Saturday, 30 August 2014

Project #8. F.69a - "Gown of cloth for a woman"

For project #8 I'm tackling the somewhat prosaically titled "Gown of cloth for a woman". This is a fairly simple coat style garment, which has a similar sleeve to the previous 2 projects, a looser fit without any shaping through the body, and is the same length both front and back with no train. I tend to think of it more as a robe or coat than a gown, but for the sake of simplicity I'll refer to it as a gown here.


Portrait of a Woman by Alonso Sanchez Coello

Isabella Clara Eugenia
with Margareta Ruiz.
I haven't yet found many gowns in portraiture that appear to be the one in this pattern, but the closest may be the one in the Portrait of a Woman by Coello, above.

I have found some which seem to be a similar type garment with some similar features, however. The most common being a type that differs in that they are cut to conform quite close to the body, rather than the loose 'duster coat' shape of this pattern, as in the portrait of Isabella Clara Eugenia, right. These are also cut much longer so that they almost touch the hem of the under kirtle, but do have the familiar sleeve style. 

Similar garments also crop up in Italian portraits, cut with a familiar looser fit but some other slight stylistic differences in sleeves and so on. Bianca Capello de' Medici (see below) is clearly not a Spanish lady, but this gown seems to have some points of kinship with the pattern we are making, especially in the looser fit. There is in fact a surviving garment which is described as a Venentian zimarra in the National Museum of the Renaissance in Ecouen, France, and aside from the wide angled cut of the side seams, bears a striking resemblance to our pattern.


Venetian 'zimarra'. Click to enlarge

Bianca Capello de' Medici
by Lavinia Fontana
One of the points of difference with the gown in Alcega compared to these examples is the length. All the women's patterns in Alcega are generally displayed in a very narrow band of sizes, and where they differ greatly they are usually labelled as "for a fat woman" or "for a child".  There are a number of similar patterns for this type of gown in the book, starting with f.67a "A gown of baize for a girl", through to f.69a, the full sized adult version I'll be using here. 

Of these, the four patterns F.68 through to f.69a are all the same adult garment cut in the same manner from fabric 2 ells wide, but with the variations being the length of the gown and length & width of the sleeves. The gown lengths range from the 'girl' version 98cm (approx 3' 2 1/2") long, to 112cm (approx 3' 8 1/8"), 126cm (approx 4' 1 1/2"), 140cm (approx 4' 7 1/8") and 147cm (approx 4' 9 7/8"). Each gown has correspondingly slightly larger sleeves until we get to the ones in the pattern I'm using here. If only the gown length varied I would assume they were stylistic differences, but as the sleeve lengths also get longer I'm suggesting that the variations are shown for different height wearers. It would seem therefore that the shorter garment length is a deliberate style element. There may be some leeway in adjusting the length of the garment a little, as Alcega mentions in the girl's version, but I am keeping the shorter length as was drawn, in order to try and stay true to what I think is the intention of the pattern.

In the descriptions for these patterns in the book Alcega makes mention of trimmings made from another fabric, and shoulder wings and 'ruffs' (tabs and other trims?) made from the scraps of the main fabric. So although the basic shape is fairly simple, there is clearly leeway for adding decorative elements to the basic gown. 

Fabric
Alcega states that this gown requires a piece of fabric 3 1/6 ells long x 2 ells wide, or 266cm (approx 8' 8 3/4") long x 168cm (approx 5' 6") wide. The fabric is folded in half lengthways with the fold at the bottom of the diagram. There is no mention of nap or pattern in the fabric description, and the head to tail layout of this garment would imply a plain fabric.

Some mathematics and dimensions
I chose f.69a for this reproduction as the the sleeve length, shoulder seams, front and back neck openings etc are all the same as in the previous projects. I should therefor be able to draw on some of the work from previous projects, so I suggest you check out Project #6 and Project #7 for a more full description if you need more details. The gown length front and back from neck opening to hem is shown as 'bQQQ', or 147cm (approx 4' 9 7/8").



