Short-notice German garb

For an event in mid-January, I am hoping to make a German costume to celebrate the elevation of the new Baron & Baroness of Montengarde….

On October 29, 2016 the King and Queen of (SCA) Avacal announced the heirs to the thrones of the Baron and Baroness of Montengarde (mundanely Calgary, Alberta, Canada – where I live). The heirs both have later-period German personas. After the elevation of Caterina the following weekend (November 5) where many of her friends and acquaintances made later-period Italian costumes to accompany Caterina in her procession, the future Baroness asked if we would consider making slight adjustments to our Italian garb to make it more German for the event where they would be invested as Baron & Baroness.

That event…. is in mid-January.

… and while many of the “Caterina Procession Crew” did costumes that would convert to German with relative ease – several of us did not…. including me.

… BUT.. I have been thinking of trying a German costume, and have already made the most important part – the hat!  (The platter hat and gold cap)

So, I’ll be starting this with some of my inspiration… I won’t have time to do a LOT of research, but I’ll go from mostly pictorial evidence, distill my ideas through Pinterest (which is typical these days…)  and go from there… hopefully with enough time to actually make something in time for the elevation – where I’ll also be hosting a tournament to find my successor as the Arts & Science Champion of the Barony.

Determining style…

There seem to be two main styles for later-period German garb. I don’t know too much about either one of them yet… though I suspect through my bits-and-pieces of research I’ll find out more about them.

Cranach- Style Landsknecht-Style

Direct link from Pinterest

Direct link from Pinterest

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Direct link from Pinterest

While our next Baron & Baroness have Landsknecht-styles of dress, I actually am far more attracted to the Cranach style. It would appear that the platter-hat and goldhaube that I have already made will work stylistically with both, which saves me a bit of time as well.

There are other styles too, though these seem the most common in terms of finding portraits and dress diaries…

Portrait examples

The first set of examples I find very attractive, though I am concerned about the neckline. While it’s possible that the high-necked example might be an over-garment, I suspect based on the waist – where it appears to be seamed with the skirt in the first example… that it is not an over-garment, though other elements of the dress (centre front, sleeves, skirt) seem similar to the next set of examples.

The neckline is very attractive, but what concerns me is drafting it with the short notice I have, and the chance of it going “wrong” without much time for adjustments.

Direct link from Pinterest

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The portrait above has a platter hat, the gold cap, and two necklaces. She has the high-collar neckline. The bust has a gold neckline, probably slashed. The lower bodice is white with black ladder lacing.The skirt appears possibly to be pleated, with what I would guess is 1-2″ pleats. The portrait above has the platter hat, goldhaube, high neckline, necklaces, and white lower bodice. The bust is gold with embroidery, and the lacing is spiral. The pleating/gathering of the skirt is not visible, but it is similarly full.

The sleeves in all of these portraits appear to be sewn to the dress.

The woman in this portrait seems to be a composite of the two before. She has just the goldhaube, two necklaces, high collar, gold bust, spiral laced lower edges, and the skirt is very full, hanging in ‘rolls’ – which could indicate rolled pleats, but I think is also a trait common to this artist. The skirt has three contrasting bands, in graduated sizes, placed equally distant from one another.

The next set of portraits show a lot of “slightly off the shoulder” ..erm.. shoulders. I find these REALLY annoying to wear – and they’re tricky because they really need to have a very fitted bodice to stay in place without slipping around too much.

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Direct link from Pinterest

While the three gowns shown here are all somewhat different, they also have some common elements. At least two of the three have pleated / full underskirts/petticoats. The dresses have full skirts but the trim on them is different. Two are shown with a contrasting lining, and two bands of greatly different widths in a further contrasting fabric. The third is ‘striped’ with a scalloped hem band treatment. The bodices have the same white body with spiral black lacing, and gold bust areas. The sides of the bodice are also gold, going up over the dropped shoulders. The sleeves are all different, including one with a Tudor-like bag-style sleeve. This gown is a bit different, being black instead of red like most of them seemed to be. The sleeves appear to be attached, and the bust is gold, with the stomach white, with black spiral lacing. The bust and gown are embellished with lots and lots of pearls. This portrait shows the same full (pleated? rolled?) skirt, white body, gold bust, and gold sides going up to the dropped shoulders. The lacing is ladder-lacing, and the sleeves are very elaborate. The fabric of the red dress appears to be velvet, while the gold is likely brocade. The placement of the design doesn’t suggest it’s embroidered.

The sleeves in all of these portraits appear to be sewn to the dress.

