I've had a love of the 17th century for several years (I made my first 17th c gown back in early 2010), because of the graceful seam lines on the bodices, and the big poufy sleeves and full skirts. When I learned in summer 2012 that the theme for Costume College 2013 would be Cavalier, I knew I wanted to make another 17th century gown for the Gala. I stumbled across the portrait of Amalia Van Solms by Van Horthorst in my research, and right away, the color jumped out at me. Unfortunately, I live in Seattle, far from any fabric store that carried such a vibrant silk taffeta, and even after buying the fabric online, I wasn't happy with the color that arrived. Luckily, I was able to make a trip to the LA Fabric District last March, and located the right color. After that, everything started to fall into place.
The bodice is lined with two layers of cotton twill, and boned with flat steel. The sleeves and the skirt cartridge pleats are also lined with twill, to help give the pleats the body to stand out. The bodice and skirt waistband are finished with self-bias, and the bodice is trimmed with two different types of lace, rhinestone findings, and pearlized buttons, with a satin bow. The gown is worn over a quilted petticoat, petal-shaped bum pad, and chemise. I also made the pearl drop earrings to match the painting.
I have only worn this once so far, to the gala at Costume College, but it was a lot of fun to wear 17th century along with a lot of other people. It always seems like such an underappreciated period in women's fashion.
See more at Rebecca's blog