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 Puritan’s and Fashion – Is it really all black and white?

I’ve always really liked the ‘dark times’ in England’s history during the 17th century, of course not for the murder of Charles I, but how the English tried to follow the principles of the Puritans, yet always falling back into their old immoral ways. When it comes to the fashion of the 1640’s and 50’s you always think of black and white fabrics, boring, over-sized plain hats and simple coifs, but, was it really that dull?

Having a look at it now in more detail I’ve realised that in their choice of simple clothing they were making their own fashion impacts with subtle details in the large kerchiefs round their necks, trimmed with lace and the large starched ruffs, often trimmed with lace or seriously over-sized.

  They also showed a tiny glimmer of embroidery, as can be seen in the portrait above, the bodice is decorated with gold threads, while there is a small embroidered, organic pattern on the coif, perhaps reminding others of the importance of  nature and where we all originally come from, Adam and Eve. 

Yet it is still possible to distinguish the rich and poor from each other, which perhaps wasn’t the puritan believe but more about rich women following the fashions of the day.

This portrait above possibly shows how fashion was beginning to develop into the beautiful colours and silks and satin’s of the 1660’s, nearer the end of the Cromwellian period. The detailed embroidered silks on the under-skirt, the opened exposed sleeves and bodice with intricate detail all demonstrate a part of history moving forward, while the contrasting black and white and large kerchief show a society continued belief in a conservative form of fashionable attire.

These simple dress codes spread across both sides of the English civil war however, the Royalist also demonstrating their preference for simple dress in their portraits of the day as much as the parliamentarians.

 The dark, simple military Armour became popular among both groups after Peter Lely’s defining portrait of Oliver Cromwell with ‘warts and all’. The Puritans simple taste also inspired future generations of sombre fashions, such as the Victorians in their period of modesty with simple lace trimming on cuffs and neckerchiefs reaching over the shoulders. Perhaps it’s not boring and just needs more observation?