belfebe (belfebe) wrote,

When in Doubt, Go to the Source

Again, am I ever so happy that I postponed the making of the skirt for my Insane French Project. For one thing, I had not really thought that part through. And I definitely need a corded petticoat.

Soooo, after agonizing about construction of corded petticoats, which I would not have if I had gone one to finish my project for KASF, I went back to my Janet Arnold's Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd to check what they used to stiffen the damned things. I had been thinking about using tightly twisted linen strips as an alternative to reeds or bents, which would have been too stiff for my taste. Had twisted linen strips would have been a real alternative? Did the term "corded" meant simply whalebone, reeds, or something like that? Did they actually used cord at all or is it an urban legend? And if they used cord, which kind?

Since I had not given any serious consideration to this particular underpinning, I was just going by what other people had already done. Nevertheless, I reminded myself that the trick to a good project is on the details, particularly the underpinnings, and went to make some more serious digging.

Guess what? According to J. Arnold, they did use rope or tightly twisted linen to stiffen the farthingales, particularly when they were going for a "softer" look -- the bents or reeds being used for a "stiffer" look. And this went on and on from the early 16th C. until the end of it. Like I have insisted before, people did not wear uniforms, but kept making changes within certain parameters.

So it is back to the drawing board and back to experimenting with swatches and mock-ups. Already greta_k says that my sewing room looks like a laboratory (Dexter's Laboratory?), and ballistabob says that he is going to make a sign that reads "Bel's Laboratory."

I suddently feel the urge of wearing a white labcoat and laugh maniacally.


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