Can anybody help? :)

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lidimy
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Can anybody help? :)

Post by lidimy »

I'm currently putting together a set of images to present to my dance costume co-ordinator and was trying to put together some notes on what I think the pictures are showing. All was going well until I found a picture of a similar dress to one I was looking at, which has really confused me!

First I found this one (far left)
Image

And that looks fairly simple ish (apart from the fact I have no idea where it laces up!)

Then this one:
Image

Which confused me a little, because it looks as though it has a waist seam, yet no pleats... yet the ones down the front of the bodice appear to continue into the skirt. Ho hum I thought, I'll ignore that and pretend it's like the other one anyway.

THEN after a quick google double check for like images, I found this...
Image

by the same artist (Meister des Hausbuchs), where there is an obvious, unavoidable line at the waist, yet still no pleats apart from the ones that already run down the front. And if that wasn't enough, what I assumed to be a decoratively laced under dress in the second image is actually a seperate strip round the top!

I really, really love the design of the gown with the pleats down the front, but I'm so confused by the last two pictures! Can anyone help me understand them, please?

Thank you!

Lidi :o
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Post by Xioumi »

Hi Lidi
You might find this link helpful. In the least it has other examples of dresses made in a similar style for you to study. Hope it helps.
http://cadieux.mediumaevum.com/nuremburg.html
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Post by lidimy »

Brilliant- thank you very very much!

Was waiting for the 'see finished result' link at the end but there is none - how frustrating! :D

The gatherdy idea sounds reasonable, but the gathers, if that's what they are, look too neat and regular somehow. Botheration! Unless it really is back lacing.
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Post by lidimy »

Lol this is so exciting!!!! :oops: :oops:
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Post by lidimy »

Oooh! Maybe I've worked it out. If the drawstring approach was only through the corded bits, not the whole way round the waist then it would actually work quite well, wouldn't it? infact, you could cut out a triangle with sleeves at the top and you could still make it fit and you'd get lovely deep folds at the front and back as shown...

Oh look! someone too ka quick sketch of me when I wasn't looking!
Image

Lol I'm so happy, I hope this works! Maybe I should test it on a bear first... :lol: :lol: :lol: :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D &c

And I hope that the costume c/tor likes it. :?
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Post by Theotherone »

On some of the pics there seems to be a bit of puckering on the side seam, like you'd get if the fabric was stretched a bit tight around the body.

Could these be front fastening (hidden lacing?- can't remember when it came in) with the pleats used to pull the fabric tight below the bust to give emphasis and support to certain assets as well as to provide decoration, a bit like under bust darts?

If the front opening of the dress were cut/slashed as an inverted T (vertical between the breasts, horizontal at waist) you would be able to have the definite central pleats of the bodice while having softer gathers in the skirt where the join between top and bottom is made.

The ones that obviously have no front fastening could, possibly, be achieved with a horizontal slits cut below the bust and at waistline the pleats/gathers being made simply to tighten the front below the bust,


(BTW This isn't my period, and I've drunk a little today, so please squash if necessary.)
Because there would have to be three of them.

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Post by lidimy »

Oooh, that would involve slashing through material wouldn't it - eek! I'd never have the guts to do that! :lol:

You're right about the side seams, they certainly look very strained (phew, no boning) so the gown couldn't possibly be just pulled on over the head!

Other pictures show the same manner of gathering round the back BTW. So no sneaky lacing there.
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Post by Theotherone »

Hmmm, but in the example of a back view in that Nuremburg article above you can see what looks like a cb seam and in the red dress showm twice in detail there is a suggestion of slightly loosened lacing, just above the pleats...
Because there would have to be three of them.

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Post by lidimy »

The seam in the back might be for better fitting and showing off the quantity of fabric though, rather than two sides of lacing being butted closely together.

I looked a bit at the lacing too, maybe more decorative or used to support the bust? As it doesn't really seem to open up the waist enough to slip it over the head and lace up.

