Last on my agenda for the German Renaissance Cranach gown costume was sleeves. I had very little time to work on these, and was considering them to be mostly optional…
Although none of the portraits showed a woman in shift-sleeves, I have seen many people at SCA events forgo the tie-on sleeves, especially in warm weather or indoor events. Still… I thought they’d be a higher priority as I was making this specifically for a court event, and thought sleeves would be a higher priority for the Cranach gown than the guards or the hem.
Despite my costuming experience, I even struggled with these… I wanted the two-part sleeves from my main reference portrait, with a snug upper sleeve and a lower sleeve with a point that drapes over the hand…
I started off with the draft from my green silk Italian Renaissance costume, referencing the marks and measurements from my red and gold striped gown (I couldn’t use that pattern as my arm measurements have changed in between). I marked the split between the upper and lower sleeves, and took in the lower sleeve a bit more because I wanted a very snug fit. I also added in the drape – but this ended up not really working when I cut out the pattern and taped it together again.
I cut the sleeve (just one, not both) out of my toile fabric (that same yellow linen-look synthetic that I got for free from my mum) and tested it out.. the upper sleeve worked – the lower sleeve didn’t. I adjusted my pattern and re-cut the lower sleeve… it still didn’t lay the way that I wanted it to.
I ended up completely redrafting the lower sleeve, and mocked it up as well. Success!
You’ll notice that the lower sleeve kind of has the shaping at the top like an upper sleeve – with a raised part and a lower part – the raised part goes behind the elbow, and the lower part goes inside the elbow.
However I didn’t get the drape, and couldn’t quite work out how to get it. I decided to skip that in the efforts of time, and instead made up a ¾ circle cuff flounce instead to mimic the flared cuffs seen in other portraits, though this was actually too much flare. I DID go ahead with this, but it’s something I’ll want to replace.
I sewed up the upper sleeve in black wool, the lower sleeve in black wool, and the cuff in silk damask. I bound all of the raw edges with silk damask bias. I should have hand-finished the bias… but again – time was of the essence here, as I was working on this Friday night before the event.
At the event in the morning, I used thin crochet cotton to “lace” the lower and upper sleeves together, and laced the upper sleeves to the bodice. The end result LOOKS really good I think, but there are still things I want to do to replace parts or improve the overall costume.
the next things I’ll want to do is replace the lower sleeves (again!) to get a better cuff (perhaps finally figure out the drape!) and add lacing holes into the shoulder of the upper sleeves (and the bodice) and lacing holes to lace the upper sleeves to the lower sleeves. The crochet cotton works just fine, but isn’t a long-term solution.
If you’re reading this post when it’s posted… I’ll have the final wrap-up for my German Cranach Gown costume in a few days. Please come check out what I’m making next on my Instagram feed, or come follow me on Facebook, and you’ll get up-to-date posts about all of my new costume, sewing, and crafting projects.
To see each part of this costume, click the “Cranach Gown” tag to see all of the posts related to this gown, or the German Late period category to see all posts about late period German garb, including the accessories I made to go along with this outfit.
The next vital item for my Cranach Gown costume was the skirt – kind of hard to have a gown without a skirt – right? I DID consider momentarily taking a heavy wool-like winter full skirt that I have in my mundane wardrobe to substitute in if I absolutely had to.. though I knew it wouldn’t really hang correctly or be long enough. Still… it was in the back of my mind with two evenings left to complete this costume.
So, with less than a week to go, I had to re-start the bodice for my Cranach Gown.
This made a few factors really important to me:
- I needed to have fast construction methods – very little hand-sewing except where it was absolutely necessary.
- I was going to have to skip some of the extra steps. I anticipated not having the (rather lengthy) hem done, and I didn’t think I’d have time for the guards on the skirt. I also wasn’t sure if I’d be able to have sleeves for this event and considered either going with no sleeves (just using the chemise sleeves) or re-using the sleeves from either my red and gold or green Italian gowns.
- I was willing to sacrifice some of the historically-informed choices in favour of “fast” – especially with items that could be upgraded later. For instance, if I did make sleeves, I was willing to just lace them on through the fabric rather than instilling eyelets, and I was willing to have them go unlined.
I also needed to consider that between all my activities during the day, I’d need to get dressed reasonably quickly.
If you read my previous post about the bodice for my Cranach gown, (version 1) you’ll know that on Sunday the 14th I knew that the bodice as I had it was not going to work for the event on the following Saturday. I had two choices – try to make the bodice as-is work, or start again from scratch. Given the amount of work needed to undo what I had done and re-do parts of it, and the fact that I did have enough material (or so I thought.. LOL) I thought it would be better to start again.