Tag Archives: IchBinAnnaOfCleves

When my aesthetics meets historical accuracy

I’ve managed to delaminate my velvet from the support fabric for my vibrant red and black Cleves gown, and from there also carefully pressed it over baking paper to stretch each piece back to shape. Two stages with a day in between of rest. It turns out I probably have enough velvet to redo all pieces so I’ve taken a paper pattern from my skirt panels to create all new templates for the <<liste>> and <<bortgin>> just in case.


I really want to use a technique used from the 16thC to lay the velvet to the support but… it goes against everything I normally do and ARGHHHHH!

So we have two garments that are well documented for laying guards to a ground fabric. Both use twists of silk to hide the raw edges as the guarding it left raw, rather than folded under, and in both cases there are regular little loops/scrolls of the twist onto the guards alternating with loops/scrolls on the main fabric.

I’m sorry, but that’s too much of a coincidence, and what artwork supports this frequency? I’ve spent so much time trying to find them, but can’t so what do I do? (What was she meant to do? Sorry not sorry about this obvious Six reference.)

It makes so much sense when you think in terms of a high output, many hands workshop. Of course it’s going to save money in terms of investment in the fabric, and of course it’s going to be labour intensive but with best predictable bang for buck.

I’m about ready to accept this is what I need to do- even if I use a machine to zig zag and even if I say No Way to the loops (Get Down with all the Six puns because they’re Not Going Away.).

But what I’m struggling with is the joins.

Oh yes.

It looks like joins in fabric are butted and not seamed.

Now this one is where my brain insists this is poor engineering just to save what? overall 10cm of fabric? In Cloth of gold that’s probably worth it. In velvet… okay that’s many times the amount of silk versus plain silk and it’s only a couple of hours of work to do some supporting stitches.

And this is why every project takes so long:

-I’m a Master Tailor without a workshop.

I pay for the fabric rather than passing the costs to a client. I’m drafter, draper, stitcher, cutter, historian, archivist, purchaser with no bargaining power. So while I know what 16thC practices were used and why? I’m not in a position to direct other people to to the work I shouldn’t be doing.

A disadvantage for my own output, but a fairly unique vantage to better understand the difference between 16thC and modern expectations.

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