BTW - I'm not disagreeing with you, just offering counter arguments :D
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Post by Cat »

As the lady who wrote the article said, fashions were largely practical. The way I see it is the dress was passed over the head, and the pleats were arranged and secured by an internal string. An added attraction to this style of fitting is its expand-and-contractability around the waist; the same dress could be adjusted to be worn through pregnancy or weight fluctuation- during puberty, for example, without having to add inserts or darts.
It's a very pretty pattern.
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Post by lidimy »

Cat wrote:As the lady who wrote the article said, fashions were largely practical. The way I see it is the dress was passed over the head, and the pleats were arranged and secured by an internal string. An added attraction to this style of fitting is its expand-and-contractability around the waist; the same dress could be adjusted to be worn through pregnancy or weight fluctuation- during puberty, for example, without having to add inserts or darts.
Which is the method I'm inclined to follow. Maybe more than one string - one at the top under the bust and one at the waist? Maybe more depending upon the stiffness of the cord? (I've not worked with cord before so I don't know anything about it!)
Cat wrote:It's a very pretty pattern.
:D
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Post by Colin Middleton »

I'll admit that I know nothing about women's clothes or German fashions, but I can offer a few thoughts.

What other fashions are going on around this time and in this area? What about before and after? Nothing exists in isolation, so if all the other types of gown in that area and leading to the development of this gown and developing from this gown are front lacing, you can bet that this one if front lacing too. If it's a mix, you problably don't learn much.

When you're looking at these pictures, ask yourself "does the artist know what he's drawing?" The artist may be making all kind of assumptions and guesses when he draws that picture, as well as using a 'graphic shorthand' to denote things, so just because one picture shows what appears to be piping sewn on, doesn't mean it is. It could be pleats and an artist not paying attention!

Many of the pictures shown appear to have a small V at the centre of the neck line. Some show a line descending from there, implying a closed slit, while others show what appears to be a lace across the top of a deeper slit. This implies to me that it may be a hidden lace at the front. Apparently front lacing was popular for gowns (note this may be England only and was a passing comment from a medieval fashion demonstrator on a gown a friend was wearing).

If they are pleats front and back, they represent a wonderful way to deal with the excess fabric between the chest and hips, simply pull the waist in front and back and you get that very curvy fit. The pleats will also help to hide that front fastening.

During the 15th C, there was a fashion for pleats in men's gowns. These were often held in place by being sewn to a strip of fabric on the inside (you can see the strip in some paintings). The Medieval Tailors has some very good photos of this.

Given the above, I'd go for fixed pleats with a front opening almost to the level of the hips, with either hidden laces or hook-and-eyes so that it CAN NOT BE SEEN. I suspect that a waist seam is optional, but the pleats should be put in AFTER the waist seam, so that they flow down into the skirt, giving it the fullness to flow and be pretty.

But then what do I know, I'm just passing oppinion.

Good luck
Colin

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Post by Colin Middleton »

PS: Lidimy, what are you doing looking at pictures of those discugusting German strumpets! Hussy! :D
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Post by lidimy »

:o :o :o

Because they're pretty! And I need a 15th C gown for my dance group - was meant to be Italian but y'know how it is, you give your heart to a design and that's that :oops:

At first when I only had a few piccies of that style (before Amanda gave me that brilliant link) I was unsure whether it was artistic license, as two of them were religious scenes that can't be taken at face value. (The first piccy I posted for example)
But there are several artists all showing the same design, so it obviously isn't just a one off. They vary a good deal, such as a the lacing bit, and the shape of the pleats, which I think might challenge your idea - there's no centre seam here, (one example from a few others)
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Post by Alice the Huswyf »

Lidi, be very ware that internationalism in fashion did not really exist until relatively late post tudor periods. For instance the jibes poked at Anne of Cleves, Catherine of Braganza and Caroline of Brunswick were based on their native fashion sense.

The Italians were doing entirely their own thing and might as well have been on Mars - the English don't 'get' the Renaissance fully until the young Henry VIII.

The Spanish were doing their own thing - including a very, very early 'Elizabethan' farthingale.

The Germans were doing their own thing - entirely on their own.

The Poles were doing a thing entirely unique to them and their weather conditions.

The French were following the Burgundians who were regarded as the Paris AND Milan of the period. The Scots were following the French and exhorting their women-folk to adopt the simpler headgear of their english cousins.

