Posted by: IsabelleMontfort on Apr 03, 2011
So this is my latest creation. It is a purple houppelande trimed and lined in "fur". The purple is a synthetic velvetine, and the fur is fake mink, which I am assuming is acrylic. This thing is very heavy, and very warm. This houpe does have a waist seam, like my perivious houpe (due to the amount of fabric I had to work with and lack of $$$ to purchase more), which is hidden by the belt. The font opens to a little lower than my natural waist. Much of the lining on the inside is both black and brown of the fake mink. The front of the gown trails on the floor about 4 inches, and the back is about 18in. If it was not for the angel sleeves this dress would be very simular in apearance to a Burdundian gown. The gown is hand sewn, except for the trim on the sleeves (which is actually a shorter "fur" of a simular pattern to the rest since I ran out of the other. I was told it looked like I shaved the fur, so as to make it easier to be kept clean) since the fabric was too heavy for my sewing machine to handle, it took me several months to complete.
The belt is a wide stiff woven material (synthetic) which is fastened with 2 metal D rings. The headdress is a stuffed rolled hat. The rolled part is some srap fabric, stuffed with batting from an old blanket. Then it was was covered in a white satin (rayon/cotton blend) then I glued a few "gems" onto the front and wrapped some spare ribbons around it. The hand crocheted snood was a gift which I lined with the same satin on the rolled had, which was threaded with a satin ribbon to tighten it. The veil is a semi-sheer poly/cotton blend, which at this moment has raw edges. The green underdress will be discussed in another blog post.
This dress was very time consuming, I had tried to use my machine on the garment, but after breaking 3 heavy duty needles on the first seam I gave it up and took out my hand needles. I wish It was possible for me to obtain more fabric to make a true rotated point circle houpe with full sleeves, but alas funds do not permit it. So I worked this out of 4 1/2 yards of the purple and 5 yards of the fur, of fabric I recieved for next to nothing. (In fact the head gear and belt cost more than the stack of fabrics I recieved) I am very happy with how this dress turned out, other than the lack of fabric.
The head gear took some work. At first I tried to just stuff the satin, but the stuffing was way to lumpy in the thin satin, so I ended up makeing a second tube a bit smaller than the satin with a few layeres of scrap cotton/poly blend fabric I had. The second problen I had was tring to get the satin to lay flat on the roll without puckering, so instead I just left it a bit wider and longer and purposly let it wrinkle. Because I was not entirely happy with the hat, everything is not sewn, just pined even the ribbons, so that I can redo it at a later point. The hair bag under the snood I did not have time to finish the seams or hem, so by the end of the event I had little threads peeping out of my snood. So I have to take the snood off and finish the seams.
If I could do it over I make sure I had enough fabric for all the trim, so I wont have to scramble a few days before an event to find matching trim. Also I would like more fabric, but I am proud of what I was able to do with what I had. Also I would take more time to completly finish my headgear.
Is it period? Well the fabrics are all synthetic, but they mimic period fabrics in texture and weight. My dress does not have the large amount of fabric and pleats above the belt and leading to the shoulders that the houpes always seem to have in period art, but many of the burdundian gowns seam to have tight fitting bodices as my dress has. The waist seam is not period for my persona in brittany, but there are images in which there is a waist seam, tight bodice, and large flowing sleeves.
( http://www.scacommunity.com/community/photos/592-isabelle-montfort-de-bretagne/photo.html?albumid=163#photoid=1703 ). This album also contains examples of houpes, burdundian gowns, and headgear. This dress is a melding of both styles. The suffed hat is period in style, although all sourses I have found were very smooth. They were often worn with cauls and were often angled up on the sides of the heads, being supported by wire frames containing the hair on the sides of the face. Which I tried to mimic with the snood lined with the satin. (crocheted snoods are not period eithier, although netting is.)