Monday, February 13, 2012

Reformation Gown

So my (Lutheran) university's address is 1530, which they did on purpose because of the Augustana/Confession of Augsburg happening in that year.

So, being the ultimate nerd that I am, I decided to make a 1530 Reformation Gown (or thereabouts).

I went home and did a little research, and decided to wrangle something up that was right around the Edict of Worms in 1521 until the completion of the Luther Bible in 1534. The Augsburg Confession (1530), mainly. So, 1520s/30s.

As far as I can tell (I know a more about the eras before and after haha), the most support a gown of the early 16th c. would have would be a boned bodice, not stays, to still allow the fashionable gothic slouch. Of course we're talking about Germany, and Germany always seems to like to do its own thing with fashion, so I had to limit my searches mostly to German contemporary portraits by Cranach and Holbein (not the English portraits), etc.


I have ALWAYS wanted that gown on the very left (c. 1537).


("Woman of Basel" [1520], Holbein) This will probably be the gown I really base it off.

I want to do a velvet overgown and linen underskirt, but I'm debating between blackworked trim (below with detail) and fabric trim.

("The Wife of Mayor Meyer" [1526], Holbein)

This is Luther's wife, Katharina "Katie" von Bora. She was a pretty cool gal. The lace-up front look seems to be a very popular one at the time, and as far as I can tell from other paintings, it's actually a separate over jacket (the gown, you can see, is underneath) a lot of the time, with some being just a false undergown tacked on kind of like a stomacher. I was initially thinking that I'd just do the Holbein gown, but I think I'd also like to do this purely because it's what most of the people at my (Lutheran) university will be familiar with.

The most popular tones seem to be browns and oranges, but I don't know. I kind of like the idea of a green. I'll decide later. :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Revisiting Long Melford


As expected, I had NO time last year to dress Mistress Melford.

Buuuut, since I have nothing to do NOW and a lot of money... XD

I'm going to see a friend who is playing Mistress Anne Hathaway in Madman William some time soon, so it'll serve for that, as well as serving as a gown to wear to the premier of Anonymous in October and being something to wear to Faire when that rolls around. Because we all know that when it does, I won't have anything for it if I don't start now. XP

So it just begs the question- do I make the Melford Hunter Gown from my last plans, or the fun embroidery shift gown from the 1569 portrait (below)?

Monday, April 25, 2011


A fascinating article about the history of the wool industry, especially in England.

So, we have worsted wool from 1331. While I would give that a while to catch on, I think it would be safe to say that especially in a wool-producing town like Long Melford, it would be quite all right by 200 years later! Especially since I can has moneh. (I wish 21st c. me had money... booo...!)
So I think that I'll just get the wool from Denver- after all, if I don't like it, I can always return it.

I can has one of deez? Lil lammby. Baaaa. XP SO MUCH LUFF. SO MUCH FLUFF. <3 <3 <3

Using Up The Treasury


The Cost of a 1560s Ensemble:

(Renaissance Fabrics)
Evergreen Cotton Velvet (6 yards)- $72
Scandinavia Brown/Green Trim (10 yards)- $16
Burgundy Flower Trim (10 yards)- $20
Shipping- $20
Total- $108

(Denver Fabrics)
Blue Gray Worsted Wool (2 yards)- $21.50
Shipping- $6.95

Brown Brocade (1)- $?

Beading Supplies, etc.- $?

Total: $136.45+

Ow. That is a painful number. :'(

I'll see what I can do, anyway. Maybe I can sell something. Like eh, my soul.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mistress Melford Muses

Hehe. Alliteration. <3

OK. So. I've been fabric whoring and thinking about Anne's gown. I've finally come up with a design I like for both the gown and the doublet.

My biggest problem was the sleeves. Most gowns of the time have giant rolls on the shoulders, and that would end up being lumpy and strange under a doublet. I WAS considering going the German route, since their basic style was completely sleeve-volume-less:

1561, Neufchatel, "A Young Lady"

1560s, Wiegel, "A Lady of Nürnberg"

There are two problems with this- first, I don't fee like I could pull that style off, especially without stays and that trim, it just looks awkward. Of course, watch me next year- "So! German!" HAHA.
The second problem is that I'm not even going to be unrealistic enough to try and fit a German style dress into Anne Melford's wardrobe. Just... no. "Well see a German sailor washed up on shore while she was walking, and she fell in love with him so they carried on an illicit affair while she nursed him back to health and then when he left, he came back and BROUGHT HER A DRESS FROM NÜRNBURG. O_o" Yeah, no. Not going that route. XP

While the skirt especially is definitely more of a flared medieval look, which I love, just... no. Ren Faire is for Farthingales and stays. I can have gored skirts as Sorcha pretty much whenever I want. XP