Direct link from Pinterest

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This gown has many similar elements – the slightly off the shoulder neckline, the skirt with pleats and bands of colour, and sleeves that appear to be sewn into the bodice.
The skirt bands however are much different in proportion and there is additional applique (?) work. The sleeves also have gaps at the elbow which I think are neat, and the lacing over the stomach is tan instead of black. The gold bust is also a different colour/fabric from the gold of the rest of the dress, and appears to be beaded. The remaining gold appears to be embroidered rather than brocade, because the design fits within the shape of the pieces.
This portrait appears to show a bodice with attached sleeves, the gold of the bust is different than the rest of the gold of the gown and differently embellished (beaded?)  as well. The bust area seems much longer, and the skirt appears to be knife pleated rather than the round pleats shown in other portraits.

The next two paintings shows shoulders much closer in… but some details that differ from the other images above – lace on sleeves for instance, which is repeated in the third image.

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This painting is somewhat different from a bunch of the others… firstly the lower part of the bodice is red instead of white. (with spiral lacing) The near lower sleeve has a similar cuff shape to some of the other paintings, but is less elaborate, and a different colour.  The far sleeve is gold but appears to be the same style. Like the Italian costumes I’ve done previously, the sleeves are laced onto the bodice of the dress rather than being sewn on like the earlier examples. The skirt seems very smooth in the front, with fullness (pleating?) in the back. However, the skirt is still very full, which makes me think it’s perhaps gored or a circle skirt. The gold part on the bust appears to be embroidered with initials, while sleeves and the side parts of the bodice that go up into the shoulders appear to be brocade. This expanded version of the same painting shows the skirt more.  Again, the green skirt is not pleated like the red one shown alongside it and the earlier examples.  However, it has the same pleated underskirt which is a different colour. The hem has three bands in the same fabric as the other gold brocade. The bottom band is wide, while the other two bands appear to be two different smaller widths and placed differently apart. This painting has similar elements to the other paintings above… the shoulders are slightly off-the-shoulder, the stomach area of the bodice is white with spiral lacing, and the bust is gold along with the front of the bodice going over the shoulders. The skirt is likely gored or circle, because the pleating/etc is not obvious. BUT… unlike the paintings above and like the ones to the left, the sleeves are two-part and laced on.

Also relevant

When I come to make this, I thought images from the back would also be helpful.

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This shows a square back neckline, but also very, very low. The skirt is again pleated to the bodice. I’d note the two longer necklaces as well though… necklaces just don’t hang that way. They’d easily fall off her shoulder – SO.. either artist’s interpretation (wanting to show off three necklaces rather than having them all bundled at the back of her neck) OR perhaps those necklaces are actually trim on a nearly-sheer undergarment? This image also shows a square back neck… and although the image is small, it DOES appear that the lower “necklace” is actually a reddish/orange trim on a white chemise. This image shows the large hat, the gold cap, the lace-on sleeves as in the above examples, and a neckline trimmed in gold brocade. The skirt is pleated on, though the kind of pleats are indistinct. The neckline at the back is VERY low – in my opinion, impractically low, unless the bodice is extremely (corset-like) tight… and even then, I feel like this is an exaggeration.

Common themes

In addition to the common themes mentioned above (bands on the skirt, attachment of the sleeves, gold bust, lacing over the stomach) there are a few other common themes worth noting – most obviously…. colour.

Colour

In a review of the images above, as well as other images from this time/place, the far-and-beyond leading colour combination seems to be various shades of red, from bright red to dull, brownish red, and gold.

However, I have also seen green and gold, black and gold, ivory and black, green and red (but still with a golden bust), black and orange/red (still with the golden bust), brown and gold, gold with dark green or black, orange and green (with the golden bust), and navy blue and gold. This suggests to me that to get the most commonly associated look, I should attempt red and gold… though there are other acceptable colour combinations – as long as the bust is gold.

Fabric

Looks like velvet to me! Direct link from Pinterest

Looks like velvet to me! Direct link from Pinterest

Beyond colour, another common theme seems to be velvet & brocade. The main dresses appear mostly to be velvet (again, in red, but occasionally green). However, none of the ‘gold’ areas have the same sheen/texture as the velvet, and they all seem to have a texture/print that suggests brocade. Some are embroidered or beaded, while others clearly are a fabric that was designed before cutting.

I’ll need to look through my fabric stash to see what I have that might work for both of these main fabrics! My plan is to only use fabric I already have – not to buy new fabric for this project.  I have a LOT of fabric (although not a lot of velvet), and very little money right now.

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One comment on “Short-notice German garb

  1. […] my previous post, Short-notice German garb, I showed a number of paintings that were helping me decide on what direction I wanted to pursue […]

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