A few years ago, ok actually make that five years ago? A drool worthy book called “Moda a Firenze 1540-1580: Lo stile di Eleonora di Toledo e la sua influenza”, hit the shelves and sent many costumers and researchers into a fit of joyous ecstasy. I was one of them, however I didn’t have the money to spend on the book. So I waited and read the reviews and looked over a few photos from it that were posted. I fell in love with the red velvet gown, the elegant train, the worn but glittering crouched trim. I knew then I didn’t have the skill set to make the dress the way it should be made, but I knew I had 6 yards of a purple/red velveteen and while it wasn’t the exact, it would do.
I had Patterns of Fashion to guide me, and a new dress form that I was learning how to use. Some muslin and 4 yards of a poly-cotton damask later I had a test dress which still is in need of a hem…I’ll get to it one day.
But hems aside the test dress taught me a great deal about fit and proportion. My bodice pattern was just a little too big, the point of it came down too far on me, making it look like later time period. The skirt (which I cartridge pleated rather then knife pleated due to the thickness of the fabric) wasn’t full enough. I was able to see what needed changed, how the dress moved and where to improve the fit for next time.
With that in mind I made adjustments to my bodice pattern and cut out a new mock-up.