Wednesday 26 March 2014

Pre-Raphaelite Medieval-ish Dress

Many years ago, at the beginning of my living history days, I made a dress inspired by medieval ones. Well, it was quite a bit inspired by pre-Raphaelite and fantasy takes on the Middle Ages as well – it was made to be used at the premiere of The Return of the King after all.

It is an interesting mix of period construction (wool fabric; more or less straight panels for the front and back with all shaping in the side and back seams; width given by set in gores; hand stitching; hand made eyelets; felled seams) and not so period elements (a combination of cotton and linen thread; embroidery on a dress style that usually had none, with the embroidery design inspired from the margin of a manuscript – and made in linen, and, what irks me most; cross lacing at the back) that reflects the stage I was at then, having gained some knowledge, but still letting myself be way too influenced by make believe. Still, it’s a very pretty dress I think, worthy of a bit of recognition.

Even when the dress was new the sleeves were a bit too tight, making bending the arms uncomfortable. Several years ago I took them of intending to make them wider, but never got round to it. Now, finally, I made the changes by putting in a gusset in each sleeve seam – luckily I had some of the dress fabric left. Thus, this UFO/Make Do and Mend-dress was done in good time for the Fairytale challenge of the Historical Sew Fortnightly. 

The dress is still too small for me (my figure has changed quite a bit since becoming a mother) so I plan to sell the dress to someone who might give it a proper life – there are some very high quality LARPs and LARPers here in Sweden, and this dress might be perfect in a fantasy lady’s wardrobe. 

It is modelled by my cousin M, for whose help I’m very grateful, as I never had decent pictures of the dress before. 

We were both pleased with how her hair came out as well (especially the fact that her fringe did not show at all) – not very medieval to be sure, but good for the “1911-goes-medieval-Sleeping-Beauty”or pre-Raphaelite look I had in mind. 

The Challenge: #6 Fairytale
Fabric: Wool
Pattern: none, draped my own
Year: “1911 goes medieval” 
Notions: Cotton and linen thread
How historically accurate is it? As a medieval-ish dress – not very much as it’s a blend of period and fantasy. As a 1911 try at medieval – too period correct; it would probably have been constructed differently at that time.
Hours to complete: For the changes I made, maybe two or three?
First worn: Since changed - for the pictures
Total cost: none at this time as everything was in my stash