Magpiecostumer's Blog

Princess Mary outfit summary

Well I found that perhaps a blog isn’t any better at documenting my progress with a project than a regular website as I was so busy trying to get my outfit finished in time for College war that I didn’t get much internet time to update this as I went

The gown was finished enough to wear to the assassins feast on Friday night and it 1536 Elizabeth Widmerpole by Hans Holbeinwas entered into the A&S competition on Saturday morning. It is essentially finished except for seam finishing and hemming. I’m going to follow the book’s recommendation of binding the hem with velvet ribbon, it seems like a sensible solution and a period plausible one, (although I haven’t yet seen evidence one way or the other for it) as a binding can be removed and replaced when it wears out without any damage to the gown fabric and you can brush dirt off.

I like the way it fits the only issue I have with this construction is the way the kirtle shoulder straps are cut in one piece with the back bodice and come all the way over the shoulder to join the front of the bodice. I’ve only ever seen this in corsets (e.g. the effigy corset) and in those cases the shoulder strap ties on to the bodice. It didn’t occur to me before but one of the judges of the A&S comp (whose name I missed unfortunately) pointed out to me that this method puts a seam at the front in a relatively obvious place. I can’t really believe that an artist like Holbein would not show this seam when he shows other details of similar scale (e.g. you can’t see a seam there on this portrait of Elizabeth Widmerpole).

  • kirtle and low cut bodice for a woman from Alcega's tailor's manual 1589
  • I would rather follow the Alcega pattern that Mistress Oonagh sent me last time I was making a Tudor Kirtle which shows the shoulder strap at the front cut on the bias, this would achieve a similar effect to a single strap cut on the bias but with a seam on top of the shoulder instead of at the front.

    Photos will be forthcoming eventually but probably not for a while yet.

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