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The Scrope Gown -

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The corset and forepart skirt A close-up on the beading of the forepart The brass 'S' buttons on the sleeves The 'Scrope Gown' from the front

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And from the back
The gold locket that I'm wearing in these photos has a large pearl embellished 'S' on it and I'm planning on adding as many more 'S' items as I can find in the correct style as well as any other Scrope heraldic emblems such as Cornish chough (it's a kind of bird that looks like a crow only with a red beak and legs, good luck finding one!) and a spray of 5 feathers (not the Prince of Wales' 3 feathers). A gown may be done, but it's never complete!

tawney hunts trim no flash.jpg (128663 bytes) Tawney Hunting Gown - I decided to make myself an outfit with no Courtly pretensions whatsoever, something that was practical yet stylish, sporty yet elegant. So I dived into my fabric stash to see what looked promising. I found a nice pile of tawney (period term for a dark reddish brown sometimes referred to as 'rust' today) brushed cotton twill and some metallic gold brocade- not much but enough for a jerkin. That looks like a good start to me! I decided that since this was to be a sporting outfit, I would sew the skirt to the bodice and have it closed up the front. I found some black/tawny/gold/ trim left over from a previous project as well as some 'tabac' Swarovski crystal beads and some black bugle beads to embellish it. This wasn't costing me a dime! Yay me!

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I put extra boning in the bodice because while I wanted to wear this with a period corset, I also liked the idea of having the option of having just the kirtle bodice being supportive enough on it's own. I then put gold and black buttons down the center front and did a pair of modest leg-o-mutton style sleeves. and the kirtle was done. The thing that really makes this outfit interesting is the jerkin- the little vest-like garment- made from a gold metallic/tawney fabric in a period design. I added black braid to accent the edges and seam lines. And with appropriate added accessories of black velveteen hat, feather fan, and riding crop I was ready to go hunting!

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This dress is made from a cranberry red damask with velveteen sleeves and forepart decorated with bands of metallic brocade in two sizes. The general style is French with a square cut bodice and full French style sleeves. I added a dark olive green cape on the back and made the tall hat to match. Here's a close up of the sleeve. I sewed garnet and peridot crystal beads along the wide bands of trim, unfortunately the photo doesn't show them very well. At least you can see some of the detail in the trim which has the cranberry color as well as the olive green of the cape and the 'doe' of the forepart and sleeves. Here is another example of the Flemish Middle Class style of dress. It is easy to make and very comfy.

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This is a more traditionally English style of middle class costume. It is made from tan cotton twill for bodice and overskirt, and a dark tawney/russet cotton for sleeves and underskirt. The trim looks hand embroidered but is actually purchased and irons on! English middle class costume made from dark blue and red linen. This gown is based on a portrait of Lettice Knollys with round sleeves. And even this dress gets more than one set of sleeves- this is the original set of red and gold brocade sleeves. The beige brocade sleeves are actually ones that go the Knollys gown!

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This is a Spanish style gown which I wear at Bristol Renaissance Faire when I am portraying Philadelphia Carey, Baroness Scrope ... well, let's be honest, it's ONE of the gowns!! Here are front and back views of the black brocade Elizabethan with a different set of sleeves, forepart, partlet, and hat.  Mix and match is Period! This black velveteen early Elizabethan gown was inspired by a portrait of a Spanish lady. The sleeves and forepart are in changeable Thai silk which is woven red in one direction and blue in the other. I did the embroidery and beading of the partlet myself. I designed this dress to be very adaptable. Here is the black and silver brocade set of sleeves and forepart that I originally designed for the dress. In this photo I am wearing a brass wire mask as part of a 'Feast of Fools'.
Black Velveteen - Third Incarnation -

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Here's a detail shot of the new sleeves so you can see how I decorated the braid and metal filigree. Here's the full effect I did a partlet in a brocaded cloth-of-gold accented with gold paillettes lined with the rose silk. I also draped some pearl and gold necklaces across the front. I did a black velveteen flat cap with feather accent and a caul to match the partlet.

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This is a 16th century Flemish peasant dress that I made from instructions by Drea Leed (see the link to The Elizabethan Costume Page).  Although she based her research on Flemish paintings of the period, there is a great deal of evidence that dresses almost identical to this one were worn in England as well. The gown is made of charcoal grey wool lined with yellow cotton, the kirtle or petticoat bodies is made of blue linen/cotton blend, and the shift is made of white linen.

This is a garment called a Spanish surcoat or a Ropa. It was fashionable in Elizabeth's reign both for full court functions and for more relaxed activities. It consists of a crimson satin and brocade kirtle (underdress) cut as an A-line dress, with a teal and multi-colored brocade surcoat over it. The sleeves tie into the kirtle.

The back of the surcoat has pleats controlling the fullness at the shoulders with lines of crimson braid over gold trim hiding the stitching

This detail shows the sari trim I used along with the gold filigree pieces to produce the decoration along the hem of the kirtle. It also shows more of the series of separate elements I used to produce the lines of trim around the front opening and hem. The base is metallic gold trim @ 3/4 inch wide. Over that I laid crimson braid so that the metallic gold shines thru the crimson and, to top it all off, I sewed fresh-water pearls in all the central loops of the braid. It's true, I have no life.

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In this shot of the front opening and sleeve, you can see more of the gold filigrees I used to decorate the sleeves. In addition to the pieces themselves, I sewed gold rocaille bugles, glass pearls and red, faceted glass beads on them to further embellish them. There are 62 brass buttons down the front.

People appear to be fascinated by how an Elizabethan costume goes together. The most basic layer is the shift and farthingale (hoopskirt).  The farthingale is what gives the skirt it's  characteristic shape. The shift was both shirt and undershirt and served to protect the outer garments from body oils and dirt. Over the shift and farthingale goes the petticoat and corset. The petticoat serves to disguise some of the structure of the farthingale and to soften the lines. The corset gives the upper torso the smooth, inverted cone shape so necessary for the Elizabethan look. Elizabethan corsets were not primarily to shrink the waist (as Victorian corsets did) but to smooth the curves of the torso and give a controlled and regular shape, so they don't actually need to be very tight, just snug and well fitted. The next layer of this outfit is called a 'kirtle'. It is essentially a long A-line dress. A kirtle can be worn under a surcote or under a doublet and skirt. The sleeves tie into the shoulders of the kirtle by 'points' and could be changed to wear with another outfit. The front panel of the kirtle is decorated while the back is plain satin, a practice which is documented in period sources.

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The final layer of the costume is the surcote. Mine is made of a woven brocade imitating Chinese silk.

This is a black brocade Elizabethan with a square necked English/French style bodice.  The forepart (decorative panel on front of the undershirt) sleeves and partlet are of dark red and gold brocade jeweled with amber and dark red crystals.

I made this gown from a wale-less corduroy in an interesting dark grey/brown color which seems to me the color that might have been called 'sadde' or 'rat's color' in the Elizabethan period. I've chosen to go with 'sadde' as the official color of the dress. Not that I have anything against rats.....

This is a detail shot of the trims used on the gown and forepart. You may recognize the tawny and gold brocade forepart and sleeves from the black brocade mix-n-match dress- here's a good look at the black velvet ribbon, gold trim, and freshwater pearls which I used to decorate the set. On the gown you see a brocaded trim with Swarovski crystal beads sewn on as added decoration and the lines of black rayon (silk substitute) braid sewn along side to finish look.


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This page was last updated on 09/22/06.