So anyways! I went a-hunting for some more alternatives. Eventually I settled on leg-o-mutton sleeves like the ones in the Georgette de Montenay (1567) and Pink Lyon (1565) paintings-

I'm going to trim the bodice like the 1569 "flower shift" gown. Tempted as I am to MAKE a flowery shift and partlet, I have neither the time nor patience for it at the moment. That's definitely a project for when I have nothing else to do but embroider the hell out of a shift and partlet. XP
But I feel like one day, I definitely will have to. Maybe next year for Faire... I don't think I'd do it in red, but maybe. Anne's gown this year is green and brown with a steel blue doublet and burgundy trim, so there really isn't any other colour left, and I do look rather well in red. I don't know, we shall see. I just think it's so fun! Kind of like when vintage things have cherries on them. This is the Elizabethan version of 'the cherry'. XP More besides, fun embroidered sleeves means no oversleeves which means "Yay! I can be cooler in the 1000ºF furnace that is Faire!" XP

Young Lady (Maybe Helena Snakenborg), 1569

So. On to Mistress Melford's Gown!

(Note: Sketches of all this are to come in Part the Next!)

The Gown:
This entire dress at the end is turning out to be a reflection of what is decidedly a lady of the country, or at least the outdoors. (You know, the kind of 'hard core quaint' 18th century French noblewomen thought they were being when they went to visit their giant-ass manor-cottages in the country? Marie Antoinette has a great depiction of this. ^_^)
I think I see a name forming for Mistress Melford's new gown- The Hunter Gown. You shall see why!

I wanted a green gown, but not the blue-green of Lady Manners' (or whomever she is now, haha!), but more of a yellowy grey-green, though not quite a sage. I found this lovely cotton velvet at Renaissance Fabrics for $12/yd. -

There is still some debate about trim. While the best trim on Elizabethan things seems to be very textured and three dimensional, the trim on Mistress Maybe's gown seems to be just a flat, inkle-woven trim. Of course, it could be trim with gold embroidery, which wouldn't surprise me in the least, but it would still be flat, or at least not as textured as some others. At the very least, if it IS flat, it doesn't look ill being so. Since I'm using cotton velvet, the pile wouldn't be as much of an issue as it would were I using silk or rayon velvet. I did find this darling, and I LOVE it- at 7/8" wide, it should be a fairly good size for bodice trimming. I feel like I'd want to do some gold beading on it, which is fine- it has perfectly marked places to do so in the centre of each 'flower' and at each side of them.
The forepart of the skirt I'm still split on. I want it to be the 'noblest' part of the gown, with beading etc. on it. While beading the flowers on brocade is always a good option (and I did find some I liked), I'm also kind of thinking of decorated brown silk- I'm a fan of the trim going in one vertical line down the centre with a bunch of diagonal stripes converging into it and meeting in the middle "pointing" downwards. Like, uh.... \I/, but continually down. XP
But anyways- brocade!

Fie, I really aught to just post this on LJ. It's so much easier to get pictures to go where you want them to... XP

The Doublet:
For the doublet, I really want horizontal trim coming into the center of the bodice like so (photo courtesy of Melanie Schuessler)-

I don't know if I'd like to do picadils or simply a peplum. Maybe I could do a peplum on the gown and picadils on the doublet... we shall see.

I should like it in steel grey/blue, like this. I'm worried about the wool, though. I'm not an expert in Elizabethan, so I'll have to see what their wool quality was like, but I'm pretty sure it isn't as fine as say, Victorian wool. Being used to the Middle Ages, I'm used to wool that LOOKS like wool. So when I see suitings and the like, I freak out and have to really touch them before I can be convinced that they aren't polyester heh! I have yet to find a wool that colour in a nice coating that I like, but ah well. This says it's worsted, and I just hope it's the nice lightweight but still textured worsted wool as opposed to the wierd suiting worsted wool. I would also like it because I only need a yard or so, and it's $10.75/yd. XP I think I'll order a swatch. Can anyone tell what the fabric quality might be like?

Aaaand trim du doublet (burgundy on top). Since it's narrower, I'd have a few more stripes than converge on Ms. Schuessler's.-

So that's that... I shall do a sketch and see what becomes of it. The sketch will be posted some time in the near future...

