Dress of the Court of Saxony

Brown and Gold Gown


Diary started October 13th 2005

Dress first worn: August 26, 2006.

Saxony, Germany

[Edit: After almost 2 years of calling this my “german” dress I’ve come to find out that
Cranach was a court painter to Frederick the Wise of Saxony. During the time of the portraits under study (1520-1540) he had settled permanently at Wittenberg. This means that we cannot take this style of dress to be the overall “german” style. It was popular in a limited geographic region over a limited amount of time. It also explains why it’s so blasted hard to find any of this type of dresses painted by any other painters. So substitute “Dress of the Court of Saxony” for all references to “German” below.]


It’s so hard to be just French. I’m Sylvie. I’m french. But I’m also “Sylvie, timetraveler of fashion.”

I’ve developed a need to make a german gown. I didn’t mean to. I won’t let this suck up my life and make me spend every day morning, noon, and night looking for pictures of German ladies. I won’t!

I blame this on Etaine. It’s her fault with her perky bustling around in germans and her blasted friends bustling around in germans. I also blame Edith. With her “hey, we’re of German decent.. we should look smashing in German garb”. They’re all just evil.

Lastly I blame their Excellencies Rolf and Rory. With their german step up at Purgatorio. They have finally added a deadline to a never-started-because-I’m-intimidated-by-it project. *sigh* So I guess I’ll have Germans by Purg (in 5 weeks).

Research and Background

I have no idea what these garments would actually be called in German. I think I’ll stick with “dress”, “underdress”, “sleeves” and “stomache thingy”.

I think the fabrics looks like velvet or wool. I’ve been informed that wool flannel works very well. I’ll probably use that with probably a cotton or linen brocades for contrast.

My goal is to create a garment that is consistent with the fashions portrayed in the paintings of Cranach the Elder from around 1520-1530 Germany.

Details to include:

  • Skirt pleated directly to the bodice. I’m uncertain which type of pleat I’m going to use. Etaine says it was -always- cartridge pleated.. but I’m just not seeing that in the paintings. This will be attached directly to the bodice (probably with a french seam like I did with my italian dress) with a slit in the front for getting in and out of the dress.
  • Three bands of contrasing fabric in skirt of decreasing size from the floor to about knee high.
  • Bubbled sleeves at elbows and possibly shoulder
  • I love the little standing collar coat thingy.. but I’m not sure if I will be able to attempt that for my first one.

Inspirational Pictures

Cranach the Elder, Lucas.
Portrait of Christiana Eulenau. 1534. Oil on wood. Alte Meister Gallerie, Dresden, Germany.
Cranach the Elder, Lucas.
Cranach the Elder, Lucas.
Portrait of a Young Woman. c.1530 Oil on wood
16 1/2 x 19 1/4 inches (42 x 49 cm)
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy
Cranach the Elder, Lucas.
Lucretia Committing Suicide. c.1529. Oil on panel.
Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, Houston
Cranach the Elder, Lucas
(German, 1472-1553)
Lucretia, 1535.

Credited as Cranach the Elder, Lucas 1512. Problems: doesn’t resemble other Cranach images. 1512 is very early for this style.

From the back

Cranach the Elder, Lucas
The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine (detail)
c. 1516
Panel, 67,5 x 47,3 cm (full painting)
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
Cranach the Elder, Lucas.
The Fountain of Youth (detail)
Lime panel
Staatliche Museen, Berlin
Cranach the Elder, Lucas.
The ill-matched lovers



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