The English were way behind the international translation of fashion, but at one point we did ape the Flemings.

Flemish paintings are the commonest source for a lot of the period as it was widely done and preserved - whereas our own sources were more sytematically destroyed during the reformation than European art treasure during WW2 (which tended to get taken and hidden). Without knowing who was copying who though, they are a flawed source.

If your dance group are dressing Italian, no matter how much you like the german fashion, it is the equivalent oddity of 5 of you dressed in ballgowns and one of you dressed as a nun. Even the public who don't know WHY will spot it as it will be so very different.

I'd wack up an italian to dance in (plenty of good patterns available off the peg), and then slowly build a german for your own pleasure and knowledge.

Take advantage of your youth for once! As a young girl, you could simply wear the round necked, attached fitted sleeved, semi-fitted semi-flowing A-Line dress with a band of decoration down the front from neck to hem and to put your hair up and tease it into a small 'balli' (round back-combed bun) or wet plait it and wear it loose. That would be quicker than most Rennaissance outfits - and of course the differing Italian States had different national fashions'. Have a play with that if you want to be different but fit in.

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Post by Colin Middleton »

I've asked my wife, Diane, to take a look at the pictures. She knows much more that me about women's fashion. She imediately spotted the pictures as German from the styles of drawing. Having looked them over, she's sugested that they may have started as a pregnancy gown and become fashionable from there (late 15th C fashions emphasised a 'swolen' belly as though pregnant). She's of the oppinion that several of the gowns open at the front, but only to just below the bust, which would be convient for breast-feeding. She's also of the oppinion that the puckering around the side seams is actually side lacing, again it makes it easier to let out during pregnancy. She has also sugested that some of the pictures look like they are fitted pannels for decoration and one looks like a separate bodice.

She also echo'd Alice's advice to not go German in an Italian group.

Good luck.
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Post by lidimy »

Alice - I know about regional fashions etc :)

Maybe I should just put it on the shelf and leave it til another time :(

But I really do like it.
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Post by lidimy »

Anyway, here's the other I'm looking at. Feel free to comment :)

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I guess the Q with that one is, does she need boning to prevent the sides of the lacing from crinkling? :)

Does the line come round the outside of the breast or down the middle? Could be uncomfortable either way :shock:
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Post by lidimy »

Just realised how sulky and temperamental I must look after re-reading my last 2 posts!

Sorry Alice - you're quite right re not pressing a German case on the rest of my group. I'll show the costume c anyway, but I'll not insist it if it's a 'no' - I can always return to it as a project later on.

Besides, being Italian has it's advantages and possibly a lot more scope on the LH front 8) :D

Lidi :D
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Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

It certainly would if you wished to be portraying at an "English" event. The only Germans who get mentioned much in the 15th century English scene are those in the Hanse. They had their own fortified headquarters and needed it as the Hanse had a very on/off relationship with the English. However only men were allowed to stay/trade out of the steelyards (they also had to keep a suit of maille, two swords, two daggers and a crossbow in every room!) Because Venetian womens clothing starts to take on that Germanic look when the French and Spanish start chopping up Italy (until then Venice had been fighting a successful war of trade and expansion against the HRE) you might get away with claiming you have pro-Hapsburg leanings but you will look a touch out of place. If you want to be "German" you could aways claim that you are from the Lowlands or Alsace, of course then you'd be wearing Flemish/Burgundian/French outfits. I know just about every other re-enactor portrays either a German or a Burgundian mercenary but records indicate there were far more Italains around than any other nationality save for the Flemish communities of the Welsh Marches and London who were second or even third gen "foreigners" by the 1450's. If you do want to go Venetian though it'll give me a chance to whip out me old over pants and show off which "trouser club" I am a bravura with. (The world might not be ready for that.)
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Post by lidimy »

I thought you were Savoyard? :o
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Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

Any excuse to wear hot pants baby. :wink:
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Post by lidimy »

:lol:

Have you seen what I'll end up looking like though? :shock:
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Post by Shadowcat »

Lidi

These ladies are reputed to be courtesans, a nearly respectable profession in Venice, rather like geishas in Japan. I do not think this is quite what you had in mind?

