Monday, June 16, 2014

New Blue, with Sleeve Questions

What possessed me last night? Perhaps I just missed the feeling of wool passing through my hands, after so much leather and linen work. For whatever reason, I suddenly found myself taking a five-yard swath of lightweight blue wool from my stash, and cutting out my basic dress pattern.

Actually, my basic pattern is just for a fitted bodice. I cut my skirt fullness however the amount of fabric or my personal whim dictates. This one doesn't have any gores. I've just cut a trapezoid shape onto the bottom of the bodice pattern to create fullness. My bottom hem circumference should be about 225", which I think should be plenty generous. 

The bodice is lined with some scraps of peach-colored linen that used to be a tablecloth. It has a few dime-sized drips of something (gravy?) on it that left a stain, so I got it for a dollar and I figure no one will see those blots but me, since they're inside. I handstitched, turned, and pressed the four bodice linings during the Game of Thrones season finale. 

Once I hem all four pieces, it's quick work to seam them together. The lacing eyelets on the front will probably take an evening's worth of grinding. Then the hem and I'm done except for the sleeves. 

Sleeves! I was meaning this to be a between-season sort of dress, good for those days when it's a bit brisk but not cold, or a bit warm but not hot, so I was thinking that elbow-length sleeves would be nice. I've seen linen underdresses with shorter sleeves -- made one myself, in the case of my parti-colored linen dress. But I can't remember seeing a wool dress with anything but long sleeves, usually with massive amounts of buttons. I've seen shorter sleeves with tippets, but only on cotehardies that are worn over other dresses.  I even Googled "14th century dress sleeves" and looked at all the images that were from respectable sources. 

As I wear my linen smock under everything, it's not like my naked arms will be exposed, but is there any historical allowance for elbow-length, tippetless sleeves on a wool dress? Or should I just bow to convention and do long sleeves, or make ones with tippets? Advice, please! 

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