By Thimbles and Acorns
The influence of the Renaissance launched the concept of high fashion as costume began to reflect the love of art, discovery, and invention during this period in history. The clean and simple lines of medieval clothing gave way to more elaborately shaped and adorned clothing that reflected the artistic ideals of the Renaissance. In the 16th century, the Tudor’s of England brought Renaissance fashion to its climax, setting the tone for fashion design for the next four centuries. The fitted bodices and full skirts that were the mainstay of court dresses not only enhanced the the feminine features that had been idealized by Renaissance artists, but also provided a canvas in which to display one’s wealth in the form of jewels, lace, and other fine adornments.
The Hampton Court Gown is a classic fully lined Tudor style gown. The fitted bodice has a low square neckline with a slightly curved front opening that fastens with three small snaps. The full skirt is pleated in the back and opens in the front to display the kirtle or petticoat worn underneath. The bodice and skirting can be finished with decorative lace, embroidery, or beading. The wide bell shaped sleeves are trimmed with fur and the lining is pleated inside the elbow to give the sleeves a draped appearance. The key to Tudor fashion was layering and the Hampton Court Gown was designed to be worn over Thimbles and Acorns Side Laced Kirtle and Smock. The kirtle and smock not only give the gown added support and fill in the open space of the skirting, but the additional layers of color and texture along the bodice and sleeves gives the gown a complex and regal appearance. If preferred, this pattern also includes a simple petticoat that can be worn underneath the gown in place of the kirtle. The crowning glory of this gown is the quintessential English Gabled Hood. It’s gable shape not only covered the hair but provided a framework on which a noble woman could display her finest jewels and ornaments around her face.