bodice, you wouldn’t see that. Also, the single pleat at either side of the
front is too deep, which gives the skirt a poofy appearance. Remember, I make
these mistakes so you don’t have to. ;)

Photo Credits: Yvonne Curley — Thanks, Yvonne!

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