The Dress Diary of a Housebook dress, 1480s


Research and Inspiration

The decision to make a Housebook dress in wool was due to the fact I needed to make a toile pattern of a basic Housebook pattern for the remaking of the Flemish blue. Before I started to cut out sleeves and continue to modify the previous Flemish blue outfit I needed to know what I was suppose to end up with. Therefore I needed to sidestep a slightly bit and make a Housebook dress from scratch. (The first entry below is a reconstruction of about 2 weeks previous work...)


2004.08.09 Construction and Materials

The choice of fabric for this dress was due to 3 metres of thin wool with a checked pattern I bought a few years ago. I never liked the pinkish-beige base colour of it, but decided to give it a try with some green dye in the washing machine. It turned out a lovely olive green, and the red stripes toned down into a rusty red colour which I do like! As i was out of money to buy new fabric and I wanted to start a new dress I decided to give it a try. The checked pattern scared me a bit, it seemed a tiny bit to modern. But in the end it grew on me and i actually started to like it. I even think I found some 15thC images with sort of a similar pattern! at least they were close enough...


The construction of this dress is based on a version of the Moybog gown which can be seen here, with a few modification for the front and back pleating and the front opening and collar. I fitted a small toile in wool to get the right kind of strechiness. In the end I omitted the small triangular gussets in the upper side seam. Front and back gusset panels were cut in a trapeziod shape, in the back three panels had to be used for this purpose due to fabric limitations...


After this a full lenght toile was made out of a wool-dye-disaster. rather than throwing the fabric away I decided to make a full toile before cutting the fabric.


When I was satisfied with the dress I started fitting the sleeve toile. This shape is what I ended up with.


The bodice of the dress is lined with a thin wool tabby. Lining and outer fabric are treated as one layer and seam allowances are sewn with whip stiches. For seams a usual backstitch, sometimes a shortned backstich for seams with no major stresses on them, with a waxed linen thread.










Shoes and pattens


Myra ©2004