Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Challenge #12: Pretty, Pretty Princesses

So Pretty, Pretty Princesses the 12th challenge of the Historical Sew Fortnightly. I know yay! I actually did a challenge! Seeing as how life has interfered with pretty much all the others.....

Now, princesses, when we hear that word we all likely think of those really really rich costumes from the Middle Ages or possibly even from Disney. (And the historical accurate versions are truly drool worthy, I have plans for those...) Which is a great starting point. It helps with brain storming. So originally I thought of Queen Isabella, the She-Wolf of France from the 14th Century in England. (Think of the French Princess from Braveheart, I know more drool worthy costumes). But then I had a totally out of the box idea, my absolute favorite monarch from history, Nefertari, beloved royal wife of Ramses the Great.

This is an image of Nefertari from her tomb built by Ramses the Great. The two of them are considered a great love story, possibly the greatest love story from the Ancient World. Ramses valued her so greatly that her name appears on the Treaty of Kaddish, the world's first peace treaty,  and she kept a correspondence with the queen of the Hittites. Her tomb in the Valley of the Queens is one of the largest and most ornate tombs. So there, that's my princess for the challenge. And I have to say it but The Ten Commandments got it wrong, Nefertari was so much in love with Ramses. 

I have big ornate plans to make her crown, collar, and bracelets. I will eventually. I have to finish faire stuff first. So I started at the beginning with her basic underdress, a simple skirt with two bands going over the breasts. 

 Dress Front

Dress Back

This is made of two yards of handkerchief weight white linen. I bought it from fabrics-store.com. I got the optic white. Egyptians valued their linen, the richer you were the whiter your linen. The two straps are self lined and gathered under the bust then on the top of the shoulders. They are stitched into a band under the bust that helps with the fit. Not necessarily historically accurate but an adaptation for modern views. 

The skirt is trapezoid shaped. It is stitched to the band right under the bust, you can just see the band in the above pictures. The skirt comes down into a point to form a small train. The train is artistic license. To me a train is a symbol of a princess. So I left it. (plus I couldn't figure out how to level the hem)

The gown is completely handsewn. I used undyed linen thread for the basic unseen construction and then bleached linen thread for top stitching and visible seams. 

The gown fastens down the back with hooks and eyes. Originally I had it pinned loose enough to take it on and off, but it didn't look right. Many paintings show the gowns tightly fit to the body. I couldn't think of an accurate way to do this. I mean the Egyptians were great innovators, they may have had hooks and eyes or something similar. I just may not have access to the information to prove it. I know it's a stretch. 

Now to finish off the look, we add two collars, one smaller and more everyday like and the other richer and more court like. 

"Court Collar"

"Everyday Collar"

Oh and how can one forget the absolutely awesome shoes. They're from Lover. and they just scream Egyptian Queen to me. 

There are plans for a photoshoot involving the whole look, but alas it has some problems. The gown gown is partially see through, so I need to make something to wear under it. Which is another research project. And I have to get a wig. Red hair, despite belonging to Seti I and Ramses the Great, doesn't look right here. 

Until then, Enjoy more pics:

And this would be my completely out of the box look of a Princess, or in this case a queen for the challenge. Now to talk lover into being Ramses....