The Man in the Iron Mask

I wrote earlier that i am planning to make a 1660’s corset, well i found the film The Man in the Iron mask the other day and there is plenty of inspiration for dresses inside, not much underwear on show but the dresses are lovely.

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a nice view of the back of their dresses.

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loving the yellow and frills

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…the gold embroidery

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the lady to the left in blue, i like the detail on her dress

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far right, the detail on that gold is lovely, like a sweet wrapper lol

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i’m really liking the peach dress in the centre, everything about it is lovely.

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i like this colour alot, the detail reminds me of the tv series ‘Charles II The Power and the Passion’

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i don’t like the fabric used on her’s, yet the construction is perfect

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can never have enough view from behind, you forget thats just as important

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more perfect!!!

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don’t think the real Anne of Austria would have worn that dull of clothes, yet nice to see from this era, don’t see that much.

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nice and sombre

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with glittering jewels

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poor people……… i’m sure i would have been one of them, there costumes are mixed

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different corsets

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lady on the left looks like she has stepped out of a field from the 1560’s, lady on the right with red skirt could be 18th century

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they could be standing outside versailles shouting up at Marie Antionette

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LOVE

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LOVE LOVE

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LOVE LOVE

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I don’t know about the hooks and eyes, the other women were laced up ?!?

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her smocking on her chemise

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lush colour

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and embroidery

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John malkovich working the shirt

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16th century masked ball, yeah

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and another

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some clearly visible tights

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i like hers, the only women not in 16th century fancy dress

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some very suave elizabethan men

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loving the lady in the middle, really in to it

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some added renaissance ladies

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and more

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some nice big elizabethan ruffs

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more spanish inspiration

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some royal armour

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1660s Corset

I’ve always wanted to do a dress from the 1660s, the big puffy sleeves and low, risky shoulders are the staple of the restoration of Charles II to the throne of England. And now I can really focus on it and take my time ive decided to finally do it. One thing always stopping me was how complicated the corsets are and there isn’t many references on the types of undergarments avaliable. However there is one amazing example in the Victoria and Albert Museum which is still in great condition. I’ve never seen it there myself but this lovely lady has added pictures from her trip there.

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Looking at it closely you can see the boning channels and where each piece attaches to the next and it turns out that i have the same corset in my book Underwear Fashion in Detail and between the difference references I have drawn a rough outline of the corset pattern.

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17th Century Women’s Smock

I was looking at my collection of photos on my computer and on pinterest to determine the different shapes of smocks in this century (and all the others), you wouldn’t think there was many, i was surprised to find at least four.

At the beginning of the century the fashion was still for the large french farthingale’s and big collars usually associated with Queen Elizabeth, the neckline at the front was low and quiet high at the back, to support the large collar.

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The smock isn’t visible in any of these, indicating that it follows along the edge and fits very closely against the corset. I also noticed from the same few decades that young girls dress had a straighter bodice line, perhaps that was more modest for children and they eventually graduated to the more risky bust lines later on?

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During the same early decades of the century into the 1640’s and 1650’s there were some women who were far more concerned with being conservative, covering up almost every inch of flesh, you can almost see these these women rallying behind Cromwell in a few years to come.

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They would have been wearing something very similar to the smock below.

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As the swinging 60’s rolled in and everyone began to enjoy themselves and drink themselves into oblivion, bodice lines began to move down rapidly, slipping down over the shoulder and just holding the bust in.

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The smocks were also sometimes visible just over the edge of the dress as well as bulging out the carefully cut holes in the sleeves. The smock lightly resembled the chemises worn in the 1840’s by Victorian women, except their large, puffy sleeves that were heavily gathered and were always just visible below the sleeve. The corsets of  the era demonstrated the loose structure over the body yet were heavily boned so ironically didn’t leave much room for movement.

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Smocks during the end of the decade began to return to previous shape at the beginning of the century, yet they keep the large puffy sleeves underneath and returned to the hard, boned bodices of the beginning of the century.

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Nell

Introducing Nell, my 1660’s ‘protestant whore’ as the real Nell proclaimed in the BBC’s Charles II The Power and the Passion. She’s without  any sleeves at the mo as i fell out with them mid production, but she will have some at some point.

Using inspiration from some of the ladies of Charles II’s court i started by making the chemise, puffy sleeves and all. Next time i will raise the sleeves so the chemise is lower and less visible. I think my right sleeve is starting to loose it’s puffy-ness and well :/

I then stitch the skirt together, I’m not quite certain yet whether i used to much fabric or not? but anyway that went rather well and i stitched the design on with the sewing machine.

 

I had a bit of difficulty making the bodice, not getting the right shape for the arms, but it worked out all right and the right shapes are starting to flood back into my memory now. I’m hoping i will finish her sleeves later this week, while i also intend to make a 1860’s dress when the fabric arrives.

 

The National Trust Collection

I have discovered, gratefully from The Costume Society of America, that The National Trust, here in England has put their entire collection online. I use to work at a national trust property called Trerice, i absolutely loved it there and made a little shriek when i heard this news because i had a few favorite items among their collection and when i volunteered there you couldn’t take photo’s in the house. I though i would share some with you all, their collection is here.

I remember this painting being put back, if you look carefully to the left you can see the wood that it was painted on is curved, they made a special box frame so the wood could bend back in its own time. The restorers also didn’t do a very good job (or perhaps it wasn’t them ?!?!) because on the lady’s right, her shoulder has been painted away and it’s shorter than her left, its not very visible here, you need to see it up close. Originally they had believed (or hoped) that this was a portrait of Queen Elizabeth, but it turned out to rich, English country lady.

I was also there when this painting came back, it had been living somewhere else in the country and was dirty, after restoration when it came back it was quite important to Trerice because this boy grew up to be the last Baron (i think) to live at Trerice, he died unmarried and quite young and i believe the house past through cousins. I believe this is the only portrait of one of the Arundell’s that Trerice had that lived at the house (again i may well be wrong, i stopped volunteering about 2010, i think).

This portrait of Charles I always use to give me the creeps.

They have several John Opie portraits there, which is lovely as he is a famous Cornish artist.

One day, when i was in this room (the great chamber) i was sat on the window sill watching the visitors and a child ran and jumped on this beautiful 17th century sofa, i think a part of me died inside and my mortification must have been very obvious as the child’s father quickly grabbed him and left.

Beautiful pieces of stumpwork from around the mid 1600’s.

Picture of the week – 1. Princess Elizabeth

I’m thinking i might start a ‘picture of the week’ or something similar because i am always finding new pictures and portraits with really beautiful costumes in them. So, here’s my first one, Princess Elizabeth of England, the daughter of King James Ist in 1613, probably just after she married her husband Frederick of Palatinate. All of Elizabeth’s dresses in her early years seem to have an organic embroidery pattern or theme to them?