Terracotta wool Swabian gown – late 15th/early 16th century

(completed May 2014) Photo taken by Claudia Linder.

terracotta gown     P1050003

This gown was made to bridge the gap between my peach linen kirtle (warm weather wear) and black wool gown (freezing weather wear), and to be something of a middle class gown in terms of modesty and fabric usage. It’s another one where the general style appears in a few different regions, which is understandable really – styles do tend to travel, and bleed into surrounding regions.

Double Portrait of a bride and groom, Bertold V Master of the Tucher and his wife Landauer Altarpiece, 1475, Dessau, National Gallery, inv 4      mun ap 8 - 1502 detail  

Above pics, From left:  Double Portrait of a bride and groom, Bertold V Master of the Tucher and his wife Landauer Altarpiece, (1475), Dessau, National Gallery; Master of the Stahlburg portraits (1504), Portraits of Claus Stalburg and Margarethe vom Rhein (right side detail), staedelmuseum; Hans Holbein the Elder, (1502), Wings of theKaisheim Alterpiece, detail.

It’s cut in a similar way to the teal spotty gown – bodice and skirts all in one, but without the triangular gores, out of 4 and a bit metres of 140cm wide wool (with a definite nap/direction to the weave). The sleeves are full length, and lined in the same cotton/linen blend as the rest of the gown, constructed in the same way too (outers to linings by machine, then ship stitched together by hand). The bodice closes at the front with hooks and eyes up to just under the bust, then a decorative clasp I put together with some bits and pieces I had lying around at the top of the neckline. I found that stitching the hooks and eyes up to that point worked really well for bust support – I can wear the gown without anything else other than a chemise and underskirt, and still be quite, erm, secure, as it creates a fitted ‘shelf’ that holds my bust in place. It’s a fairly modest gown in terms of fabric usage and trim (the only decorative aspect are the plain black guards around the bodice opening and cuffs, and the small clasp on the bodice), but it’s beautifully soft, cosy and practical, and the combination of wool and linen means that the dress breathes well when I’m wearing it.


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