My intention is to create a wardrobe of clothing for a wealthy English woman around about the year 1640. All the garments should work together, and be worn in different combinations to create different looks - a bit like Pink n' Pretty Barbie (if you remember her).
I'll be using a limited colour palette - mainly golden yellow and pale blue. Golden yellow seems to have been a favourite colour during the mid 1600s, seen being worn in many portraits. The blue is a good foil to the yellow, creating the effect of a warm summer’s sky. My natural inclination is towards dark, muted colours, so it’s good to challenge expectations sometimes.
Left - Lady Elizabeth Thimbelby and her sister
Anthony van Dyke c.1635
Right - detail from
Anthonie Palamedesz 1630
The effect I'm aiming for but in reverse
The fabric I've chosen is duchess satin, which has a good weight and a beautiful sheen. Plain, shiny fabrics were the most fashionable during the mid 1600s. Unfortunately, finances don’t allow me to use 100% silk materials, but this project isn’t about being totally authentic, it’s about creating the correct silhouette, the right combination of clothing items worn in the right way.
On a similar topic I’ll be using my sewing machine to do the bulk of the sewing. I feel I have nothing left to prove by hand stitching this project. I will, however, be hand finishing any stitching which might be visible – including hems, application of bindings and trim, top stitching edges etc.
What I’m planning to make
- Yellow pair of stiffened bodies
- Two petticoats – one yellow, one blue
- At least two pairs of sleeves – one yellow, one blue – to attach to the bodies
- Yellow over gown, lined with blue
- A ‘hungerline’ (over waistcoat) – colour undecided
- Blue stomacher
- Blue waistcoat
This is not a dress diary, and I won’t be documenting every step of the construction process – just those that I think are relevant. Where I include patterns these are not to scale but for illustrative purposes only.