There is one question the gown length raises though, "bQQQ" is considerably shorter than the garments I have made previously measured from neck to hem. The gowns in the portraits above stop a little short in length, but not as dramatically as this pattern does. The fact that there are a number of patterns in the book for women of different heights seems to indicate that the shorter length is intentional and a design feature.

Sleeves
The sleeves do not have the exact same dimensions as the ones in the previous 2 projects, but are very similar except for width. Sleeve length is "sb" from wrist opening to sleeve head, or 70cm (approx 27 1/2"), and so a little longer than the doublet sleeves in the book. The wrist opening is "t' or 28cm (approx 11"), and although the sleeve head in this pattern is unlabelled, it is most likely "m" or 42cm (approx 16 1/2") as in all the previous versions of this sleeve. In this case the width of the sleeve is shown slightly wider than the full fabric width, with a small piecing to make up the width, and the curvature of the sleeve and sleeve head have minor differences in shape.

Gown body
The front neckline, back neckline and shoulder seam are all identical to the previous bodices and doublets. Both the shoulder seam and the front neck opening are shown as "s" or 14cm (approx 5 1/2"), and the back neck opening is "o" or 10.5cm (just over 4"). The length of the gown front and back is shown as "bQQQ" or 147cm (approx 4' 9 7/8"), and both have a hem the total width of the fabric, "b" or 1 full ell wide, 84cm (approx 33").

The gown front is cut along the fold, and the gown back along the selvedge. The gown back is similarly shaped at the upper back as in Project #7, and in this case the upper back curve is easily dealt with as it is part of a construction seam. This is a front opening gown, so the fold will need to be sliced open before it is assembled.

Collar
Curiously only the front collar is shown on the pattern, and in all the other sized versions. There is however mention of making the front and back collars from the scraps in the instructions of some of the other sized patterns. I'll be using the same collar from the previous project, two front "s" sized pieces and two back "o" sized pieces.

Developing the pattern
This is a relatively simple pattern compared to some others in the book. Only one piecing is required to make up the extravagant sized sleeve, and all other pattern pieces have minimal shaping.



The gown back in this pattern is also curved for the upper back, as in Project #7 the "Laced mourning coat of cloth for a woman". I used the same method of drafting the back by rotating the back piece of the earlier doublet pattern I had developed, although as this gown is shorter and has a narrow hem than the sack back gown I did not have to rotate it so much.

The gown front is actually drafted straight off the previously drafted doublet front to the point under the armhole, and then the side seam is angled outwards to match the length of the back side seam. I wanted to ensure that the upper portion of the body and shoulders remained fairly close fitting, as seems to be the style, so tried to only rotate the back pattern piece as much as necessary and not rotate the front at all. I then double checked that the hem width on the front piece was correct (1 ell) and the garment length was also correct. Thankfully all the dimensions worked perfectly, possibly one of the easiest drafts so far!

The other sleeves of this style in the book are usually 1 ell wide across, or 84cm (approx 33"), but this sleeve is a little wider and has a slightly more extravagant flare. It was fairly simple to draft, especially if you use a folded piece of paper as I did to ensure it was symmetrical. After drawing the wrist opening, marking the sleeve length from wrist to the lowest point of the sleeve head curve, then using a curving tape measure the draw the simple curve of the sleeve head to the correct size, I then drew the large outward curve to connect the wrist and sleeve head. After checking the width was a bit greater than 1 ell in total I sliced off the piecing and double checked it.

The collar piece I traced from the previous project, including the back piece which is required but not shown on the pattern.

Putting it together
This was a pretty simple sew, as the main construction is completed with a few long side seams. Once I had sewn up the side seams and shoulder seams, I then neatened the front edges by turning them under and stitching. I then made up the 4 piece collar as in the previous project, and matching the seams carefully applied it to the neck opening.

When it was time to move onto the sleeves I decided I needed to follow Alcega's advice and make some small wings for the shoulders from the remaining fabric. (There is no pattern piece for these.) I made a simple narrow 'football' shape, folded it along the long axis, and then sewed the curved raw edges along the armhole edge. I made them roughly 2/3 the size of the sleeve head, so they start just about the front under arm, and end at a similar point on the back.