I wouldn't bother with this until after July only I feel that somehow it's my *duty* to make a new gown.
First of all, I should have a gown for Faire. I should have an Elizabethan gown of some sort. One never knows when one might need an Elizabethan gown. XD
I should make one before Faire is over. I'm broke and I haven't any stays of my own, and I've only five weeks left. Deep down I know I could get it done if I really wanted to, but then I remember my giant AGS list. I suppose I could work on them in tandem... it's just that I am so very broke-! I do need a new dress if I am to go with William. It's not that Lady Manners' gown isn't lovely, it's just that... well... if such company is going to grace me, then there is absolutely no chance in hell that I am going to pass up an opportunity to ah... wear an open partlet and still be considered a lady. XP
See, being me, I don't get to use Hallowe'en as 'Dress-like-a-woman-of-ill-repute" Day. That's what Faire is for, only it's better, because I get to be super classy and noble all whilst proving that at least in stays, I do indeed have a bosom. XP
I have come to a conclusion. If I can find the money to make this, I shall. Keeping in mind that I have also to buy fabric for ALL of my AGS things.... fie. I really do want this gown. I also really want more money, but what can ya do.

Second, I feel all... involved since I joined Friends of Faire. It's really not a big deal, and you get so much more than you pay for, and even though there are only 1000 people allowed in a year and what have you, I just feel... like I'm actually a part of something? I don't know. I'm not, not really- I'm not on court and I don't actually work there. But somehow I feel like I aught to contribute something. Some sense of communal duty, if you will.

...It's probably the pin. XD

On Th' Wardobe of Anne Melford

I really, really shouldn't be getting into 1560s. And in the end, I probably won't until I have my own stays done.

But I suppose it cannot be helped...! I just want an o
pen doublet (with fun gown underneath) more than life itself right now, and it seems that the only way that's going to happen is if I give into all these fantastic examples of them from that very decade (and thereabouts)...

Sorry about the formatting. Myself and Blogspot aren't real great friends when it comes to pictures. XP Basically, the title is above the painting.

Two different portraits, both painted in 1565, of Francesco Terzio in the same gown. I love this. XD

Elizabeth I, 1563 (for under)

A Young Lady Aged 21, 1569
YOU'VE EVER SEEN?!?!!??!?!)

Lucrezia de Medici, 1560

An Englishwoman, 1560

Maria d'Cosimo, 1555

Unknown Lady, 1570

On Anne Melford

So, I'm clearly high off Renaissance Faire fumes, or I wouldn't have just spend four hours researching the persona of someone I get to be for about 24 full hours out of the year.

CADD, being the utterlie kynde affliction that it is, is being a rotten old thing. When I want to be working on 1860s (which I have to get done), I have other things to do. When I finally have the free time to work on 1860s, I want to be working on 1560s. What is life. Not fair, that's what. Well, life is faire... hehe get it? Fair, faire.... ok, stopping. XP

I don't have anything in great detail at present, but I have a general idea. Her story isn't a fraction of what Kate Devoy's is, but we're getting there. XD

It's a little hard to keep up since nobody seemed to want to name their children anything but John, William, and Mary, and since everyone's last name starts with a 'C', but we try!

Again, almost all of the genealogy is correct with the exception of Anne's immediate family ties- for example, William Cordell really did have a sister named Mary to whom he passed Melford, and he also really did have "another younger sister" who married into "a rich wool merchant family by the name of Melford". I have taken liberties with her parents' Christian names and the fact that they had a daughter by the name of Anne, but beyond that everything is pretty much correct.)

Anne Melford

Date of Birth:
6 June, 15-?

Place of Birth:
Long Melford, Suffolk, England. (The town is right on the border of Suffolk and Essex).

John Melford

Elizabeth Cordell


Relations of Note:
William Cordell & Mary Clopton (aunt and uncle, William her mother's brother).
William Cordell leased the manor of Melford Hall beginning in 1547 for £100 a year, but was granted it in 1554 by Quene Mary and knighted by Quene Elizabeth in 1558. Cordell served King Henry VIII as well as all of his children (and Quene Jane, for what it's worth) in various public offices throughout the years, so one can believe the writings that he was an exceedingly likable and diplomatic sort of man.
Mary Clopton was of the Clopton family who had owned the neighboring (literally, they're in the same town haha) Kentwell Hall since it passed to William Clopton in 1403 when he was twenty from his mother, who had owned it before her marriage.
William and Mary's marriage joined the two manors in Long Melford.

Thomas & Mary Savage (aunt and uncle, Mary her mother's elder sister).
Inherited/will inherit Melford Hall upon William's death in 1581.

Anne's father John Melford is of an old line of a very rich family who eared their fortune on the booming wool trade in Long Melford, which was established in the 13th century and still flourishes. Though not official nobility, the Melfords are exceedingly rich and move in the circles of court (which probably explains why their last name is also the town's heh) due not only to their wealth but also because of their connections through their uncle and his wife (Seriously the guy did everything- privy council, Speaker, you name it...
and ). Because William and Mary have no children, Anne is often at Melford Hall, and has an excellent relationship with her uncle and his wife, who are more often than not the ones who take her to court, seeing as her mother is very frail and her father prefers to tend to business at home.

So yes. That's Anne thus far. :]