I haven’t been able to give the Challenge as much time as I may have liked in this first month as I have had other SCA commitments. My plan has been to make a mid-sixteenth century Italian noble lady’s ensemble. I had real difficulty deciding on a specific gown to base my outfit around, and I have already had to change my plans once as a dye job did not turn out quite as I had hoped.
These factors have made me feel less enthusiastic than I otherwise might be about the project, and have caused a lot of doubt and second-guessing.
To help overcome this, I cut out and sewed a partlet.
While a partlet is not one of the main 4 items required for the Challenge, I feel that it is very important for the mid-sixteenth century Italian aesthetic.
I have an existing pattern that I used for the partlet. I cut it out of linen fabric and then used the sewing machine to do a small zig zag stitch around all the edges of the cut fabric. Then I machine sewed the shoulder and side seams, enclosing the seam.
Next I flattened the seam and used a small whip stitch to secure it. Then I hemmed all the edges with a small folded hem. I prefer the folded hem to a rolled hem because it tends to sit flatter under the other layers.
I also managed to get a pair of sleeves cut out of fashion fabric. I could not find a nice lining fabric to suit it, so that part will have to wait. I will decide what decoration (if any) will be added when I make a final decision on the dress style that I want to do. I'm not sure I want to do a recreation of a specific gown - more a blending of design elements from several similar portraits – but there are two main Italian styles that I like, and that I need to choose between.
I've also adapted a bodice pattern in preparation for cutting out a gown, and adapted a coat pattern and cut out the fashion fabric.
Again, I haven’t cut the lining out yet. There are two reasons unlined for warmer weather, and b) I don’t have anything light and suitable that doesn’t have synthetics in it. (The outer ‘fashion’ fabric has some synthetic in it, but I am trying not to add to it. Synthetics are a fire risk, make you sweat more, make you warmer and are not authentic for the sixteenth century. Since I have a tiny budget, I have to make do with what I can afford, but I’d prefer not to have more synthetics than absolutely necessary.)
I have to decide which side of the coat fabric will work better.
Next month I plan to focus on making up the coat and deciding whether or not to add sleeves. I'd like to work on the gown in December.