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A 15th Century Princess Gown Part II || Historical Sewing

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The second part in my video diary series on reconstructing a 15th century gown from a portrait. -References to archaeological findings are sourced from ‘Textiles and Clothing 1150 - 1450’ and ‘Dress Accessories 1150 - 1450’ from the Museum of London (see below for full citations). MATERIAL SOURCES: -Wool: A&K Fabrics, NYC. 9 yards -Orange silk lining: Bazar Fabrics, NYC. 2 yards -Green under sleeves: Bazar Fabrics, NYC. 1 yard -Cast buttons: Toho Shoji, NYC. 16 pieces -Trimming: M&J Trimming, NYC. 1.5 yards -Clasps: Daytona Trimming, NYC. 4 pairs -Linen thread: Burnley & Trowbridge [https://www.burnleyandtrowbridge.com/linenthread.aspx] -Silk thread: Sil Thread, NYC -Embroidery floss: Daytona Trimming, NYC -Aglets (35 mm): Pimp Your Garb, Etsy [https://www.etsy.com/listing/473128156/new-10-aglets-medievalrenaissance?ref=shop_home_active_3]. 4 pieces Useful Tools for Those So Inclined: (Please note that these are affiliate links) -Clear 18-inch ruler: https://amzn.to/2DIdRrh -Steel-headed straight pins: https://amzn.to/2ByJUaQ -Every size & weight needle you will probably ever need: https://amzn.to/2Sd76R7 -My most favorite (& stupidly fiddly) #10 sharps, the tiniest needles: https://amzn.to/2SaZEGf -Ye Trusty Olde 8” shears (tartan ribbon not included): https://amzn.to/2DXkUft -Those wee bird snips that literally everyone seems to have: https://amzn.to/2zu9vzY -(But I’ve also just found these that are a unicorn and I am severely tempted; I should not be trusted with Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KvXGgX) USEFUL REFERENCES -Crowfoot, Elisabeth; Pritchard, Frances; Staniland, Kay. Textiles and Clothing 1150-1450. Museum of London. https://museumoflondonshop.co.uk/collections/book-1/products/textiles-clothing-1150-1450 -Egan, Geoff and Pritchard, Frances. Dress Accessories 1150 - 1450. Museum of London. https://museumoflondonshop.co.uk/collections/book-1/products/dress-accessories-1150-1450 -Nørlund, Poul. Buried Norsemen at Herjolsfnes: an Archaeological and Historical Study. http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/B/bo26785756.html IMAGE CREDIT 1. “Saint George Slaying the Dragon” by Jost Haller. Unterlinden Museum. Digital image from Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jost_Haller_-_Saint_George_slaying_the_dragon,_Unterlinden_Museum,_Colmar.jpg 2. “Le Livre des faiz monseigneur saint Loys, composé à la requête du « cardinal de Bourbon et de la duchesse de Bourbonnois”. Detail from a manuscript, c. 1401-1500. BnF Gallica. https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b6000784s/f178.zoom.r=%20Le%20Livre Additional cinematography and finished gown photographs by Hana DeHart MUSIC Intro: Crunk Knight by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1400044 Artist: http://incompetech.com/ Background: Folk Round by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100357 Artist: http://incompetech.com/ End bit: “Yonder Hill and Dale” by Aaron Kenny Portals to Other Realms: Instagram, for real-time progress: instagram.com/bernadettebanner (@bernadettebanner) Patreon, for more vloggish and bloggish content: patreon.com/bernadettebanner Ko-Fi, if that’s more your thing: ko-fi.com/bernadettebanner Prints of costume renderings: https://www.etsy.com/shop/bernadettebanner For business enquiries only, please: [email protected]
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Text Comments (443)
Sydney Suzanne (8 months ago)
Wow, I adore this. I appreciate the attention to detail that went into making this dress! I recently started sewing, and I am mostly interested in sewing vintage and historical clothing. Your videos are fascinating and I am looking forward to more! They inspire me even more to begin creating my own historical costumes. What advice would you have for a beginner venturing into the world of historical costuming?
