Recommended music to listen to while reading this page, to put you in a mood likely to mine:
In Extremo – “Liam”
Schandmaul – “Teufelsweib”
(I’m seriously thinking abut making some kind of music video with the finished costume)
Introduction and historical background
I must admit that I had almost forgotten that gown until I accidentally stumbled over an image of it.
I *think* I started planning it about 3 years ago; back then, I thought that the picture would depict Boudicca / Boadicea. The picture I had back then was just black and white, and the part which is now clearly visible as a blue cloak looked like a gown in the b/w picture. Eventually, when discussing this gown on a message board, I was pointed to a colored illustration of it and completely fell in love.
If Queen Maeve was a historical or mythological queen or goddess doesn’t seem quite clear according to my researches. I have found two interesting sites dealing with that subject, though – this one and this one.
According to those pages, Queen Maeve is supposed to have lived around the 1st century B.C. – which definitely doesn’t make her a medieval, but ancient Celtic queen (“Medieval” would describe the timespan between 400 – 1400 AD – anything before that would be “ancient”). This narrows the clothing possibilities a bit, but I want to find an acceptable line between Leyendecker’s illustration and the original historical person.
This picture – and therefore also the costume – is part of many memories – good ones as well as bad ones.
Good ones about meeting and talking to people I liked; bad ones about *exactly* the same thing (Confusing? Yes, definitely.).
However, as I still love the ‘dream silk gown’ (German: Traumseidenkleid), as it once was called by several people including myself, I have decided to add it to this page of planned costumes; though I have no idea when to make it – or what for to make it; and even if I probably won’t use (much) silk when making it, the name ‘dream silk gown’ will remain forever in my head whenever I’m looking at or referring to it, which, admittedly, didn’t happen too often in the last c. 18 months.
I want to make it because I want to remember the good times and learn from the bad.
I want to remember the people how they were. I know I can’t turn back time and change some things that have happened – not from their side nor from mine. I know I won’t be able to change some people’s opinions about me (even if some of them, surprisingly, themselves didn’t have any problems with me, they now seem to have a problem with me – well, that’s not my problem.).
But I want to remember. Want to remember a gazillion of people in my house; the laughter, the fun we had. Want to remember myself, standing in my kitchen, crying helplessly about a statue or a DVD or shedding tears in front of my computer about a necklace. Don’t want to forget those times, no matter what people think or say about me now. Want to cherish the memory of those people.
Don’t want end up doing what they do: Pretend that there never were good times, and pretend that we never were friends. That’s something I would never, ever do and something I have never, ever done.
Uhm – I’m getting carried away, sorry – but those thoughts are all bound to that illustration, and I cherish them.
Back to the gown: I already have some ideas how to make it.
The ‘red’ bodice as well as the ‘white’ skirt in the picture would definitely have to be made of linen or hemp; those would have been period materials. I think I’ll adapt one of Marc Carlson’s patterns of extant garments for those two items.
The cloak, however, would be made of blue velvet, with satin borders in light green with either embroideries or paintings in gold. For the velvet part of the cloak I would also like to use one of the ‘pieced’ cloak patterns of Marc – such as the St. Bridget cloak, for example.
So much for the planning. Let’s see if I will ever make it…
And if you should wonder why I am listing this gown just now:
Besides having found an image of it accidentally, as already mentioned, I just got to know a lady who has a likely relationship to a certain gown – good memories and bad. She wants that particular gown to remember the good times. And when I started thinking about if I ever had such a love/hate gown, then I could just come up with Queen Maeve.
Let’s have a look at the picture once more:
The woman depicted by J. P. Leyendecker wears several items of clothing:
- The very prominent cloak.
This cloak has an interesting closure; here’s an enlarged close-up:
As you can (hopefully!) see the front edges of the cloak’s neckline overlap in some kind of triangular shape. This indicates that the cloak will have to be cut in some kind of “a bit more than half circle” shape – like this:
As you can see, I have right away also placed the circular designs in this pattern layout, though they are still not filled with ornaments, as they are in the original illustration.
The only thing that’s wrong in this layout are, actually, the already mentioned triangular ends towards the neckline – the green border will have to be wider.
The circles will be filled with different elaborate “celtic” patterns – such as, for example, this one here:
or, if I shouldn’t want to make them as elaborate as this (which I still don’t know), I could also use a more simple pattern much likely to the original fillings of the circles – this one here:
I will make those patterns in each circle with the ‘golden foil’ method, which I have also used on my ‘Pelican gown’ armlet.
The borders of the cloak will be decorated in the same way, just not with circles but a repeating border.Here’s my planned fabric pattern layout for the blue and green areas:
The grey lines are set at spaces of 5cm, which will be 50cm /1/2meter in reality (in a scale of 1/10). Each picture is a little less than 140cm / 55 inch wide, which is a common fabric width. If you would be using a different fabric width, or be smaller / taller than I am, this layout would of course have to look different.
With those layouts it’s simple for me to calculate how much fabric I will need, and that is:
Considering that the cloak will have to be floor length, and my neck-over-shoulder-to-ground measure is about 160cm / 63 inch. which I have used in a scale of 1/10 in the above shown fabric layouts, I will have to buy about 5 meters / 6.5 yards of the ‘blue’ fabric, plus about 2,5 meters / 3.5 yards of the ‘green’ fabric (assuming that, as shown in the fabric layout picture above, I will piece the cloak border from that fabric) and 6 meters / 7.5 yards of an orange-golden changeant fabric which will be used for the lining of the cloak and which will have to cover not only the blue areas but also the green borders at the hem.
- The red overdress
This can be seen in various places in the original illustration, such as……the front middle, where it is laced over a white underdress…
I’m thinking of using something likely to this:
Simplicity “9246” pattern (I mean the red dress), except that I would make larger, trumpet-shaped sleeves and that I would omit the white collar, which I find totally misplaced on that gown.
- The white underdressThis would most definitely have to be some kind of coarse chemise. The white underdress also shows…
…below the red overdress lacing;
- Accessories: Queen Maeve has many things more than just the fabric costume in the picture; those are…:
…the golden circlet:
worn around her head;
…some other items, like…
…a white / golden shield, a metal fire holder (don’t know the correct expression for this thing, sorry!), some furs, a spear behind her and, of course, the beautiful wooden throne. I’m not planning to make or get either of those last mentioned items, just the jewelry and the shoes mentioned above.
This way to the dress diary, please…