Monday, December 17, 2012

Queen Elizabeth I Gown


Since I organized a GBACG event in 2007 where Queen Elizabeth the I hosted a feast for the infamous Irish Pirate Queen, Grace O'Malley I had to get busy and make a costume.

Luckily I had a lot of fabric in my stash and spent a few weeks bringing my sketch to life.

I found some fabulous brocade that would work for the sleeves and a forepart (decorated skirt front). The sketch to the left show my original concept.
What didn't work was my idea for creating some trim out of some black braid I had. A quick trip to an old favorite fabric haunt on Mission Street in San Francisco netted me some incredible trim. The final trip was to General Bead to find some garnet looking beads to pair with some old gold beads for the sleeve and forepart.
Pattern: I used Margo Anderson's Elizabethan Lady's Underpinningsfor the corset and her Elizabethan Lady's Wardrobe for the bodice, sleeves and forepart. I tried to use the partlet pattern but for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to cut it out, let alone sew it. Everything else, however, fit together like a dream!
The bodice is made in four simple pieces, back, two side-fronts and shoulder straps.Here's a shot (below) of the bodice which I lined with some cotton I had laying around (thank god for my fabric stash!).

If you wanted to make the bodice all in one piece you could fit a muslin first and cut out in your fashion fabric. Or, if you wanted to adjust for weight changes you could put grommets in the side pieces and add laces for more flexibility in fitting.
I used large, covered, coat hooks and eyes (from Britex) to close the front but could also have used grommets and laces. the front is boned and I also put bones on both sides of the side seams.
Below is the final fitting and adjusting where I wanted the straps to fit for a nice snug fit.

I worked with various ideas on where I wanted to place the trim and then hand-sewed it down. I also added a peplum along the bottom of the bodice (photo below).

Close-up of the trim below. I sewed the gold braid on each side of the trim--it is really spectacular trim and was it was very inexpensive!

Below is the final trim design on the bodice.

In order to keep the hooks and eyes from showing and give a more finished appearance to the front of the bodice I created two rolls of fabrics, wrapped with gold braid and sewn to each side (see below).

These are the trimmed sleeve caps.

Fitting the bodice over the skirt and forepart. The skirt was made of 4 large rectangle pieces that I cartridge pleated into a waistband.

I used carpet thread for added strength when doing the cartridge pleating.  The photo below shows the inside of the waistband.  The second photo shows the outside.

Here is a close-up the sleeve and beading which also matches the forepart.

Below are photos of the finished dress.  I also blogged on making the headpiece here.  

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