Sydney Suzanne (8 months ago)
WOW! Thank you so so so much for your reply. This was so encouraging to read and absolutely what I needed to hear! I will definitely heed your advice, and I'm going to head to the university library today (as well as research some books online) and read up on things! I also need to brush up on my hand-sewing techniques. You are so kind, I can't wait to get involved in the community and hopefully start my own YouTube channel! <3
Bernadette Banner (8 months ago)
Hello and welcome to the wonderful world of historical dress! Grab yourself a snack and put the kettle on, because we’re going to have a nice little pep-talk. You may scoff to hear that I too still consider myself a beginner with all of this; the truth is that there is so much we still don’t know about how things were made and worn throughout history. New discoveries are always being made, new theories presented, and new ideas tested every day, so there are always things to be learned—even by those who call themselves ‘experts’! The best advice I can give is this: 1) Get involved with the historical costumer’s/dress historian's communities online; this is one of the most helpful things I did. They (we!) are some of the most encouraging and inspiring people you will get to interact with, and you will not only learn so much from them, but they will constantly inspire you to keep going, to try harder, and to produce work better than you thought possible. I’m really quite partial to the crowd over on Instagram, but there are also some fantastic Facebook groups for specific and wider periods of dress, depending on where your interests lie. (I'm not on any other social media so can't advise there, but perhaps someone else may chime in.) Don’t be shy, and do n o t feel intimidated! People are almost always willing to bestow their wisdom upon you because the only thing better than having knowledge is sharing it. 2 ) Read. Read read readreadreadread r e a d. The purpose of publication is to share knowledge and information that others may not have access to, or to consolidate years of detailed research that not everyone has the time to conduct; for example, those with connections to museums are able to go and study objects, and can publish notes and patterns for those who aren’t able to get appointments for these things. Someone may have spent a decade investigating the history of lace and published years of findings in a book that you can reference to find that perfect bobbin lace pattern for your 18th century gown. But primary research (that is, consulting sources, objects, texts, portraits, &c.) that originate from the period you are working in are really the best place to gain the most information. Because the other thing about reading is that you must, MUST read critically: question where someone has gotten their information from, and decide whether you can trust it. It is very easy to misinterpret a fold in a portrait, or to mis-measure an old, rotted, warped sleeve on an extant garment. (Or to just run illogically wild with a theory; I've seen it happen!) Trust your instincts based on evidence you yourself have seen and deemed valid. When in doubt, go back to the contemporary source if it’s available to you. Ultimately we’re all working from the same original material, so don’t hesitate to look at surviving evidence and draw your own conclusions; they may be just as accurate (and valid!) as those of someone with a fancy academic title. In my opinion, some of the most detailed and thorough research on extant clothing to date can be found in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion series, as well as the V&A series on 17th Century Dress. Blogs are great for getting an idea of how people have problem solved in their own interpretations of projects, but they should not be used as the sole source for research. (Likewise with my videos! Let them stand as documentation of my experience on a reconstruction, but do make use of my sources and references to verify evidence and to direct you in your own specific areas of interest.) 3 ) Have patience. This is one of the most important lessons Original Practice reconstruction will teach you (if you let it!) Even if you do choose to work by machine, the construction of a historical garment takes far longer than that of modern garments. Take the time, do NOT rush things; you will gain so much insight into the construction process, the meaning of a pattern shape, the layering of garments, by sitting and sort of meditating with a garment for a while. Make mockups, test out samples of techniques before applying them to your final project. It’s also extraordinarily helpful, if you’re a bit daunted by, say, the strange shapes of 18th century stays, to photocopy a Janet Arnold pattern, cut out the pieces, and tape them together just to see how they translate into three dimensions. It all takes time. However I have witnessed firsthand that the folks starting nowadays are learning S O much quicker, only because there is so much more easily accessible information readily available. I have personally witnessed those who are diligent, who put in regular hours (even if only one or two per day) show extraordinary growth in just a single year. It's really astonishing what a little bit of regular practice can accomplish over time! Also, do feel free to ask around if you have questions! If there’s someone who’s done a particular technique that you’re curious about, don’t hesitate to strike up a chat! Chances are, they’ll be more than happy to write you an article on how they did it (case in point: ;D). Post in a Facebook group, send someone an Instagram message, comment on their blog (hey). Just imagine that you’ve spent a great deal of time perfecting your sleeve setting method, and someone’s seen the picture of your gown and asked how on earth you’ve done it. Most likely, after a small squee of excitement, you’re going to cast aside that voiceover script you’re working on and write out a novel’s length reply. ;) Anyway, I hope all that might be useful and that it wasn't all too daunting! Really, as with anything, the only way to begin--and to improve--at anything is to just do it. I wish you all the best of luck, and I look forward to seeing your glorious historical creations floating about the internet soon!
