Saturday, April 22, 2017

Brown Fitted Gown (v3.0) "1559 Doesburch Portrait"

Here is the second of my Mix n' Match posts featuring the re-styling of my brown fitted gown.
While I've incorporated several reoccurring elements and accessories from similar images, it's primarily an homage to the 1559 Doesburch family portrait.

I really love how this one turned out!
While I liked the colour palette of my original gown ensemble, I find I'm really enjoying my attempts at reproducing period images and much prefer the final results (and I think this might be my most successful version to date).

Working form the inside out, the outfit consists of a linen, low necked smock...

(Which is looking very wrinkly at the moment...)

...over which are worn my new wool petticoat bodies.

This is followed by a small bum roll...

...and then a black linen petticoat. The petticoat is 180" around and cartridge pleated to a waistband, leaving the front section unpleated. The small, tightly packed pleats additional volume to the hips and the really nice curve when worn under the gown...which you can really see in the finished photos at the bottom of the post.  However (as will all my petticoats) I intend to swap it out for a slightly narrower wool one later.

Then comes a pair of red wool half sleeves, lined in cream linen and bound with black wool tape.

I'm also wearing my small 1.5" ruff which is pinned to a linen partlet (all of which are worn over the petticoat bodies).

I also made a small pair of wrist ruffles, which I had intended to set into ruffs...but it just seemed like more trouble than it was worth for such small sets.
(Read: I am lazy)

Finally, on goes the gown and a black wool partlet lined in black linen.
This was made to replace my original wool partlet which met with a sad end some time ago.  Initially I had wanted to make the partlet out of velvet (as many would be), but thought it might look oddly high status given the fact that all the trim for the gown is wool tape.
So instead I found a happy compromise with a beautiful wool cashmere, which looked very spiffy without being too fancy.  This is actually placed on the gown first (I could never get it on over those sleeves otherwise), which is then slipped on and the partlet pinned at the front.

The headwear (which doesn't quite match the portrait since it's missing those crazy, spiked barbels) consists of a simple coif, worn over ear irons and topped with a rectangular linen veil.

The veil measures 20"x28" of which the first six inches or so are starched, folded to create the desired shape and pinned into place.

And then the only thing left to do is to add some jewelry!  
As in the portrait I opt for a gold chain girdle (with gold filigree pendent) and a pair of rings. Mine are set with red stones to match the sleeves. They aren't prefect period analogs, but they'll work in a pinch.

Finally, a linen cutwork handkerchief edged in lace.  
This doesn't appear in the Doesburch portrait, but it often features in images of similar gowns from the period and it was too pretty not to add!
Mine is a 19th century piece to which I've added reproduction 16th century lace from The Tudor Tailor.

Hopefully I'll be able to get some more pictures soon...but for now I'm dead chuffed with the final look!




  1. Beautiful! All of it!

    Can you tell me more about the ear irons?

    1. Thanks so much!
      The ear irons (or Oorijzer) help hold the coif in place (along with any other linen headwear, such as the veil). They basically provide a base to anchor the linen to and help it keep it's shape. This is what allows the veil to form that nice sharp angle at the ear.

      They are primarily a Dutch item of clothing, though they have been found in the Thames and a pair were recently discovered in Jamestown.

      Check out Margaret George's article on Dutch headwear for some great info! Here is the one for ear irons (and how to make them):

      However, I bought mine from Louise Pass on Etsy:

      Hope that helps!!