While sewing up the drab grey-green wool underdress, I also cut out and sewed up another in the “dried herb” lightweight linen from fabrics-store.com. This is the same measurement/pattern as the dark green wool underdress I made a while back, because it’s fitting and feeling very nice. I wanted another in wool, but with spring approaching, I figured one in linen would also be very practical! It seems like I’ve been doing a lot in green lately!
In March I had to do a huge clean-up in my sewing space, and part of that was finding homes for some of the beautiful fabric yardage I’ve acquired since the last time I did a big clean-up and put-away. Of course, cleaning up means that I’m fondling all of those fabrics… and that always inspires me to start sewing again!
I bought some gorgeous dark silver/pewter dupioni silk not too long ago – but I bought all there was… which meant I had to REALLY be careful about how I cut out the pattern pieces to make this underdress. I also bought some lighter silver silk at the same time… but I REALLY wanted to use this darker silk!
In this post I’ll show what I did to make my Gamurra- the undergown. If you’re reading this after the fact, go back a post to see my inspiration, or click the 1480s Florence tag to see all of the posts about this costume.
My very first start was taking the Tudor Tailor’s early Tudor Ladies Kirtles bodice pattern, moving the seams, adding more width to the bust, and doing some minor pattern alterations to get a more Italian-looking pattern. I cut this out of an old striped bedsheet, and used my lacing strips (from corset-making) to put it on. With some help from my housemate and my mirror (and stretching the limits of my flexibility… ) I pinned and altered the bodice as I was wearing it. Then I transferred those recommended alterations to my pattern.
Next, I made up my “I hope this can be my lining otherwise it’s my mockup” to play with the cording I used two layers of 5.3 oz/yd2 100% linen in “Biking Red” from Fabrics-store.com (Leftovers from my Red Apron Dress) cut well beyond my pattern. I was really impressed with Jen Thompson‘s corded bodice, and the smoother line she was able to accomplish, so I wanted to give this a try too, but I knew that cording it would “shrink” it a little bit.
I marked where I thought channels should go (based on shaping and some experience with corsetry – but notably NO research into what might have actually been done in period – if this was even a period technique!) From there I stitched the channels on all four pieces (front left, front right, back left, back right). In hindsight I should have done less close to the side-seam, as I had to make an adjustment there – the panels didn’t shrink as much as I had thought they would once corded.
This is the undergown, but is also worn just as the gown itself. (Ei, the Giornea isn’t necessary.) I’m repeating some of my research here just to keep it all on the same page.
In The Birth of Mary portrait (detail), the underdress has a (slightly above natural) waist seam, pleated or gathered (?) skirt attached a the waist (the image is unclear). The bodice laces closed with ladder-lacing (black cord) in close, close, far, close, close pattern. The bodice appears to only have side seams, and there is a wide v-neck/opening where the bodice laces. The neckline seems low, wide, and exposes the darker coloured fabric beneath it. In the large detail, it looks as though the sleeves are a different colour, but looking at a different photo of this – they’re the same fabric. Continue reading