This was by far the longest portion of my time spent on the project.
Totaling about 60 hours of work, almost all of it by hand. I'm proud of what I was able to turn out in suck s short period of time, but there are a ton of things i need to fix and add for me to feel comfortable wearing it for event.
1. the sleeves are slightly too wide, and very much too long. Since I haven't lined them- to do future embroidery, it shouldn't be too hard to make these adjustments, just a lot more hand sewing.
2. I need to add embroidery to the sleeves, and trim- probably velvet- to the bodice and maybe skirt. It's a beautiful silk, but the painting looks like there was definitely a brocade going on, and honestly it's just a bit too plain for my tastes.
3. I think I will take in the hem before wearing to an event. At least in the front. I know in period, having a hem past the feet was normal, you could just tuck it into a belt or pick it up over your arm, but I'd like a slightly higher level of comfort.
All that being said, here is my Clothing Challenge write up.
*All the paintings referenced here should be in my first blog post about the challenge.
1490’s Spanish/ Italian- Milanese style Gamurra
I modeled my entire outfit off of a painting entitled “ Mencia Mendoza with Saint Dominic” which is roughly dated to 1490(s). When researching this painting I hit a ton of snags so some suppositions were made. Per the biographical information on Mencia Mendoza she was Spanish with heavy Milanese influence. So, because of that, and the fact that the gamurra layer is not heavily visible in the painting I sources comparative works for that region and time period.
“Bianca Maria Sforza” by Ambrogio de Prendis 1493
“La Belle Ferroniere” Leonardo da Vinci 1490
“Lady with an Ermine” Leonardo da Vinci 1490
“Detail from the Pala Sforzesca” unknown 1494
I created my own pattern using some input and research from online sources. In particular, for bodice construction the paper “15th C clothing for men and women” by THL Peryn Rose Whytehorse, Barony of the South Downs, February 2015.
The gamurra layer is composed of a layer of canvas, with boning inserted in an attached linen buckram backing. Then covered in an additional canvas front. This is covered in a 100% yellow silk taffeta. I debated between the more historically accurate cording vs. boning, but time constraints won out and I used synthetic whalebone.
The bodice is fitted with 7 bones in the front and 5 in the back.
I then started on the skirt, with is 7 yard of the silk taffeta, lined with a thin bleached muslin. Because of the weight of the skirt I opted not to used the heavier weight linen I had. I also attached a twill tape the the top of the lining and felled the silk on top of that so I would have more stability when attaching the skirt to the bodice.
The panels of skirt were then cartridge pleated and whip stitched to the bodice.
This layer was 90% hand sewn. The only machine process was sewing the skirt panels together.
The sleeves are a linen burlap covered in the yellow silk taffeta., they are deliberately not lined with silk, as I plan to embroider them at a later date.
The lacing rings on both the bodice and the sleeve are 15c reproduction, and are hand sew on with a 3 strand embroidery floss.
I then made 18 fingerloop braids- 2 for the bodice lacing and 8 per sleeve, using 6 strand embroidery floss. I purchased aglets for the points, and sewed them onto each braid.
The sleeve cuffs are a layer of linen canvas covered in silk taffeta and have a 4mm yellow gold cording sewn in, to match the cuffs from the painting. The cuffs are attached separately to the finished sleeves.
In retrospect, I will probably go back and do hook and eye for the cuffs. And will probably shorten the sleeves overall by 2-3 inches. There is just slightly too much bunching in the forearm.