Project 7: Anne Boleyn Gown - Part One

The wheels are in motion though we're not at full speed quite yet. I have begun collecting the materials for my Tudor-period gown, and they are growing into the most beautiful pile of cloth in the corner of my apartment. This is where they shall sit until I finish my octopus painting (project number eight), sighing heavily and flashing streaks of brilliant gold trim and black silk my way. It. Is. Torture. Alas, I need that motivation to complete said painting, without which the half-finished canvas may possibly sit tucked behind my easel for years. It wouldn't be the first abandoned painting.

I am surprised the fabric store people don't know me by name at this point, but with numerous trips still planned, there's time. "Here comes Shannon," they will say when they spot me with my scribbled list in tow. "Whatever is she looking for today?" They will then proceed to watch me pace the store, grabbing bolts of fabric, putting them back, pulling out swatches, running to notions, trying to estimate the length left of a divine piece of cloth, pouting when there's not enough, and staring blankly in a fabric-induced trance.

Going to the fabric store is much like going to the library or book store. Rows of bolts lean together like volumes on a shelf, each one calling out to be touched, opened, enjoyed. I get lost. I'll enter with a clear image of a project, only to be side swept into possibilities a, b, and c, into projects nine, ten, and eleven. Oh, I shiver just thinking about it.

Without further ado, I present to you The Plan. Each of the below fabrics are in my possession with the exception of the bottom gold brocade (photo taken with my phone in fluorescent light, eck).

From top to bottom:
  • A delicate black and gold weave will create the flowing trumpet sleeves and french hood. I'm considering sewing pearl details on, but that would be a project unto itself. I do have to occupy myself during an upcoming nine hour drive in August though. We shall see.
  • One inch gold ribbon will trim the neckline, paired with pearls and other trims to be determined.
  • Black dupioni silk will make up the body of the gown...
  • ...Lined with deep cranberry, a nod to royal purple (it's bluer in hue than pictured).
  • Gold brocade will be used for the kirtle and foresleeves. I have it picked out, but will probably not start working on these pieces until September.
I must take a moment to thank Jameson for her utmost patience with my numerous fabric store phone calls. Thank you for answering and listening to my incoherent babbling. Best friend gold stars for you!


    Tudor Clothes

    It's like they read my mind: Tudor Clothes at The Anne Boleyn Files.

    I've been doing quite a bit of research on Tudor dress components in preparation for creating my Anne Boleyn gown, and low and behold the above link traveled to my inbox this morning. This guest article by Bess Chilver outlines the four main components of Tudor dress: smock, petticoat, kirtle, and gown.

    One of the more interesting things I've recently come across were the sumptuary laws, which outlined which furs, fabrics, and colors one could wear by rank. They seem ridiculous by today's standards, but are quite intriguing, especially because Henry VIII took to enforcing them more strictly. It has led me to the possible decision to forgo my original plan of creating a black dress, as Anne is depicted in her portraits, for a purple gown. Purple was reserved for the royal family due to the dye being so expensive to make.

    Below is a chart I came across, though I cannot for the life of me remember where I copied it from (click on the image to view it larger).

    Here is an excerpt from a document from 1574, Enforcing Statutes of Apparel [Greenwich, 15 June 1574, 16 Elizabeth I].
    None shall wear
    Any silk of the color of purple, cloth of gold tissued, nor fur of sables, but only the King, Queen, King's mother, children, brethren, and sisters, uncles and aunts; and except dukes, marquises, and earls, who may wear the same in doublets, jerkins, linings of cloaks, gowns, and hose; and those of the Garter, purple in mantles only.
    Any cloth of gold, tissue, nor fur of sables: except duchesses, marquises, and countesses in their gowns, kirtles, partlets, and sleeves; cloth of gold, silver, tinseled satin, silk, or cloth mixed or embroidered with gold or silver or pearl, saving silk mixed with gold or silver in linings of cowls, partlets, and sleeves: except all degrees above viscountesses, and viscountesses, baronesses, and other personages of like degrees in their kirtles and sleeves.

    Velvet (crimson, carnation); furs (black genets, lucerns); embroidery or passment lace of gold or silver: except all degrees above mentioned, the wives of knights of the Garter and of the Privy Council, the ladies and gentlewomen of the privy chamber and bedchamber, and maids of honor.

    None shall wear any velvet in gowns, furs of leopards, embroidery of silk: except the degrees and persons above mentioned, the wives of barons' sons, or of knights.

    Cowls, sleeves, partlets, and linings, trimmed with spangles or pearls of gold, silver, or pearl; cowls of gold or silver, or of silk mixed with gold or silver: except the degrees and persons above mentioned; and trimmed with pearl, none under the degree of baroness or like degrees.

