c. 1610s-1620s Ensemble

Jacket representing the style fashionable at the very start of the 17th century, to be sewn by hand of linen or wool (yet to be determined!) Petticoat likely to be linen or wool as well. The rest of the details of this ensemble = TBD!
Dress Diary
My Dad gave me an Amazon gift card for Christmas, and I’ve been hanging on to it, waiting to find something special I really wanted. At long last, I decided to spring for the Victoria & Albert’s “Seventeenth-Century Women's Dress Patterns: Book 1.” I don’t seem to have a lot of reference material going back further than 18th century on my shelves, which is a sad negligence on my part, so here is my attempt to begin to rectify it.

All I can say about this book is. . . OMG! OMG! OMG! This book should be the standard for all future costuming books. If this turns out to be part of a series that they will continue to expand on, I will lose my mind! Each item in the book is shown from every possible angle in beautiful color pictures, with detail pictures, there’s a scaled pattern, and then pages of (illustrated, even!) construction details. And as if this weren’t enough, there are also patterns for making the trimmings, for crying out loud! Amazing! And, before we even get to the patterns, there is a whole section on period tools and techniques, including a guide to how to do the stitches used in this era. This book is a diamond among costuming books!

But wait, wasn’t this a “dress diary?” Why are we doing a book review? Ha ha ha. . . Well, this book was the final straw and I decided I MUST have a 17th century "something!" (I also used the rest of my gift card and then some ordering Book 2 in the series as well as 4th book in the Janet Arnold "Patterns of Fashion" series, which is - you guessed it - 17th century!)

Of course, my favorite thing in the book is the “Embroidered Linen Waistcoat” that has been made famous by the jaw-dropping, stunning, AMAZING reproduction of it made by Plimoth Plantation and an army of volunteer embroiderers. I also really love the very next jacket in the book, which also has profuse surface decoration, as well as some adorable silk ribbons down the front. But, before I go crazy and spend all kinds of time embroidering the entire surface of a garment, I figure it would be sensible to start with something a little less intense, for my first forray into this era! So, my current plan is to make a jacket similar in shape to these two I love, but perhaps in a solid color linen, or even a wool. The jury is out on whether my jacket will end up adorned with silk ribbons down the front. . . And while I am FOR SURE going to take a crack at some of the bobbin lace patterns in this book, I think probably this is not the project to incorporate that into! So for now, very simple, clean lines is what I’m aiming for. . . Something along the lines of this:
Sketch of the jacket
Okay, so the ribbons down the front snuck their way into my illustration. . . I so love them! Just not sure how they'll work out on a less elaborate jacket. We shall see!

Meanwhile, I'm having a ball browsing through other costuming books on my shelf and all kinds of inspiring images online, and trying to work out such details as colors, accessories (a cap and something at the neck, for sure!), and most importantly, what I'll need for undergarments, since of course, an appropriate foundation is critical! Book 1 does have some underthings, as well as a fabulous embroidered cap/head cloth, but the two books I've just ordered will likely have even more, so I'll wait to decide just what I'll make for my ensemble. . .
In an attempt to be thrift and stash bush, I went shopping within my own stash for some fabrics for this ensemble. This is what I came up with:
Apricot & brown linen
The thing is, I'm not sure I'm feeling that apricot color. I don't feel confidant that it's plausible for this era, (although, it's almost exactly the color of the lining of that first embroidered jacket in "Seventeenth-Century Women's Dress Pattern," which is described as coral pink, but is silk. . .) Also, I'm not sure I'm feeling linen. Right now, I'm daydreaming about a gray or scarlet wool jacket. . . I might have to go fabric shopping for this project after all!
This page © 2014 by Jennifer E. Lithgow