Issa Lamp (1 day ago)
I need one in every color
Mikaelart (8 days ago)
I really want to learn how to make stuff like this but I just don’t know where to start
Elaine Allan-Davis (8 days ago)
on finding and casting historically-accurate closures, handmaderevolution.org is an excellent resource to know about. Aurora Simmons is a very skilled goldsmith, and sells custom brass buttons for around $4 each, which is a reasonable price, and honestly rather low for the quality of her work. she also specializes in medieval reproduction jewelry, and I admit my bias here since I purchased a set of matching stirrup rings for myself and my fiancee! Aurora is very kind and friendly, and would probably be quite interested in this type of project! And of course, I agree, handmade things are so beautiful and worthwhile to make.
Darja Mesarić (10 days ago)
Wauuuu!!!! You're amazing!!! Great job!!!!
Elis Tonci (11 days ago)
Bellissimo lavoro e bellissima idea e bellissimo vestito..... Tutto bello!
Morgan Bates (12 days ago)
This is very similar to the style dress I want for my wedding gown, about how long would you say it took to to make this? From pattern to finish?
Beth B (12 days ago)
You are my costuming aspiration
LittleImpaler (12 days ago)
Alisha Basso (12 days ago)
Just... wow.
Adee E.U.S (12 days ago)
Do you have a tutorial on the hair? I’d love to see one.
Danny S. (13 days ago)
I really love the combination of the colors. Great job.
Daniel de Solano (13 days ago)
I feel like a lot of us fashion history reconstruction junkies get from time to time the authenticity anguish of using industrial fabrics from time to time but just sweep it under the rug bc weaving our own fabrics would just be tooo much.
Stephanie Lim (13 days ago)
I used to do sewing before, I just don't have the patience so I stop. And when I tried I again, I just kept on pricking my fingers, I usually don't mind until my fingers reached to the point of severe bleeding. 😂😂
Oh my god this is beautiful, just absolutely beautiful.... I wish I could have one made!!! Keep up the good work!!!
Rukmani Sindhu Thangam (14 days ago)
I think the button like those you wanted is available here in India
Will Crowe (14 days ago)
The trim you used is quite a bit like what I would know as a "galloon". I am familiar with the term from my association with Krista West, an expert in fine Orthodox Christian Ecclesiastical vestments (and the tailor of all five of my Deacon's sets). Watching her videos is probably why YouTube suggested your videos -- and I am glad that they did! Even though I know nothing about sewing, I really enjoy watching a master craftsman at work, regardless of profession. I have certainly learned a lot about handmade clothing by watching you. How do you keep from sticking your finger a thousand times? I hope you continue to share your projects.
Mary Knudson (15 days ago)
Is there anyway to get my hands on a pattern for this?
Pietro97 (15 days ago)
CosmicVisitor (17 days ago)
Third video of yours that I've watched - this its a highly entertaining series. You are a very talented and I appreciate the effort you put into researching and informing your viewers. Well done!
Donald Holman (17 days ago)
Great work.
Donald Holman (17 days ago)
You are an artist. Great work. Thank you for sharing
Donald Holman (17 days ago)
Wool and silk belong together.
Donald Holman (17 days ago)
The button holes look like little mouth.
Bookwyrm (20 days ago)
Your videos are therapeutic to watch; the attention to detail, the elegance, and your commentary are so soothing but also have an infectious enthusiasm.
Brandon Brooks (20 days ago)
This is LOVELY!!!!
