Sunday, September 15, 2013

HSF #18: Re-make, Re-use, Re-fashion

My first real Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge of the year! For challenge #18, I decided to re-make my Filippo Lippi quasi-medieval tunic. When I made the dress, it took about three hours start to finish--it wasn't perfect but acceptable for the time limit. There were some issues with the sleeves. The armscye was far too down my arm, and my sleeves were too baggy on my forearm and too tight on my upper arm. There was too much fullness in the bodice under my arm, too. I purposefully made the sleeves long, but they were far too long for everyday functioning!

Quite possibly the worst sleeves I've ever made--but then again, this was quickly whipped up more than a year ago.
Look at all that fullness in the bodice! It made me look round all over.
The armscye was too narrow for the sleeve cap, causing strange puckering.
First, I removed the sleeves entirely, and cut a shallower curve at the top of the sleeve. I removed almost two inches from the shoulder of the bodice, and took in the side seams above the waistband. I narrowed the forearms of the sleeves just a tad, and then added a few inches of ruching to keep the sleeve gracefully out of my way.

This was a great choice for re-making because to me, it's just such a versatile piece. In terms of a costume, it's historically ambiguous, and I could get away with a lot: a ghost, a girl from Pre-Raphealite art, Game of Thrones/Fantasy, biblical, antiquity, and my favorite, a saint! 

The effect of the sleeve ruching.
YES! Look at that sleeve! Still not perfect, but much better!
Ack! My dress is a bit twisted...where's a lady's maid when you need one?
Just the facts:
Fabric: Cotton/Poly sheet with damask motif
Pattern: None
Year: Based on paintings from the early 15th century depicting biblical events, so a bit historically ambiguous.
Notions: Thread
How historically accurate?: At best, 25%. Points lost for the poly/cotton sheet, the machine stitching, the poly thread. The design itself is based off paintings of the early 15th century depicting biblical events, so it's a 15th century interpretation of biblical dress.
Hours to complete: About 3
First worn: For a project in Spring 2012, but now it will hopefully worn to an upcoming Medieval Fair at the Cloisters (NY).
Total cost: Free!


  1. I dig it a lot!! I may make a mini version for my 5 month old..well ask my mother in law to do it at least! LOVE IT!

    1. This was super easy to make...I just sewed up a tube that was about a foot longer than my height, pleated the fullness at the empire waist and shoulder seam, added sleeves and a neckline binding! I wear an elastic "belt" at the waist to create that pouf!