I have been much remiss in telling all of my adventures in costuming of late. As I am sure everyone is dying to hear about the stages of my dress (the good, the bad and the really ugly). My plan is to post information on each step (we'll see how many I skip) in order to document the work that went into this the past three months or so. I made the following layers: Smock, corset, farthingale (hoopskirt), Petticoat/underskirt, dress, partlet, false sleeves and hat.
Today's post is about the trials and tribulation of my farthingale. A Spanish Farthingale is a shaped hoop skirt work in Tudor england. The effect is to turn your dress into a hover car. And when you wear it you can't navigate around your house for the fittings if its messy (as mine is most frequently).
For the farthingale I used fabric that Mom gave me ages ago (since no one sees it anyways) in red with white hoop casing (on the inside I am a candy cane). I used directions from Alcega's 1589 farthingale pattern as interpreted in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion with help from the Elizabethan Costuming Page for interpretation. The hoops are plastic tubing (.19 a foot) from the local hardware store. Review: it kinks...a lot. Yeah, first I tried steaming the plastic to get it to unkink, in the kitchen sink this time. I then placed it in front of the heater with boxes on top of it. It looked unkinked, so I cut lengths and started feeding them to my fabric. No biscuit. As soon as I tried this, the plastic decided it wanted to be a flamanco skirt:
After Dorothy and I laughed ourselves silly, (and tried it on multiple times) I tried the bathtub. I put the tubing in the bathtub and poured hot water on the tubes. I let them sit until they relaxed, took the farthingale out, and let it hang dry. This was moderately sucessful:
But still, my skirt had definite flamanco aspects. And was bathtub shaped.
Next, I tried my shower, seeing as my shower is square and not rectangular as is a bathtub. Again I let the farthingale hang dry so the weight of the skirt would help the hoops hold their shapes. Sucess!