Monday, February 6, 2012

Venetian Gown Construction

I wanted to share some of the major steps in the construction of my 1560s Venetian gown.
First, here is my base bodice shape. This is my linen lining, and then I used cotton canvas as an interlining and velvet as the fashion fabric.

This is the bodice all put together. I did the ladder lacing by placing a reinforced strip of fabric covered in evenly spaced grommets just inside the opening on each side of the bodice. The bodice itself has flat steel bones at the front edges, which help to keep it so perfectly straight.

My sleeves! I did cutwork for the sleeves, as well as the bottom hem of the dress. I made a stencil and then traced it onto the fabric. The cuts were made with a regular pair of scissors.

The sleeves attach to the bodice with ribbon ties. I also edged the sleeves with Venetian lace. Here, I've also added a front insert, which covers my corset. There is some debate on whether the corset goes under or over the chemise, but in every other period I've researched, the corset is always over the chemise. It's more practical that way, and I don't see why it should be any different here. Plus, there are some images that show partlets going all the way down to waist level, perhaps covering the corset. Who knows, maybe they did it both ways.

And the full gown! I made a partlet out of Venetian lace. The skirt is cartridge pleated by the traditional method. I tried a shortcut that I do for knife pleats but found that the traditional method was faster. Maybe I've just cartridge pleated so many skirts that it's not so bad anymore!

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