My plan for the first several challenges has been to make costume pieces I can also use for the faire I take part in every spring. I was a bit at a loss as to how to cover “innovation” and my fellow costumer Kami suggest bobbin lace. It was introduced in the 16th century, and is therefore perfect for the time of my show.
The making of bobbin lace was easier to learn than the elaborate cutwork of the 16th century, and the tools and materials for making linen bobbin lace were inexpensive. There was a ready market for bobbin lace of all qualities, and women throughout Europe soon took up the craft which earned a better income than spinning, sewing, weaving or other home-based textile arts. Bobbin lace-making was established in charity schools, almshouse, and convents."
"The earliest unmistakable documentation of bobbin lace is the pattern book of LePompe, published in 1559."
I used Simplicity 3623 up to a point. Once the base of the chemise was put together, I hated the gathers at the shoulders, so I pulled them out and changed them to pleats. I also took some of the puff out of the sleeves and deepened the cuffs almost to the elbows. The pattern instructions say the facing of the neckline flips to the outside of the chemise, which I did not like in the least. So I did the facing on the inside and altered the shape of the neck a bit.
The cuffs involve the most departure from history. I wanted buttons, but couldn’t find any I liked. So I decided to make fabric covered buttons for the first time. Modern fabric covered button kits are not terribly historical, but I loved the look of them. And of course, most pieces I make have to accommodate my fighting. I needed the cuffs to have some give, and not risk ripping out thread or fabric loops every time I swing a sword or throw a punch. Hence the use of elastic loops around the buttons.
The Challenge: Innovation
Fabric: White cotton/linen blend
Pattern: Simplicity 3623, with alterations
Notions: Vintage black bobbin lace, fabric covered buttons, and elastic cord
How historically accurate is it? I took some liberties with the buttons and elastic, plus there are some overlocked seams on the inside.
Hours to complete: Already realizing I’m terrible at keeping track.
First worn: Not yet
Total cost: $30-40
Lace around the neckline
Lace trimmed cuffs with covered buttons and (unfortunately) elastic loops
I really love my cuffs