Jenny La Fleur
Charles II Project - Jenny La Fleur
adventures in costuming
Charles II Project

The Charles II Project... ah yes.

I was going to say no, I really was. Problem is that I'd already given serious consideration to making a 17th century gown as part of my 2009 to-do list. I'd even gone so far as starting to research, combing the stash for fabrics and making some jewelry. Then I decided to put the project aside for another year for, I don't know, some stupid practical reason.

Then the Great Charles II Project (charlesii) was lobbied at Costume College08. Suddenly the vision of 20+ of my favorite costumers all running around in 17th century dresses and me sitting alone in a corner was un-bearable. I was in. Practicality is way over rated when there are pretties to be had!

I decided to pick a courtier rather than a mistress to portray, since the possibility of me making the "official" events is in the 10% range. I chose Frances Jennings, Lady Hamilton, Future Countess of Tyrconnel. She was the older sister of Sarah Jennings, future Duchess of Marlborough (a figure in history I love reading about). Frances was known at court for her fair hair (perhaps some blond highlights are in order!), her beauty (her nickname was "La Belle Jennings") and virtue (rare at court), and was Maid of Honour to the Duchess of York. She had rather a sad ending in life, widowed three times and died a pauper but the dress I want to make (1665-1675) would have been from her "happy days".

So I begin...

Spent some time yesterday scanning in patterns and pics from Cut of Women's Clothes and Hunnisett. I need to enlarge them and print them out so I can get started on the toiling. After staring at my books before I went to bed every night this week I feel like I'm finially getting a grasp on how these frocks went together. That combined with all the examining of and peppering koshka_the_cat with questions about her court dress at CoCo (her dress being a fossilized version of the 17th century court gown) light is dawning on this project. Yay!

I read a cool book on Einstein last year, talking about how he developed his theories with his "thought experiments". It was cool because I realized that I do something similar. I need to make a costume first in my head before I can do anything. First I design it in my head, then I have to pick it part and figure out how it goes together in my head THEN I start the mock-up process. It's especially true for a new style, new era of gown. Sometimes The "thought design/construction" is enough and I never do get around to making the costume. I've gotten it out of my system.

Wow, rabbit-trail... okay... anyway...

I'm thinking of going with something like these for the design. The fabric will be the rest of the bolt of orange faille I used for the Fire costume. I haven't decided if I want to spilt open the skirt front or not or what exactly is going on with my sleeves. I'm getting there though...

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20 comments | comment?
padawansguide From: padawansguide Date: August 14th, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC) (link)
I'm jealous of my entire F-list! I want to join in, though I won't be at Costume College!
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: August 14th, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC) (link)
I probally won't be at CoCo either but I'm not letting it stop me! :> Besides you never know...
padawansguide From: padawansguide Date: August 14th, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC) (link)
That's true - I may have to at least have the fun of planning a gown... plus there's always Costume Con, which will be in Baltimore next year! And I did hop on the chemise dress bandwagon... :-)
bauhausfrau From: bauhausfrau Date: August 14th, 2008 05:57 pm (UTC) (link)
You should consider going to coco, you are almost guaranteed an in if you teach and many people would LOVE to get a class with you on recreating movie costumes.

That aside I think there could be a fairly large contingent of us at costume CON on 09. I know a lovely someone who'd be fun to play, you even look a bit like her!

padawansguide From: padawansguide Date: August 14th, 2008 07:01 pm (UTC) (link)
I just have no idea where I'll be at with money and all that other good stuff by then - and it's so hard to get in, unless you've already been. Though you have a good point about teaching. Well, even if I don't go - there'll be Costume Con! And maybe a 17th century tea! ;-)

Thanks for the suggestion - I might go for Marie Mancini then! :-) yay!
bauhausfrau From: bauhausfrau Date: August 14th, 2008 06:18 pm (UTC) (link)
That sounds fabulous! That color orange was really stunning on you. And it's nearly the same color as the second one of those paintings, some gold trim and you're on your way. :)

I'm thinking of doing the rose colored gown in the third painting, in burgundy silk satin if I have enough or a gold/blue changeable if I don't.
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: August 15th, 2008 04:05 am (UTC) (link)
Thanks! I was thinking I needed some gold trim too. :> Like a bad girl I've got my eye on some e-bay auctions right now...