    Enameled chains, buttons, aglets, and borders: except the degrees before mentioned.

    Satin, damask, or tufted taffeta in gowns, kirtles, or velvet in kirtles; fur whereof the kind groweth not within the Queen's dominions, except foins, grey genets, bodge, and wolf: except the degrees and persons above mentioned, or the wives of those that may dispend £100 by the year and so valued in the subsidy book.

    Gowns of silk grosgrain, doubled sarcenet, camlet, or taffeta, or kirtles of satin or damask: except the degrees and persons above mentioned, and the wives of the sons and heirs of knights, and the daughters of knights, and of such as may dispend 300 marks by the year so valued ut supra, and the wives of those that may dispend £40 by the year.

    Gentlewomen attendant upon duchesses, marquises, countesses may wear, in their liveries given them by their mistresses, as the wives of those that may dispend £100 by the year and are so valued ut supra.

    None shall wear any velvet, tufted taffeta, satin, or any gold or silver in their petticoats: except wives of barons, knights of the order, or councilors' ladies, and gentlewomen of the privy chamber and bed chamber, and the maids of honor.

    Damask, taffeta, or other silk in their petticoats: except knights' daughters and such as be matched with them in the former article, who shall not wear a guard of any silk upon their petticoats.

    Velvet, tufted taffeta, satin, nor any gold or silver in any cloak or safeguard: except the wives of barons, knights of the order, or councilor's ladies and gentlewomen of the privy chamber and bedchamber, and maids of honor, and the degrees above them.

    Damask, taffeta, or other silk in any cloak or safeguard: except knights' wives, and the degrees and persons above mentioned.

    No persons under the degrees above specified shall wear any guard or welt of silk upon any petticoat, cloak, or safeguard.
    Enjoy and rejoice that you can wear whatever fabric or color that suits your fancy!


    Project 6: Riverfest Banner

    This year, projects have been predominantly beading-based, which is unusual for me, so it was nice to spend some time with my sewing machine creating a banner for the annual gathering on the Rio Pine: Riverfest. Bright colors, flowing fabrics, and hints of fun stitching made it the perfect backdrop for this year's festival.

    The banner is monstrous in size with two and a half feet tall letters stretching from one end of my living room all the way in to the kitchen. It was a successful lesson in reuse as well; old curtains, table clothes, and scraps from previous projects became something new and wonderful. You must love it when that happens.

    Now, a few weekend highlights:
    Jameson and I created a whimsical clam cake to commemorate
    the Biggest Clam Contest, complete with graham cracker sand
    and chocolate Goldfish crackers. Doesn't it look like a muppet?

    Patchwork, a West Michigan based bluegrass band,
    provided a musical backdrop for plenty of dancing.

    My 88 year old grandma looks serene while
    enjoying the music with a tall glass of beer.

    Warming up for the hula hooping contest. After 42
    grueling minutes, I was crowned champion. Yes!

    A classic Schwinn collection took 20 riders
    on the always popular, ten mile midnight bike ride.

    A devastatingly handsome rider crosses the
    artfully lit Tridge. Mike, previously referred on
    to on Rosewood Buttons as "the boyfriend,"
    was also the weekend's bocce ball champion.

    The Tridge at midnight.

    Yes, another Riverfest has come to an end, and a content exhaustion has settled in. A special hello to all the family and friends that are Rosewood Buttons readers.  I had no idea! Please drop a comment from time to time.

    Happy Riverfest!


    Yards and yards and yards...

    It's official. Today while grabbing some back up thread for a sewing project I'm working on (soon to be Project 6), I hopped over to the pattern books and picked up Simplicity 2589 (to the right). Yes, I shall finally create my Anne Boleyn gown, finishing in time for Halloween.

    I love Halloween, so much so that I have already been talking about what I wanted to be for about two months. Each year, it's a labor of love, slaving over a costume, always making it twice as complicated as necessary, and always without any idea of what I'll actually be doing on October 31 (last year I saw Jack the Ripper the ballet while dressed as the Mad Hatter. It was truly fabulous). I love dressing up, and I love twirling around in yards and yards and yards of fabric. The pattern calls for 8.5 just for the base of the gown (as seen as red in the photo). Yes!

    So now the decisions and research begin. Shall I base the dress off of Anne's portraits? Do I go for accurate fabrics? Do I make the undersleeves with elastic like the patterns calls? Hrm, I just don't know quite yet.

    Helpful link: Tudor dress: a portfolio of images
    Great video: Tudor Costume: Anne Boleyn