16th Century, Orange Tudor

When silk taffeta comes home to roost.

Orange Tudor Gown

Several months ago www.fabric.com was having a wonderful sale and I was able to snag some dark coral silk taffeta for a song. It came in the mail and I petted it and held back the urge to roll in it like a colt in the grass. (Taffeta wrinkles, grass does not.)

So I stuck the roll in the corner of the room and went about my business.

Then it started whispering..

Princess Elizabeth

So I rolled over and went back to sleep, which is the sane reasonable thing to do when fabric starts to talk to you, right?

Except it didn’t work, after a few hours of tossing and turning and kicking the cat out of the bed I got up and stared at Google. Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlocked was back at the library.

Yet I knew that orange wasn’t a color that showed up in tons paintings, and it went by various names in period.

I also knew that taffeta was usually used for linings, but the Tudor Talior says it could be used for gowns, and a quick peek at Mary Tudor’s Wardrobe Accounts lists a French Gown of Black Taffeta.

Knowing it was used from time to time for gowns made me feel better, but still the color bothered me. My fabric was not a reddish coral, nor was it exactly a pumpkin. But a bit more hunting on the web led me to some paintings showing orange, or orange toned fabrics.

My fabric is plain and not damasked, which spares me the effort of trying to recreate the painting. Trying to find metallic cut velvet while on a budget is an exercise in insanity. So I settled on a plain brown velveteen, I picked up during on of the spring madness sales at my local Joann’s. I should be able to squeeze a full kirtle and false sleeves out of 4 yards, and if I am very lucky piece some narrow fitted sleeves from the off cuts.

3 thoughts on “When silk taffeta comes home to roost.

  1. Hi Sandy,

    I still have not made this gown. The silk taffeta is sitting in my closet mocking me as I’m not sure if I want to use it for the main fabric of the dress or wait and find a proper patterened fabric and use the orange silk taffeta as the lining. I did make a gown out of some light weight green silk as a “test gown” Green Silk Tudor Gown.

    Another costumer used black silk taffeta to make a Tudor Gown, you can find photos and her dress diary about it Here

    I hope that helps, let me know if you end up making it I’d like to see how it turns out. =)

  2. Did you make this gown? I’m considering taffeta for my first ever & wonder how the construction went. Your blog is very handy for me as we are both about the same size & I too live in a warm climate 🙂

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