Amanda H (20 days ago)
Please sell a pattern and take my money! 😍 Omg I have some cast metal buttons I just now feel like I scored some rare finds! I got them from a friend who's family had 3 generations of embroiders, tailors and the like!
Darcie Merriweather (23 days ago)
Beautiful gown and I prefer to hand sew as well
Alma Celeste (24 days ago)
Ah someday I hope to be making really pretty dresses!!
Leigh C. (24 days ago)
Man I would not have the patience to do this
CatFish 233 (25 days ago)
Natalie Putnam (25 days ago)
I am beyond impressed, excellent job
Emma Johnson (26 days ago)
The moment I saw the green fabric I knew it was veeeeery similar, if not the same as the fabric I used for a full length dress. Oh how I miss it. Found it in a thrift shop a couple of years back
J N Pretty On Top (26 days ago)
This came out absolutely gorgeously, and I love it!
Eileen Wallace (26 days ago)
This is incredible! And it turned out so beautiful! Amazing!
Allie G (27 days ago)
That last pic was amazing! Was really interesting to finally watch this! I previously watched you and your sister recreate a painting... that was great too!
Grace Olson (27 days ago)
I'm so in awe at this project! You are so inspiring and intelligent, Bernadette!
marian smith (28 days ago)
You, our dear sewing friend, should be in movies. You are so lovely and your creations lovely as well. So very beautiful your dress is. Thanks for sharing.
Ericat (29 days ago)
I wish I could make my own costumes and clothing like you can.
faizah saeed (29 days ago)
SO beautiful! Can't get over this dress Loved watching you making it 💘
Sheila S (1 month ago)
That is absolutely gorgeous and your patience is astonishing. All that hand sewing!!
eetadakimasu (1 month ago)
Always amazing!
Anna Ferrara (1 month ago)
That turned out drop dead gorgeous! It's like you stepped right out of a Book of Hours.
Mere Schreibstein (1 month ago)
"Because I'm a heathen"... you, my dear, are fantastic
allen taylor (1 month ago)
This part one and two 15th century dress making project really helped me out in a project of my own. we were working on doing a cosplay project and we were trying to figure out how to create the black gown from a movie  called Queen Millennia and we never thought about looking into a medieval pattern for a science fiction costume until we saw the completed outfit of this tutorial project and saw how the structure  and shape of the 15th century dress was similar to the gown the  Space queen wore. Thank you again for sharing your sewing adventures and we can't wait to see more! :)
Lady Aede (1 month ago)
You are one of the best sewing teachers! I am learning to sew and you talk about the tiniest details, such as how to hand flat fell a seam or how to handmake eyelet holes. It might seem stupid but this is so helpful for me right now because I can't always afford to buy tbe right kind of foot or right kind of a tool as a beginner. Knowing how to finish or do things with hand stitches helps so much when i have no idea how to get my machine to do it properly. Please keep up the great work!
Tiny Fit Chic (1 month ago)
Sherry Simpson (1 month ago)
Love your videos!
Michael Miller (1 month ago)
you have reminded me that the running stitch is a thing and that I don't have to backstitch everything
Trinklet (1 month ago)
I think I'm in love 😍
James Creative (1 month ago)
They probably had some form of powdered pigment that they could have rubbed on with the pointed bit of a flat piece bone or wood to mark the pattern. They also could’ve used bits of charcoal, from the hearth, sharpened to a point. Or soft limestone? I mean, silk back then was far too expensive to potentially ruin with ink stains, so they MUST have had some form of dry markings.
Lin Wong (1 month ago)
So I know practically ass about sewing and making clothes but love looking at historical dress and also really appreciate historical accuracy and effort you put into making this. It felt really educational and makes me wanna pick up sewing some time.
*when you took fashion design for a semester but you still have no idea what she's talking about* ...yes.
Eich Kay (1 month ago)
Watching you stitch that dress without a thimble makes my fingers hurt.
Sahra Jones (1 month ago)
Love the archaeological touches, tickles my nerdie bones :)
Janet Heyob (1 month ago)
Fascinating! Thanks for sharing.
