Nicole Kipar
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The 1660s
Restoration Costume Comes to Life

Part 2, Page 9
Gentry and Aristocracy, Women:Costume Reconstruction: Assembly

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5
Lower Class Women and Men Gentry and Aristocracy, Women Gentry and Aristocracy, Men The Whole Look: Accessories Costume Focus: Women's Headwear & Neckwear

All of the following images open in a new window for a detailed study.
With many thanks to Anne Sophie, who models her costume in these photos. The dress she is wearing and working on is the one she made entirely on her own, using Janet Arnold's pattern.
With many thanks again to Ben who still enjoys the lacing even after many many times and too many whining ladies.

When you make such a dress using preferably Janet Arnold's small scale pattern then never forget to make a toile and always bear in mind that if the toile is boned lightly just for the fitting and it fits well, the final garment will be boned much heavier and thus he bodice will be much tighter!

PS. The making of the dress you see here took place in the middle of the night with pictures taking about 2 am on the very night before the very first show... I could not believe it but Anne Sophie, Comtesse de Neville was fully dressed in the morning!

The first fitting of the bodice over the chemise and Ben is using ordinary string for a lacing cord. The tabs are unbound and the sleeves not even cut out yet. Fiddling with the lacing holes which are a little small. You can see the chemise sleeves have not been gathered yet at the cuffs.
This is the facial expression one has when the stiffly boned bodice is a little too tight and laced a little too fast! The tabs on the front can be seen very well. The same lacing technique is used which can be seen on the ivory knife handle from 1660. It creates diagonal stripes.
A good view of the tabs in the back, the lacing and the very low set armholes. It is easy to see why a lady cannot raise her arms. The bumroll is fastened around the waist to make sure the skirts sit on the right height and in the right way. The neckline is cut very low.
Anne Sophie did not cartridge pleat the petticoat and skirt but knife pleat it. She had less material available and though most of the skirts seems to have Ben cartridge pleated there is evidence for knife pleats. Here the dress with the petticoat. The dress with skirt as well, which was already gold lace. I am helping her here to find the right spot for the gold lace on the bodice. The broad lace she found in Paris is applied down the front and tucked under at neckline and stomacher.
With the centre rows secured I pin the lace along the curved seam at the front so that it can be sewn down. She finished the dress at about 4 am and we had to get up at 6. The joys of re-enactment... Here she is, in all her glory, Anne Sophie d'Armagnac, Comtesse de Neville at Vaux-le-Vicomte in beige silk dress and sheer silk neckerchief along the neckline.

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Nicole Kipar 1998