Oh either option sounds lovely, but burgandy silk satin sounds most like Castlemaine to me. :P
operafantomet From: operafantomet Date: August 14th, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC) (link)
FINALLY someone is starting on a Baroque garb. I wondered when that would happen. Good plan, can't wait to see more.
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: August 15th, 2008 04:06 am (UTC) (link)
I'm so excited! Definitely an under-explored era, especially in the online world of costuming.
sarahbellem From: sarahbellem Date: August 14th, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC) (link)
Oooh... The brocade gowns are fabulous. I am still toying with the idea of using some blue & gold silk damask for my gown, but it needs more research/thought.
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: August 15th, 2008 04:07 am (UTC) (link)
Yes indeed they are. Far out of my price-range but fun to drool over. Oh blue & gold silk damask sounds heavenly!

Edited at 2008-08-15 04:07 am (UTC)
isabelladangelo From: isabelladangelo Date: August 14th, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC) (link)
Pretties! I can't wait to see this (and everyone else's) gown(s).

I need to get a clear idea of what the heck I want to make in my head first too. If I can't picture every step of the process from the concept to the final design, the outfits do not get done.

jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: August 15th, 2008 04:08 am (UTC) (link)
Yes, they don't get done or I'm ultimatly not pleased with it. Funny that.
gilded_garb From: gilded_garb Date: August 14th, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC) (link)
*cries* I want to play too! Of course, I have a million other projects and my shape is so unpredictable that I can't (though I have been entertaining thoughts of corseting my dress form and fitting from that, but that way lies madness and heartache...)

What burns me is that I wanted a 17th century gown before any of the Charles II stuff came up. Making it later will just make me look like a pale imitator :o(
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: August 15th, 2008 04:21 am (UTC) (link)
Well the actual events are at least 9 months or a year away so there is still time to whip up something fabulous in time for CoCo if you have a mind to do so. There is always the "posing" drapery style too. Perhaps Saucette should be a mistress’s daughter since her shape and size is easier to deal with. :> I was looking at this portrait thinking the toddler’s outfit was too cute:

Not that I would be an enabler in this madness of course… :P

It does suck a little to have others think you aren't original but you are now on record as wanting one before and those that matter will believe you. :> Besides you'll be able to take advantage of all the fabulous research and dress diaries that will come out of the madness. I'm not sure if that isn't the better way to go really...

Edited at 2008-08-15 04:22 am (UTC)
gilded_garb From: gilded_garb Date: August 15th, 2008 05:00 am (UTC) (link)
You make very compelling arguments ;o) Honestly, if I get money from my in-laws this Christmas, I think I might blow it on some silk satin...

Also, why'd you have to link that painting? I now have visions of a little gown to match mine and I KNOW that's crazy!
girliegirl32786 From: girliegirl32786 Date: August 15th, 2008 10:19 pm (UTC) (link)
Just another enabler chiming in! You should totally play the cautionary tale. ;P
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: August 16th, 2008 04:00 am (UTC) (link)
'Cause I'm just mean like that. :P

Besides, Saucette will thank me one day.
girliegirl32786 From: girliegirl32786 Date: August 15th, 2008 11:16 pm (UTC) (link)
You know Im trying so hard to resist researching this project until I have money saved up for the fabric, but then you have to go a post this. So mean! :P
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: August 16th, 2008 04:02 am (UTC) (link)
I know, I'm like that. Then again I don't think it's ever too early to research... it's kinda like window shopping until you have time and budget to actually work on something right? :>
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