Try looking at paintings by Domenico Ghirlandaio, Pisanello, Piero della Francesca, Francesco del Cossa, Cosimo Tura, Botticelli and so on. Or find a copy of "Dress in Italian Painting," by Elizabeth Birbari - a very useful source for 15th century Italian costume.

S.

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Post by lidimy »

Shadowcat wrote:Lidi

These ladies are reputed to be courtesans, a nearly respectable profession in Venice, rather like geishas in Japan. I do not think this is quite what you had in mind?

Try looking at paintings by Domenico Ghirlandaio, Pisanello, Piero della Francesca, Francesco del Cossa, Cosimo Tura, Botticelli and so on. Or find a copy of "Dress in Italian Painting," by Elizabeth Birbari - a very useful source for 15th century Italian costume.

S.
Some of the people in my group have used that picture as a source! :shock: But you're right, and I don't like the design anyway!

Thanks for the names - I'll do some searches! :D
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Post by Alice the Huswyf »

Your new picture is, I suspect, french and certainly what we would call early Tudor, but what they still define as Medieval (still Capetian ? dynasty there, as the Frog Knobs held on for ages and AGES).

As to boning edges, you would be surprised how effective narrow linen strip facings are as a stiffener for lacings.

I shall now partake of my own stiffener - a Cuba Libre, being as what I am so very old compared to you, small thing.

I have a couple of projects on the side lines: it's always fun to have a something out of period to re-hone yer edges on.

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Post by Alice the Huswyf »

Your new picture is, I suspect, french and certainly what we would call early Tudor, but what they still define as Medieval (still Capetian ? dynasty there, as the Frog Knobs held on for ages and AGES).

As to boning edges, you would be surprised how effective narrow linen strip facings are as a stiffener for lacings.

I shall now partake of my own stiffener - a Cuba Libre, being as what I am so very old compared to you, small thing.

I have a couple of projects on the side lines: it's always fun to have a something out of period to re-hone yer edges on.

AS TO VENETIAN TARTS - they certainly are. Unlike English WOTR naice gels, Rennaissance naice gels showed the (often embroidered, sometimes smocked) edge of their chemise: nicer still they also wore what was in effect a long tabard with a cloaked back over their dress; most elegant for weaving and slow dances. Ask yer Aunty Karen for a selection of pictures, and work with your youth - simpler and nicer fashions.

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Post by lidimy »

The sketch pic was one I nabbed from Marcus Woodhouse, and if he is a source to be trusted ( :wink: ) then it is in fact Savoyard.

I've seen a few of the tabard styles you refer to while browsing around pics - both allegorical as well as um... the opposite of allegorical in nature. One of the ladies in my dance group has one, but I don't really like them because they aren't pinched in at the waist :oops: Is this what you refer to? (attached)



What are 'naice gels' and what is a 'Cuba Libre'? (:
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Post by Alice the Huswyf »

That's pretty much the thing. Small puff looks classier somehow. The version I like is actually closed at the front and fuller at the back. Go and look at Karen Larsdotter's site - she has a extensive collection of images.

Naice gels live in the better shires and ALWAYS wear their coifs.

Cuba Libre is rum and coke.

Lidi - now can you help me. How am I going to seat 14 to dinner tomorrow night - three being veggies, 2 picky children, one veg and one meat eater diary intolerant. I have 10 dinner plates. I can seat 10 tightly. They are all staying overnight, and are not of an age to bunk up dormitory style. In an (albeit extended) tied cottage, which are never big to start with.

It all seemed such a good idea at the time............

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Post by lidimy »

Hmmm.... pasta maybe? An exotic Italian dish always go down well and kiddies always like pasta - esp the texture of fusilli and such :D

And after all ,an 'exotic Italian pasta dish' is no more than Spag Bol with an extra half bottle of red thrown in :wink:

As for sleeping - kids pack together nicely when top to toe. Equally, if you have a small table which can be added to the end of your main dinner table, the kids might appreciate sitting apart from the (boring) adults.
Seat people who like to throw their elbows around at the ends of the table, and keep someone you like sitting opposite you, so should there arise a desperate situation, you have someone to throw a helpless glance at.

Hope this helps? Just some thoughts :wink:
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