Anna of Austria by Antonis Mor ca. 1570

I also decided it was time to switch things up in sleeveland. After finally finding a portrait with what appears to be this style of sleeve with a long front opening, instead of the horizontal cut I have been previously using, I went ahead and opening a long cut from almost at the sleeve head to almost at the wrist, along the 'fold' of the sleeve. (If you were making this up full sized you could then turn under a small seam allowance and carefully stitch the sleeve lining to neaten and stabilise this cut edge.)

Once the sleeves and collar were in I hemmed the garment and voila!, done. Pretty simple.

Completed garment front. Click to enlarge.

You can really see the shorter length of this garment when it s worn over the doublet from Project #2 and kirtle from Project #4 (the underskirt and farthingale are under there too). Also, the hem length and the shorter width give this garment a little more volume, so it flares out a little over the undergarments which I think looks very nice.

Completed side front view. Click to enlarge.

The sleeves don't look dramatically different from the ones in previous projects, except for the change in the style of opening. You and I know they are a little bigger though, and we went to all the effort of making a new pattern, and that's what counts. The sleeve head is drawn with only a simple curve, so there is a far amount of fabric bulk in the underarm after the sleeve is set in. During fitting and making you could probably work some of this bulk out and trim it away. 


Completed back. Click to enlarge.

I always love the look of these sleeves at the back.


The only slight downside was that the shoulder wings impeded the outward curve of the sleeve back a little, creating that deep fold near the top. If I was making this full sized I would explore options such as tabs, a much narrower wing, or even a shoulder roll instead if that fold bothered me.

Inner arm sleeve piecing detail. Click to enlarge.

This picture above shows the only piecing in this garment, the inside of the sleeve back.

There you have it. A fairly simple garment but one that I think could make a useful outer layer for warmth. Perhaps fur lined, trimmed with contrasting fabric and braid, this could make a warm high status garment. Made up in a wool, with appropriate decoration, this could make a nice more middle class type garment.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Project #7. F.64a - "Laced mourning coat of cloth for a woman"

For project 7 I'm tackling a gown which has many stylistic similarities to the bodice and skirt of Project #6, with the exception of a 'sack' back. The back is cut all as one with the train, instead of a separate doublet back and skirt. (In the translation in the book they title it a "coat", but I refer to it as a gown. Potato, potato.)

There are two variations in the book, one cut from the wide 'cloth' similar to Project #6 and another version (f.65) cut from the narrow silk fabric seen in the layouts of some of the other projects. I'll be using the pattern layout from f.64a (the wider fabric), however the text for this pattern layout is very brief so I'll be augmenting that with some of the expanded instructions from f.65. For example the text for f.65 explains the use either a full false bodice back cut from another fabric, or part bodice back (side strips) that can be set into the side seams and laced across the back in order to make the bodice front lie close to the body.

Fabric
Alcega states that this pattern requires a piece of cloth 4 1/3 ells long x 2 ells wide, or 364cm (approx 11' 11") long x 168cm (approx 5' 6") wide. The fabric is folded in half lengthways, with the fold at the bottom of the diagram.

Some mathematics and dimensions
Many components of this gown are identical to the previous project, the "Skirt and bodice of cloth with puffed sleeves", with the exception of the gown back. The skirt front, bodice front and sleeves are identical in size and shape, so that is a big yay! from me because it means I can reuse some of the work I have done previously. (And apologies if any of the following seems repetitive.)

The piecings are a little different however, on account of the different fabric layout. There is no mention of nap in the fabric layout, but I think it's worth noticing that like the same width of fabric in the previous project all of the pattern pieces are lying in the same direction, as if the nap is running from right to left. The skirt front and gown back are cut along the fold, and the gown back is shaped to allow for the curvature of the upper back.



