Kampfrau (Trossfrau)

1540 Blue&Black Swiss Gown

Diary started April 6, 2011
Finished: May 21, 2011


My brother is getting married in May and I’m in the wedding party. My instructions are to make “a blue dress I’ll wear again in the future” and that “SCA clothes are fine”. With that in mind I determined to make a version of the dress pictured here:

Hunting near Hartenfels Castle, 1540, The Cleveland Museum of Art

Link to Zoomifier

As I’m rapidly changing sizes I need to wait to fit the bodice until closer to the wedding (I’m thinking end of April) but as I was reminded by Ms. Etaine, I can make the sleeves, hat, skirt, etc beforehand and only worry about the bodice at the last minute.

Wool for this project was acquired at the LA fabric district last October.

Details to include:

  • Dress made of wool lined in linen
  • Simple front-closing bodice that uses hook/eye in the front.
  • Simple guards on the bodice. May add guards to the skirt depending on time. I’m planning to use black velvet ribbons for the guarding.
  • Fantasticly over-the-top sleeves.
  • Fancy hat with feathers.
  • Gold Haube.

Skirt Math
I’m cutting the skirt at 170″x50″. It will have a rolled hem at the top which will be cartridge pleated to the bodice(3″ per pleat), use a french seam at the front closure and use a rolled hem at the hemline.

I don’t have the bodice done so I don’t know the measurement of the bottom of it. That said, my last two bodices were 45.5″ and 46.5″ around the bottom(and I’ve been losing weight…). I expect this one to be right around there or smaller. For each of the previous I used 4 gingham blocks per side of my pleats for a total of 52-53 pleats. I plan to repeat this as it give me a nice sized pleat and a skirt with a nice amount of flair.

My gingham squares are 3/8″ each.
I expect the bodice bottom to be pret’near 46.5″ around.

I want the tops of each cartridge pleat to be at about 2 squares on the gingam which ends up at about 3/4″(3/8″+3/8″=6/8″). When this is attached to the bottom of the bodice I’ll need to add another 1/8″ to that to account for the bulk between the tops of each pleat. This give me a total of about 7/8″ for each pleat (6/8″+1/8″).

This gives me around 53 pleats (46.5 divided by 7/8″ ) around the bottom of the bodice.

Each side of my pleat will be 4 blocks of my gingham with a total of 8 blocks for each pleat. That means that my pleats will each be 3 inches (3/8 x 8 = 3).
Since I want 53 pleats that means I need a minimum of 159″ of fabric for my skirt. I want to add 4 inches to this to allow room for the french seam which will hold the skirt closed. So I need a total of 163 inches of fabric for the skirt (159 + 4). Rounding up to 170 because I’m nervous and want to be sure to have enough.

On my last two skirts they measure ~45 inches from the bottom of the bodice to the hem. Adding 1 inch to that for the rolled hem at the top and 1 inch to the bottom of that for the hem at the bottom I get ~47 inches. I’m rounding this up to 50″ because I’m nervous and want to be sure to have enough.


2 thoughts on “1540 Blue&Black Swiss Gown

  1. Are there more pics of the blue and black Swiss gown? My daughter just got engaged and will be planning their wedding for during the Estrella War (Phoenix area) … From what I can see this may be the perfect style for her. If you could email links to the pics it would be awesome. Many thanks! Paige

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