I just found out about a really exciting new way to feed my addiction to pretty clothes and give me an excuse to wear my dresses to something other then an SCA event, it’s call Dress U they have a fancy dinner party and stuff, it looks awesome and I really hope I can check it out one of these days.
Ok so this is kinda silly but I wanted to show you guys anyway.
I’m ashamed to say that I don’t actually know that much about Henry VIII’s sixth wife (for years I had a bad habit of confusing her with Catherine Howard) but according to some sources, today, November 11th is her birthday (Wikipedia says it was in August but it doesn’t say what day) so I’ve decided to mark the occasion with a post in her honor. Since any and all information that I could share with you would be me coughing up the facts from elsewhere, I’ve just given you some links to those basic facts and I’m going to talk about her clothes because that’s what I do. Sadly there are only two known images of Katharine Parre and one of those was speculated to be Lady Jane Grey but everyone seems to except that it’s Katharine now so I’ll post and make some comments on it.
As the last of Henry’s wives Katharine’s reign saw the end of the low square neckline with large, turn backed, fur-lined sleeves. The photo we have of her in such a dress shows a more dramatic cinching of the waist then some of the earlier images of this style portray. Notice that the sleeves seem to be almost falling off the shoulders? I believe that they must have been prevented from actually falling off by a back line that cuts strait across, looking at the way the trim curves over her shoulder I find myself more sure of this theory.
I wonder if the over gown is a silk velvet or simply a brocade? I suspect the color the artist originally painted must have faded with time but it can be assumed that it’s a silver/gold white color. The under gown and forsleeves are obviously a red and gold brocade, while the turnbacks are ermine or a rabbit fur “faux ermine”, since she was a queen I would not be surprised if they were real for this portrait. Notice how her hair poofs a bit at the temples? You don’t see this as much in earlier images of the Tudor fashions except for in an early image of Queen Elizabeth which is even more dramatic and hints at later fashions to come, I’ll talk about that more in my post about Elizabeth. My favorite thing depicted in this image are her paternosters, which seems to have little skulls on them. Hooray for the morbidity of early fashion!
Guys I saw this in person a few months ago when I went to visit the Cloisters and thought it was hilarious. All of a sudden all of those ridicules prints that you see people in at event’s didn’t seem so ridicules, leave to the Italians right? I just happened upon it again while looking for something else, it would be really great to see about recreating it at some point.
I’ve done it you guys, I’ve convinced my brother to let me make him some 16th century garb to wear to SCA events! He even bought some velvet, I am so excited! I’ve never made 16th century garb for a guy before, hell even doing research on it is new to me, usually I just kinda skim over them. I found all of these images on Wikipedia and I’ve ordered them on here according to our preferences.
I love the artists from the low countries, for some reason they were the only ones who saw fit to make a habit of painting common people! It is because of these artist that I started making reversible sleeves out of fabric remnants, thus allowing myself to vary the looks I could have for a dress, as well as making use of those yard and half yards that are always lying around.
I just found this awesome blog that shows some of that amazing artwork and this girls reconstructions of it. I highly recommend that you check out the rest of her blog as well.
Stayed tuned to hear about my current reconstructions and the plans I have for more, all based off of this artwork.
Now I live in a land far, far away, up in the North where the cold winds blow and there are animals that grow trees out of their heads, animals that grow great long needles out of their back and still others that can tear a man apart. Needless to say this land is not very hospitable to those of gentler pursuits and as such it can be incredibly hard to find the materials that cater to their preferred lifestyle.
In other words, it can be damn hard to find fabric around here and going to New York or the mythical “Caid” (aka California) is very expensive so I do a lot of online (mostly window) shopping and I thought I might share my two favorite sources*.
Silk Velvet: If you’re looking for silk velvet, the %100 is hard to find and “cost kidneys”, the closest you’re going to get within a reasonable price range is going to be a silk rayon blend with (hopefully) about 25/75 percentages, this is my favorite sight for it, they also have cotton velvet if you want something a little more affordable and natural.
Hope you like these and find them useful, happy hunting!
*These sources were introduced to me by my very lovely friend Lady Katheryn Fontayne, hopefully I will be able to link you guys to her one day. I have no idea if she’s got herself a website or anything but she is the master of all things 14th century.