Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Red Dress Roundup

Because I was having trouble with the stamp and running out of fabric very quickly, I decided to cut my losses and try to find a different sleeve that would work with the gown I’ve already made.  What I came up with is this:

90760Muziano, Girolamo (1528-1592) Portrait of Vittoria Colonna (1490-1547). Galleria Colonna, Rome, Italy

This is a fabulous find for me, for two reasons:

1)  It makes me feel a lot better about a partlet that I already have 90% complete.  (It’s just the hems that need to be done…..worst case, they don’t get done; it’ll be hidden inside my bodice anyhow….)  If I had more time, I’d do the rows of ruffles and the cords with wee tassels, but I’m feeling like it won’t happen.  (But that’s OK, I tend towards the plain side anyway)


2)  The sleeves have a lot of interest, and aren’t like anything I already have in my closet.

Back to the sleeves for a minute.  Because I built my gown bodice to have the shoulder straps sitting on top of my shoulder, rather than the decidedly off-the-shoulder look in the portrait, I had to change some of the details in the sleeve to make it work, but I think it works anyway.

The biggest change I made to the look of the sleeve is to create a sleeve cap that extends up to the shoulder strap, rather than the straight-across poufy band in the portrait.  This is also probably a good idea for me because I tend to have hams hanging off my shoulders rather than arms.

Here’s what the sleeve looks like on me:  (The bottom is wrinklier than I want, but I think that’s because the sleeve isn’t pulled up all the way, and the seam allowance isn’t turned under at the wrist…..when all is said and done, I’ll turn over however much I need to at the wrist to make is lie smoothly on my arm.


(Forgive the disaster area that is my sewing room!  Oh, also, you can see my sister in law, Anne, standing in the back.  I’ve been helping her make a late 1400’s gamurra & giornea – I am so impressed!  She has been sewing for a very short time, and is already very accomplished.  I explained (poorly) how to draft a sleeve pattern, and off she went!  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  She’s going to be an amazingly talented seamstress, I can’t wait to see what she does next!)

I had originally thought to selectively ignore the horizontal stripes on the lower sleeve, but after doing a test pinking, I realized that a couched cord between the rows of pinks would make the whole thing much more stable.  So now I’m 3/4 done with couching the first sleeve…wish me luck!


If all goes according to plan, here’s what it’s going to look like.  I haven’t quite decided if I’m going to line the pinking with black or white…..opinions?



  1. Gorgeous.  And I'd go with white lining, personally.

  2. Would the red crock onto the white lining?  I think the black wouldn't stand out as much, but I think I'd avoid the white if it's going to turn pink...