The skirt:
The front of the skirt (on the left in the pattern) is the same dimensions as the skirt front in Project #6, "bm" or 126cm (approx 4' 1 1/2") long, with a waist of "t" or 28cm (approx 11") and a bottom hem of "b", 1 full ell width or 84cm (approx 33"), without any godets. The back of the skirt is formed by the lower part of the gown back and train.

The bodice and gown back:
The bodice front is identical in dimensions and shape to the doublet from Project #6 and very similar to the doublet size and shape from Project #2. The bodice front is shown as "QQQ" or 63cm (approx 2' 1") long, the side seam is "Q" or 21cm long (approx 8 1/4"), and both the shoulder seam and the front neck opening are shown as "s" or 14cm (approx 5 1/2"). Unlike the previous project, this bodice includes a collar and it is made up of four pieces, two front "s" sized pieces and two back "o" sized pieces. Unlike the doublet in Project #2 the collar back is not cut as one with the back of the gown.

The gown back shoulder is also shown as "s", while the back of the neck opening is unlabelled but is presumably "o" or 10.5cm (just over 4"), which is the same as the back collar piece and other doublets in the book. The length of the centre back of the gown back is "bbm" or 2 1/2 ells, 210cm (approx 6' 10 3/4"). There is no specific length given for the side seam including godet A, but the length from the shoulder seam to hem must be equivalent to the length of the bodice from shoulder to waist plus the length of the skirt front side seam from waist to hem. In other words "Q" + "bm", or around 147cm (just under 4' 10"). There is no specific measurement given for the arm hole, but as in the previous projects it can't be larger than the sleeve head or the sleeve will not fit.

The sleeves:
The sleeve has a very distinctive shape, with a large curving back seam and a shallow curved sleeve head. The sleeve head is not labelled (but is most likely "m" or 42cm (approx 16 1/2") as per the same shaped sleeve in other pattern layouts). The sleeve length is "sb" or 70cm (approx 27 1/2") long. The wrist opening is shown as "t" or 28cm (approx 11"). The layout in both f.64a and f.65 requires a fairly large piecing in one side of the sleeve back, which is marked as B in the layout.

Developing the pattern
This was a comparatively easy draft as I could trace pieces from previous projects for all but the gown back. For more detail on drafting the bodice front and front collar piece please have a look at Project #2 the "Silk doublet for a woman", and for more detail on drafting the skirt front and sleeves please have a look at Project #6 the "Skirt and bodice of cloth with puffed sleeves". The back collar piece was simple to draft, the bottom edge is the same dimensions as the neckline back, "o" or 10.5cm (just over 4") and the height is the same as the back edge of the front collar piece. (The height of the collar is never given, so presumably that's a matter of the wearer's taste and/or neck height.) I then sliced along the sleeve to form the piece B required for this layout and I was done with all except the gown back.



Rotating the back piece.
For the gown back I used the doublet back from Project #2 and first placed it on the centre back line so that the top half of it was angled upwards sightly, to create the slightly curved upper back. I then traced around this shape and extended the centre back line down to the centre back hem. I then pivoted the doublet back on the outer shoulder point so that the underarm side seam matched the angled side seam of the gown back, and extended this out to the edge of the pattern piece. It was then fairly simple to grab another scrap of paper and continue the hem curve and side seam out to form godet piece A. I then double checked that the side seam including godet was equal to the length of the doublet back and the length of the skirt front side seam. A bit fiddly but helped by having these other pattern pieces I could lay out on the paper and rotate into place.

It's worth noting that in Alcega's layout godet A is actually flipped over, so if you were making this in a fabric with a right and wrong side (such as a fabric with a nap) you would need to swap the godet pieces between the pieces cut on the top and the underside of the folded fabric, so that you had right sides and correct nap direction.

Putting it all together
Before I put the gown together I went looking for as many portraits from the period as I could find, and actually struggled to find any that appear to show this exact sack back style of gown. If they exits, and I'm sure they do, I sadly couldn't find any. (Google-fu fail.)

