I love the look of the German Renaissance gowns. Two of my favorite artists for the genre are Cranach and Holbein. Cranach’s subjects tend to be younger and slimmer. Holbein’s subjects are a little more “real sized” looking to me.
I’ve always wanted to make a German gown, and Genoveva inspired me to make one to wear to St. Valentines Day Massacre 2014 in Kalamazoo.
I briefly considered using a Reconstructing History pattern, then I looked at the pieces and remembered how bad the scaling is from my experience, and just scrapped that idea. I looked at the Past Patterns German Renaissance pattern instructions, and decided that it would be less confusing to just start from scratch.
I made up a mock up of the bodice and went stash shopping. I found all my fabric in my stash, except just over a yard of cotton twill for interlining the bodice. That I got on the clearance rack. (Yay! I did good! Stash shopping FTW!) After some issues with bust/back arm wrinkles and some great advice from Margo, Richard H. and my old co-workers from Haberman‘s, I figured out the pattern and smoothed it out. Then I got sick (there’s been a lot of that this year) and put it down for a while while I recuperated for about a month. Then I put the bodice together and found out that I had lost some fluff (I fluctuate A LOT) and needed to take out several inches in the center front and center back. My Mom was a life (and shoulder) saver and helped me get the proper fit. I realized that with as much as I fluctuate, that a center front hook and eye opening was unwise if I wanted to be able to wear the dress multiple times, so I opted for center back lacing, contrary to the pictorial evidence.
The bodice has 2 layers of twill with a combination of light & heavy weight zip ties and spring steel boning. This is covered with a layer of wool flannel, then the black wool flannel appliqued on top.
For the sleeves, I used a pattern piece of a sleeve then changed it dramatically. The top part of the sleeves have the band appliqued to the bottom edge and slashed (the strip is on the bias so the slashes are vertical).
The lower part of the sleeve is lined. The black is on the true bias, the periwinkle is almost on the bias, I was running out of fabric. The design is cut-away applique. I marked it, stitched down around the edge of the design, then very carefully cut away the black.
Underneath I wore the thrift store shoes I painted at costume college, long stockings, my linen square necked smock, my black linen drawstring petticoat.
Genoveva suggested a wulsthaube for headwear and I found a wonderful video on youtube “How to wear the Schleier & Bundlen, Early Modern German Veil Wraps” by the Curious Frau. I think it worked out really well.