Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Big Project


It's September. Which means that October is looming over my shoulder with anticipation. When fall hits is usually when the sewing gets ramped up to 11. There are just sooo many occasion that a new something is needed. There's Halloween (which is HUGE in my house so at least two very awesome costumes need be made), then just the cold weather calling for romantic dark clothing, soon there is Christmas to think about, and be then the poor sewing machine is calling for mercy.

I'm going to try and be good this year, and instead of leaving everything to the last minute as I tend to want to do (for some reason the pressure feels soo good), I'm going to finish my big project in a timely manner.

What is my big project you ask? Well I won't tell you what it's for ;) but I'm in DESPERATE need of a cotehardie and soon.

Which then begs the question, what is a cotehardie??

A Cotehardie is a closely fitted gown from the 14th century, worn by men and women. Below is a historical example of a cotehardie in 14th century art. It is a brass rubbing of Eleynor
e Corp, granddaughter of J. Corp 1361 or 1391, depending on source; brass from Stoke Fleming, Devon, England (source: Muriel Clayton's Brass Rubbings [1391]), Through England on My Knees, by Betsey Lewis, and Brasses and Brass Rubbings by Clare Gittings.)

As you can see from the picture, the dress is very closely fit at the torso and gives way to loose skirts. There are many studies into how this look was achieved including some deconstructions of garments that have survived from the time period.

The major pattern companies have also put out several modern day patterns that attempt to achieve the same look. Almost all of those patterns include the use of princess seams.

I plan to fall somewhere in the middle. I'm not shooting for exact historical accuracy but some of the construction techniques just seem easier and more in line with the look that I want to achieve.

Here is an example of a purposed historically accurate pattern for such a dress.



My hope is to simplify this pattern greatly. Using the tips, advice and techniques of Tasha Kelly McGann's Building and Feminine silhouette and Dame Helen's Cotehardies from the Greenland Gowns.

Of course my dress will be black (naturally), and have a spiral lace front to make getting into it possible for me by myself (weren't ladies in waiting useful?). And I want those button sleeves if it is the last this I do.

The tricky part is going to be getting someone to actually fit my torso, I've enlisted help already. I just feel a little bad since they are going to be doing a lot of work and I won't really be able to help at all XD.

From there I'll figure out how much yardage I'm going to be dealing with and if I need to go buy it of if (miracles of miracles) I have it on hand.

I am very excited about this, as it's a style of dress I've always admired. Simple but dramatic. Let's just hope I can pull it off.

3 comments:

Thora Appelgren said...

i want one too.... maybe in dark red? or dark green? :D

Branwen said...

Red would be lovely. But so would green...hmmm tough choice.

Ladybug said...

Me too, me too! Love it!

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