Rachel Harbison (1 month ago)
That dress is gorgeous! I can't believe all of the work that you put into it! I reminds me a bit of a more historically accurate version of Buttercup's iconic red dress from The Princess Bride.
MommyScientist (1 month ago)
Sara Burke (1 month ago)
Do you sell these????
jeanjaz (1 month ago)
@Bernadette Banner- Nearly (oh gosh I feel old) 50 years ago, My mom, Sis, and I were Very privileged to go to a private wedding of the Arab aristocracy. (Saudi Arabia) We were friends with a princess of the Saud family and were invited as her guests and the ONLY non Arabs there. She was probably related to the young bride and helped with organizing the "women's side" of the wedding. We were only there for 8 hours of one day of a three day celebration - the part where the bride and groom come sit on a decorated platform for about an hour and serve each other tea while little (virgin) girls in little FANCY expensive white dresses presented them with flowers and gifts and played in the area in front of the platform and sat on their laps. We thought we were buying expensive dresses (for the 70s when a dress $60 was high end!) with my sister's and my dress being $100 each and my mom's $200 bought in Saudi where things were even cheaper than the U.S., but we looked like Walmart sales rack dresses in comparison to the other dresses there. They were so beautiful, heavy, and adorned with gold and silver embroidery and gemstones and pearls. Our own friend's gown was a black chiffon like material (I'm not good with knowing materials) and was literally covered with gold thread embroidery and some sparkly white gems and gold beads (and no, they would not have been imitation or synthetic - our friend's father was the minister over the gold souk - marketplace). So, the reason I am writing this to you is those years we lived in Saudi Arabia, they were still very medieval in many of their practices. (They have come a long way since then - I've heard that women are being allowed to drive there!) Some of the gowns at that wedding were Paris originals, but many were hand tailored. Our friend told us that the hand tailored ones had their sleeves sewed closed by their maids, then removed the stitches in the disrobing every time they wore them. The sleeves were very tight like in that painting and I had never thought about it being the same technique until you were talking about the problem. We were surprised at people going to that extent to get dressed and the seams didn't even LOOK handsewn closed, but there were many poor people and beggars in the streets in those years, "hired" help was very cheap. (they probably had slaves even, but they never would have spoken about it to an American.) Anyway, maids sewing and ripping seams every time you dressed was no big deal since labor was so cheap. Anyway, that might be the answer to your sleeves.
Rebecca Barker (1 month ago)
Absolutely Gorgeous!
Fiona Küchler (1 month ago)
This is so amazing!
L M S (1 month ago)
I have been enjoying your channel immensely! I am so impressed with your skills, your knowledge and your lovely presentation. It is like time traveling. Thank you!
LadicusAiur (1 month ago)
But was it period accurate ink? Seriously though, it's so beautiful, and awesome that you're able to show things like this, very inspiring. :)
Aspen Wicce (1 month ago)
Absolutely delightful! I'm thrilled I found your channel <3
LadyLiberty WDC (1 month ago)
My late mother was an expert needlewoman who designed & executed beautiful handmade buttonwholes, embroidered details, & English smocking. This video reminds me of my childhood & inspirations. Cheers from a fellow designer!
Alisha Veits (1 month ago)
Rogue Wolf (1 month ago)
Wow😳 Such a beautiful gown! You did an excellent job! Just out of curiosity...how long did this project take you to complete from start to finish? I can roughly guess how long it would take with the use of a sewing machine but I’m interested to know how long it took by hand. I enjoy sewing by hand as it’s almost meditative for me. But thus far I only sew quilt squares and the occasional complete quilt by hand. Although I have thought about attempting to sew clothing by hand as my hand stitching has improved. I LOVE historical dress and would LOVE to have some gowns to wear to festivals & events. But I would need to make them myself as those sold online & at such festivals/events typically cost WELL OVER $200! (Which I COMPLETELY understand as the time & work that goes into such pieces is extensive) But that’s a bit over what I can afford to spend on an article of clothing I would only wear 1-2 times a year at most!😂😂 By making it myself I’m certain I can make a fairly beautiful gown under $100. Which is my other question...roughly how much in materials alone did this gown cost to make?