I was especially keen to see if I could find alternative sleeve treatments to the one I used in Project #6, such as the front slashed open from armhole to cuff for example. Sadly I couldn't find any portraits that showed that style of opening in this style of sleeve, only in larger hanging sleeves of a different shape. (Please let me know if anyone finds a portrait that contradicts this!)

Infanta Isabella of Spain, showing 2 curved sleeves and one large open fronted hanging sleeve.

Margaret of Austria, another horizontal front opening sleeve.

So, the same style of horizontal opening it is then.

Sleeve piecing detail. Click to enlarge.

As with all the projects so far the first step was to add the piecings to make up the main pattern pieces. Once I had added the sleeve pieces B, and the back godet pieces A, I then dealt with the curve of the upper back.

The back of the gown is cut on the fold, and there seems no evidence or reason to believe that this fold is then cut open to create a seam. (That would create an ugly seam running down the centre of the train, just for starters.) In modern sewing we would use a slightly curving dart to create this upper back curve on a piece that doesn't have a centre back seam, but darts in this period are a pretty contentious issue. There seems very little evidence that darts were understood and commonly used to shape fabric around the body as we use them today, and when something resembling a dart turns up in period clothing it's always cause for much discussion. I would conjecture that this back curve was probably cut out while the fabric was still folded, and then closed up with a small seam allowance. Because I am working in such a small scale I had to use a dart however, there just wasn't enough fabric at this scale to take any sort of seam allowance.

I sliced open the fold of the front skirt piece to create the centre front opening and turned back a small seam allowance to neaten. After a bit of pinning on the mannequin, I decided the easiest way to deal with the front of the gown would be to sew together each bodice front and skirt piece, so then I could assemble to main body of the gown by sewing a long seam from under the armpit all the way down to the hem.

Gown front, comprising bodice and skirt pieces. Click to enlarge. 

The skirt front is not shaped to allow for the curve of the low pointed bodice front, so it is assembled by overlapping the bodice on the skirt. So I finished the front and bottom edges of the doublet by turning under the seam allowances before adding the skirt front. I pinned the waist of the skirt to follow the line of the bottom edges of the bodice at the sides sides, and then allowed the front of the doublet to overlap.

Inside detail of the gown front. Click to enlarge.

A bit clunky to explain, so hopefully this inside view will give you the idea. If you were making this up full sized you could mark a line around the bottom of the bodice and trim the skirt front down to a seam allowance and attach, but there is precedent in period for this skirt excess just being left behind the doublet front.

Checking the fit. Click to enlarge.

I then closed the long seam from under the armpit all the way down to the hem, and pinned it on the mannequin without the sleeves or collar to check the basic fit. The bodice will have lacing strips added inside so that it can be laced across the back, so I pinned the bodice to conform to the mannequin's shape and you can see the shape of the "sack back" starting to take shape, which is the main feature of this gown.

It was then fairly straightforward to add the collar and sleeves. The collar is made up up of 4 pieces, 2 back and 2 front, and has an outward flaring shape. Once I had sewn the 4 pieces together I matched the seam lines to the centre back and 2 shoulder seams, and eased the straight edge of the bottom of the collar around the neck curve. I inset the sleeves in the same manner as the previous project, taking care to make sure the piecing was on the inside of the arm where it was less obtrusive.

Inside back lacing detail. Click to enlarge.

One of the more unusual details of this gown is the back lacing inside the gown to create the sack back, and still allow the bodice front to sit nice and snug. There is a more fulsome description in the next gown in the book, f.65 the "Laced morning coat of silk for a woman". According to the translation in the book, Alcega states that false bodice pieces can be sewn to the side seamlines of the bodice front and fastened at the back, which would make the bodice front fit tightly like a real bodice. Alternately, an entire false bodice back can be made from another fabric.

I made two doubled fabric strips that were fairly wide, but less than half the back width, and the length of the bodice seam from armpit to where the skirt joined the bodice. I sewed these to the seam allowances inside the gown. I then used a strong thread to mock up some lacing.

Laced back interior detail. Click to enlarge.

