One of the things that was firmed up this past weekend, is the planning for having Henrician/Tudor costuming classes for our Kingdom. You see, our future Queen has plans to step down from their reign in November wearing Henricians, roughly 1530 to 1540. Right up my costuming alley. They will be stepping up in Venetians, which tempted me for awhile, but I have things I need to create/work on before their reign starts in June (like garb for the kids), so while I thought about it, instead I will be finishing up an outfit that has been sitting in its box for some time waiting for the final details.
I won't be teaching Henrician costuming alone (I couldn't do all that traveling down south). It will be a group effort with the Clothiers guild, and with Baroness Ceara, who recently did her own Catherine Parr court gown. Both Baroness Ceara and myself were asked to run this effort, and I am looking forward to doing what I can, which will include more online research information when this gets active.
So, the long term focus for this year is making an Henrician outfit. I had already planned on doing so, the fancy short gown, but for 12th Night next January, not early November. Yes, it is normally plenty of time for me to make such an outfit, but this time I want embroidery, hand sewn embroidery, and that will take lots of time to do up.
[eta: This is the inspiration for the short gown | this is the sleeve inspiration. I plan on wearing my new English bonnet (aka gable).]
Thankfully, I had already been planning this for awhile in my head, and collecting various images and drawings, trying to figure out a pattern that would be interesting, but not too difficult to embroider. I do not want to spend a few years in the embroidery, so as I mentioned before (here), I will be twisting my own cords and couching those into a nice pattern. Hopefully doing that will only take several months.
But one difficulty I was finding is that often, the pretty (and woodcut accurate) period patterns require several cords being used at once. And they often were not continuous, but started and stopped often. But looking at images of Henry VIII and Francois of France, the embroidery usually done on them appears to be one cord doing dips and curves, which is easier to control. And they were repeating motifs. But without repeating those exact patterns, I wasn't finding an interlace that was continuous and only used one cord among the period woodcuts. (sigh).
Then a friend posted a link to this image of Girolamo di Benvenuto, Portrait of a Young Woman, c. 1508. Yes, she is lovely, but what caught my eye was the edge design of the panel, the interlace, and in tracking each design it only uses 2 separate cords, for the most part. And it offers corner designs, which I will have to use on the gown I've got planned. Here's a detailed shot of that interlace pattern.
Yes, the pattern is most likely Italian in origin. But like the period embroidery books, the patterns ended up spreading far and wide, and interlacing itself is a very old art form reaching to the Roman times. And since this pattern seems to fulfill my objectives, I shall be using it - once I work up the pattern tracing, and make up a test sample.
My only concerns is that even with this embroidery the outfit as a short gown may not be "impressive" enough compared to the typical French gown/court Tudor style. I've also got to find an appropriate fabric to use as the kirtle. I did decide that the kirtle will have a train, depending on how much fabric I find. I'm leaning towards making it in a dark orange or golden orange color, which should pop against the teal blue/green of the velvet and silk. The embroidery will be on black silk and applied as a guard along the gown edges, both skirts and sleeves. I may even add pearls, maybe. I've still got some hunting to do, but starting the embroidery will be a big help.