524sbth (1 month ago)
Really neat to see you see by hand I'm sure it could take hours but it gives me a good craft to pursue.
Delanie Specht (1 month ago)
Hello! Just hit the red button! Love your videos! I don't know if this is something you would be interested in, or if possibly you have a pattern recommendation: I am looking at a fantasy Robe a la Francaise, and although I have seen tutorials on the the over and under dress and the stays, I cannot find a good tutorial on the paniers. I would love to see how they are put together in a video!
Jeanie McMahon (1 month ago)
You are simply charming! So enjoy watching and learning from your exquisite sewing techniques. Thank you. Jeanie McMahon
Rebeca (1 month ago)
OHHHHH! The history nerd in me loves this so much!!!
Holly190 Aj (1 month ago)
I love this!
Jennifer Squires1988 (1 month ago)
I find your videos very fascinating and amazingly helpful and beautiful
Evabell13 (1 month ago)
i am unsure about the metal buttons. I haven't done much research on those, but i do know that there were round buttons, but they were mostly cloth covered buttons. I did some research on the Moy gown from Ireland and they were round buttons, so i can't imagine your round buttons are entirely wrong.
Beth Bowen (1 month ago)
"Generally just screaming about the wonders of historical dress." I've never related to something more in my entire life lol.
Nicki LovesDogs (1 month ago)
Now that's what I call sewing meditation. Fantastic work.
Deborah W. (1 month ago)
I adore these videos!
Diana Chapman (1 month ago)
AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL! The details you put into your work and the tiny stitches are superb!
marian smith (1 month ago)
49Nutmeg (2 months ago)
My knees and back ache every time I see you cutting out a garment...Oh, the joy of youth!...lol Absolutely love your work and conviction to keeping things done in the time period. Keep up the good work and know that I'll be here watching and enjoying.
eh schmeh (2 months ago)
is felling stitch porn a thing
Mea C (2 months ago)
It is a beautifully made gown. The color combo is gorgeous and the attention to detail makes it seem very authentic. A lot of hard work. That being said, the medieval age had over-the-bust seams but not princess seams, which are a 19th century invention. Over-the-bust seams end at the shoulder instead of the armpit. I apologize if this comes across as pedantic but I've done historical costuming for awhile now so guess I've become a costume nazi.
Emily Rowland-Rawson (2 months ago)
THAT HAIRPIN IS GORGEOUS! please tell me where you got it.
Kiera (2 months ago)
I don't know what your talking about most of the things me but I still enjoy it thoroughly. This is so pretty!!!
Hilary Marquez (2 months ago)
Holly crap it's like she stepped out of the painting!
Ghosteriz (2 months ago)
All the sudden you get caught in time travel back to 15th centuries.
Satu Mannonen (2 months ago)
Fantastic outcome! I just started my first medieval dress and this gave my so much great ideas, thank you so much!
Germania Kuoni (2 months ago)
You do beautiful work!! I wish I had learned how to sew. Seems like nobody does it anymore 😔
SewCal Sewcialite (2 months ago)
Wow, very cool and inspirational!
ANTIQUEFOTOS (2 months ago)
It's so nice to find so many young women excelling in this field. Even knitting and tatting is getting a comeback!
juicyfruit133 (2 months ago)
She speaks differently
Robin Nelson (2 months ago)
Great work. I love historical clothing. Everything about it. Your hand work was amazing
Hafsa Fossie (2 months ago)
Bernadette your work is beautiful love how you hand stitch the garment with details.
D. Tasker (2 months ago)
Did you iron or steam your fabric at all during this process? Would a medieval seamstress have done so?
AlvaroManiac1 (2 months ago)
The finished gown looks stunning. I appreciate the time you took and your attention to detail. Superb work!!!
JoAnne McNIff (2 months ago)
Absolutely beautiful, great job.
Maiken May (2 months ago)
Sooo pretty!
Mme Lafimee (2 months ago)
this is amazing! your attention to detail and historical knowledge floors me. I aspire to be like you in that sense.
Miss Velours (2 months ago)
It's sooo so beautiful, thank you for sharing your amazing project!! <3 I'm gonna try it out and start a simple medieval dress.

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