Once the gown was on the mannequin and I had temporarily whipstitched closed the bodice front (in lieu of teeny tiny buttons), it was fairly easy to lift the back of the gown and draw up the lacing until the bodice had a nice snug fit. In the photo above you can see the lacing pulled tight, and the garments underneath are the underskirt, farthingale, kirtle and doublet I made in previous projects. I like the adjustable nature of this back lacing rather than inserting another false back, once laced initially it would only need minor adjusting when the gown was worn, and it would ensure a perfect fit every time.

Bodice side and underarm detail. Click to enlarge.

The bodice sits beautifully across the torso and then becomes the volume of the back. A lovely effect.

Gown front, with skirt shown open. Click to enlarge.

The end result is lovely. From the front it looks very much like Project #6 with the addition of the collar and a slimmer fit over the hips due to the absence of a cartridge pleated skirt.

Gown back. Click to enlarge.

The back is quite dramatic however, with the volume of the sack back and train. In this pic you can see the upper back seam also, and the red line under the sleeve is the piecing used to make up the full sized sleeve.

Sack back and train, with skirt godet shown. Click to enlarge.

Eleganza! I think this is a lovely gown. Imagine sweeping into a Court wearing this little number in a silk, damask or beautiful rich velvet. You can see from the images at the top of this post that garments similar to this would be highly decorated with braid, tabs, embroidery, pinking and slashing, decorative buttons... you name it. Not the sort of garment that would call for too much restraint. Unless of course you really were in mourning?...then who can say what would have been considered appropriate.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Project #6. F.63 - "Skirt and bodice of cloth with puffed sleeves"

For project 6 I'm tackling the "Skirt and bodice of cloth with puffed sleeves". As I've mentioned before I unfortunately can't read the original Spanish text, so rely on the translation in the book. Even if it's an accurate translation (?) I find the "puffed sleeves" of the title a little misleading, because they are nothing like a modern puffed sleeve and more like a large curved hanging sleeve.

There are 3 variations of the same pattern in the book f.63, f.63a and f.64, with the only differences being the dimensions of the back train on the gown. The train lengths are 3 ells or 252cm (approx 8' 3 1/4"), 2 1/2 ells or 210cm (approx 6' 10 3/4") and 2 ells or 168cm (approx 5' 6"). Consequently each variation also requires a different amount of fabric, but the layout of the pattern pieces is essentially the same. I've elected to make f.63 which has the longest train, because let's face it... go big or go home.

This garment comprises a front opening doublet style bodice with large decorative sleeves and a front opening overskirt, most likely worn over an underskirt and a tight sleeved doublet as in the portrait below. Although the term 'bodice' has been used throughout the translation it seems to me that the skirt and bodice would be two separate pieces. Essentially a doublet and skirt. The large puffed sleeves on the bodice seem to always have some form of front slit opening to allow the arms to pass through, generally horizontal or in an inverted T shape, and with the lower part of the sleeve front pushed back to make a circular opening for the arm to pass through.

Anne of Austria, Queen of Spain by Alonso S├ínchez Coello, 1571.
Fabric
Alcega states that this pattern requires a piece of cloth 5 1/3 ells long x 2 ells wide, or 448cm (approx 14' 8 3/8") long x 168cm (approx 5' 6") wide.

Specific mention is made of the nap running downwards in this pattern layout, and you will notice that the layout takes this into account as all the pieces are laid out with the nap running in the same direction (from right to left).

Some mathematics and dimensions
The fabric in this layout is folded lengthways, with the fold at the bottom of the diagram and the nap running from right to left. The skirt front and back are cut on the fold and take advantage of the full width of the very wide fabric.



The skirt:
The front of the skirt (on the left in the pattern) is roughly the same dimensions as the skirt fronts in Project #4 and Project #5, being "bm" or 126cm (approx 4' 1 1/2") long, with a waist of "t" or 28cm (approx 11"). The only difference is that the bottom hem takes advantage of the wider fabric and is "b" or 1 full ell wide or 84cm (approx 33"), without any godets. The back skirt waist is also the same as those in the previous projects, "m" or 42cm (approx 16 1/2"), and the full width of the back piece at the hem is achieved with a side piecing, godet A. Both skirt front and back are cut on the fold, eliminating centre front and back seams. As I will be making up the skirt as front opening, I'll then cut along the fold of the skirt front to make 2 pieces.

