Well, to be honest, the planning stage of this costume – as it’s not really difficult – was just about the answer to one single question:
Have my eyes stopped working properly, or is that really in the portrait?
Now, my eyes may be deceiving me and I’ve never heard of nor seen anything like this anywhere else – but in the painting it seems as if the sides and back of the overskirt and bodice were made of black velvet, while the front sides of the overskirt and the front of the bodice were made of blue satin.
I have looked at different digital versions of that painting, and no matter how I adjust the colors – it still seems that way to me.
And I like it.
So – perhaps the sides of Maria’s gown in the portrait have darkened excessively over time, or my eyes don’t work properly, or the scans are bad, *or* that is actually *really* a rare historical version of an Italian Elizabethan gown – but I like it, and so that’s the way I’ve decided to make it. See for yourselves what I mean:
Here’s a picture of the portrait – twice, actually.
On the right side, I have marked in red what I *think* must be black velvet.
The left side is unedited.
Note the slight shifting of the velvet fabric on the right torso side, close to the skirt – there’s satin to be seen between the side front trim and the velvet. Could that be a possibility of shaping the bodice in a different way than on the side back? I think I remember Janet Arnold mentioned something similar when writing about one of the Neuburg Doublets, but am not certain.
Decide for yourselves if my assumption could be right that the bodice and overskirt *might* possibly be constructed from two different and in this case very strangely cut materials: