Introduction and Day 1- Ellynor Redpath, 1570’s English Gown

The gown I will be working on for this challenge is based off the above painting, “Death and the maiden” from 1570. I changed the colors, but otherwise will be recreating it as closely as possible. I will be starting with the underpinnings from the period- a shift, farthingale, pair of bodys, and petticoat. These are all from my existing wardrobe, and stitched by hand with the exception of the shift.

The next think to tackle will be the white linen around her neckline. If we zoom in, we can see three separate pieces. It appears she is wearing a shift, partlet, and detached ruff. This means that the next step would be the partlet.

The ruff will be added at the end, but the next step is to start to build the silhouette of the gown itself.

Looking at the painting, the split in the skirt and the undersleeves are different colors. This implies that at least one of them is pinned on. Because silk brocade is expensive, I decided to make both of them pin ons. This was not uncommon in period, as a way to use a plain silk or wool kirtle as then underdress, with finer sleeves and a triangle “forepart” are the only parts that showed to the public. My kirtle will be a plain navy satin, with a decorated top edge.

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6 Responses to Introduction and Day 1- Ellynor Redpath, 1570’s English Gown

  1. Fionna Goodburne MacNicol says:

    Hi Ellynor! I am Fionna, one of the judges. Your project is ambitious and I love the inspiration painting. I am curious about your choice of using bodys for a gown of this decade. The current school of thought suggests the kirtle is the supportive layer. I look forward to seeing the rationale behind your choices. This will be a lovely ensemble.

  2. Beatrice Domenici della Campana says:

    Hello, Ellynor! I’m Beatrice, and I’m one of the judges for your group!

    I’m a bit unclear on your overall plans here–are you making two gowns (a satin under-kirtle and an overgown in something else)? Or is the blue satin that you’re calling a kirtle being used for your overgown (what is in the painting as red with gold trim)?

    I’d also be interested in seeing some closer photos of your stays/bodies and other underpinnings (and maybe some details on how they’re constructed, what materials you used, etc.), as well as a photo of them on you without a gown over the top, to see how they fit and sit on you. Do you also have a bumroll? I don’t see one in the photos, or in your description, so I’m wondering if this is an oversight or an intentional omission?

    I’m looking forward to seeing your progress!

    • Ellynor Redpath says:

      Hi Beatrice,

      I am working from the skin out, so this is the under gown (hidden in the painting, but it’s what the silver undersleeves and orange forepart would be anchored to)

      The overgown will be gold velvet, and will likely make an appearance this weekend.

      While a bum roll would be common with a gown like this, I tend to not wear one due to my natural body shape.

      I can definitely do a post on the undergarments within the next week.

  3. Fortune St Keyne says:

    Can’t wait to see this come to life!

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