The bodice:
The bodice front and back are almost identical in dimensions and shape to the doublet from Project #2, the "Silk doublet for a woman", but with the omission of a collar (including the back collar cut as one with the back of the doublet). I find the omission of the collar a little curious, because although I haven't found many examples of this style of gown in portraits, those that I have found all seem to have a collar. I don't think it is an oversight, as all the variations of this style of gown are shown without a collar, and every other doublet style garment in the book seems to deliberately include a collar in the pattern.

The bodice front is "QQQ" or 63cm (approx 2' 1") long, the side seam is "Q" or 21cm long (approx 8 1/4"), and both the shoulder seam and the front neck opening are shown as "s" or 14cm (approx 5 1/2"). The back waist and back shoulder are also shown as "s", while the back of the neck opening is "o" or 10.5cm (just over 4"). The back length is shown as "m" or 42cm (approx 1' 4 1/2"), and although there is no side seam dimension given on the back, it must be "Q" also in order to match the side seam on the bodice front. There is no specific measurement given for the arm hole, but as in the silk doublet pattern, it can't be larger than the sleeve head or the sleeve will not fit. The other notable feature are the 8 decorative tabs indicated (4 front and 4 back) across the top of the armhole.

The sleeves:
The sleeve has a very distinctive shape, with a large curving back seam and a shallow curved sleeve head. The sleeve head (where it attaches to the armhole) is shown as "m" or 42cm (approx 16 1/2"). It's worth noting that this is the same size as the two halves of the two piece sleeve in the silk doublet in Project #2, so that would seem to indicate that the bodice armhole is also the same dimensions as the silk doublet. The sleeve length is "sb" or 70cm (approx 27 1/2") long, slightly longer than the sleeves in the silk doublet. The wrist opening is shown as "t" or 28cm (approx 11").

Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia (1566–1633) by Frans Pourbus II

The over gown in the portrait of Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia is of a different style, but the sleeves seem identical in size and shape to those in our pattern.

Developing the pattern
As I've mentioned, the bodice for this project is essentially the same as the doublet pattern I previously developed for Project #2 (with different sleeves and no collar), so that gives me a bit of a head start. You'll note the deviation from the pattern in the book in that my pattern for the front has a curving front to accommodate the prominent bust on my mannequin. (For the process and explanations of that part of the pattern please take a look at that project.) The bodice back is also the same as that in Project #2. In the diagram the shoulder tabs are indicated in the armhole. I doubt that these were cut as one with the bodice, but I think they are shown to indicate size, number and placement. I'll make these up from the scraps.

My pattern layout. Click to enlarge.

The sleeve width is the entire width of the pattern layout, 1 ell wide or 84cm (approx 33"). Once I had the length, sleeve opening width and armhole opening width plotted it was fairly easy to draw in the extravagant curve of the sleeve. I then modified the sleeve head slightly to try and replicate the subtle change in curve between the sleeve front and back in the diagram, and checked to make sure the dimensions were still "m" along the curve. The underside of the sleeve requires a small piecing in this layout, where it overlaps with the godet A used on the skirt back.

The skirt front was an easy draft, as aside from the width at the hem change, and therefor the angle of the side seam also, it was pretty straightforward. I just checked that the side edges would be the same length as the skirt back once the godet was attached. The skirt back is very long, and was also fairly easy to draft. I drew in the dotted godet A indicated in the book, and then once I had traced that off onto a separate piece of paper made sure the angle and of the side seam would be consistent and the same length as the front piece, and that the curve continued the line of the train.

Putting it together
I first did a little prep work unrelated to this pattern by making some arms for my mannequin. I was a little frustrated when I made the doublet in Project #2 that the sleeves hung so badly because of the lack of arms on my little dummy. I just essentially made a very basic pair of rag doll arms of the right dimensions and stuffed them with toy stuffing. My mannequin's body is fully pinnable, so it was an easy matter to pin them in place at the shoulder, and then I can remove them in future for projects that don't require them.

Godet A.
I first made up the skirt, which was a fairly straightforward sew as it only has the one godet to worry about. Once I had attached the godet A to each side of the skirt back, I then attached the two front skirt halves to either side of the back. I then turned under a small amount on each side of the skirt front opening to neaten, and sewed down these edges. Then as in Project #4, the "Kirtle of silk for a woman", I made a small waistband to attach the skirt to. This skirt has the same waist dimensions, so similarly I kept the front of the skirt flat, and cartridge pleated all the fullness into the back of the skirt, starting at the side hips. The only difference being that I moved the opening of the waistband to the front, to accommodate the front opening of the skirt. By making the skirt in this way, it also means that there is some flexibility in whether the skirt is worn open or closed. In all the portraits I have seen of this style of skirt there appears to be a front opening, generally held closed with ribbon ties. Unlike the bodice and attached skirt in Project #5 where the angle of the skirt opening is fixed by the way it is attached to the bodice.

The completed skirt and bodice. Click to enlarge.

The angle of the curve on the side godet A tuned out well, making a nice transition between the skirt front and back train.

Side view, with godet indicated. Click to enlarge.

Once the skirt was completed I sewed together the bodice sides and shoulder seams, up to the point of adding the sleeves. I then made up 8 small fabric tabs to be added to each armhole from small folded strips of fabric, and basted them into the armholes. I've found the best way to do this is to baste them in place on the right side, matching up the raw edge of each tab with the raw edge of the armhole.

Sleeve and shoulder detail. Click to enlarge.

After adding the tabs, I made up each sleeve by folding each in half along the centre line and sewing up the curved outside edge. I then turned under the edge at the cuff to neaten, and sewed down this edge. I tested the hang of the sleeve on the bodice and marked a point equal to where the inside of the elbow would sit. I then cut a horizontal slit across the front folded edge, to allow the arm to pass through. (If I was making this as a full sized garment I would probably mark this point before sewing up the sleeve, and then it would be easier to turn under a small amount along the edges of this slit to neaten.)

The best hang of the sleeve seemed to be with the back seam placed at the back of the armhole, a little under the line of the shoulder blades, and so the front 'fold' edge sat at the front of the armhole, about a third of the way down from the shoulder. I then set in the sleeves, taking care to align the shoulder tabs as I went. Once the sleeves were in I folded under all the raw edges of the doublet to neaten and sewed them down.

Completed skirt and bodice back. Click to enlarge.

I love, love, love how this looks from the back. Those sleeves are major.

When I dressed the mannequin I kept the layers of the underskirt, farthingale and kirtle in place, and added the previously made doublet. I then added the skirt from this project, and I couldn't help myself but make some little bows to hold the skirt front closed. (Pretend they are neater and there are more of them, and the ends have cute little aglets.) I then added the bodice from this project, taking care to place the arms through the slits in the sleeves, and push back the front edge of the lower part of the sleeve to make a circular opening for the arm to pass through, as seen in the portraits above. I whip stitched the front of the doublet closed almost all the way to the top, but decided to leave some open at the tops so that a little of the under doublet and collar could be featured.

Side view full, with train. Click to enlarge.

This is clearly a fairly high status garment, especially in this version with the longest train. The portraits above give a good indication of the extravagant trims and fabric treatment that could be applied to this stye of garment. There is a mention in the translation of additional trimmings that can be made from the scraps, and I would probably include items such as tabs around the bottom of the doublet edge.

One suggestion for possible trim placement. Click to enlarge.

It would be lovely in a velvet, as seems to be indicated by the mention of nap in this pattern layout. I'm always a little surprised at how wide a 2 ell wide fabric is, wider than even modern fabrics are readily available in. Making this up as a full sized garment would require some modifications to the piecings required no doubt.