Burgundian The Second

Two years ago, I tried to make a burgundian.  It worked… sort of.
This year, I made a burgundian.  It was FABULOUS.

Green silk taffeta, black cotton velveteen, lined in linen, using cotton thread.

This is part of the mostly Northshield Houppelandslide challenge to make a houppeland with a natural phenomenon theme.  I am not done with it yet, but this is the first layer with minimal decoration and I got it done and it looked nice.  So time celebrate the milestone before the next part of the party.

A bit about this dress:  It is a burgundian, not a houppelande.  For my inspiration image, I needed a tall pointy hennin and you rarely see those with Houppes.  So, burgundian it was.  It is also easier to make a Burgundian with the amount of fabric I had, which made my life a bit easier.

So, the stats:
5 yards of green silk taffeta
1.5 yards of black cotton velveteen.
(mumble) yards heavy Linen in various colors  (left overs from previous projects).

The hem is almost 200 inches around, and it is lined only in the back, around the hem (as a guard) and on the top half of the front bodice.

The fabric I used was about 60 inches wide, which is much larger than period fabrics, but meant that I could cut the gown out width wise in the front.  This was for 3 reasons.

The hem estimates are a lie here. but everything else is right.

1.)  I didn’t want a seam on the front side of the gown.
2.)  Fewer cuts, fewer mistakes.
3.)  Uses fabric efficiently.

I knew I’d have to piece the bottom a bit due to the fact that I’m on the tall side and I needed it a bit longer. That’s fine.  I plan on hiding the seam with beading later.

Making a Muslin for this took a LONG time. I had two basic plans.

1.) Gored front and back, straight inset in the middle.

2.) Front with a slope, straight insert, gore, straight back.

Toile one, plan one. PLAN FAIL.

Plan one did not work.  I think the issue was that I did not plan adequately for the Armscye, which is a pain to begin with anyway.  I made a toile based on this plan and I didn’t like it entirely.  It felt messy and not a good way of making the smoother front bodice that is typical for Burgundians.

However, I did learn my future sleeve was gonna look so gooooood….

Plan 2 started out better.  It was more efficient in fabric usage, flowed nicely from front to back and didn’t look super awkward and shabby.

toile 2 plan 2

One thing that I did here is that I also practiced my cutting pattern while constructing the toile so I could guesstimate at fabric usage in a more accurate way without panicking about waste, just about the fact that this taffeta was a PITA.  It would fray as soon as you looked at it, so most of the pieces ended up on my serger before being put together.

I moved the flare to be front only and the back is straight pieces for the most part.  All the drag from the back comes from the two gores, which are right angles with the diagonals facing to the back of the gown.  I used the center pieces to add to the length of the gown, and there’s a definite difference in length between front and back, which adds a small train.

Once I serged an pieced together the dress, it was time to add velveteen.  This stuff was a PITA too.  It left little velveteen bits EVERYWHERE and had to be serged as well. Needless to say, me and my serger became good friends over the course of this project.


At the end of it all, I decided that what I really wanted was velveteen trim on the neckline as well as the bottom rather than fur or fake fur.  It looked nice and it will be easier to adhere the next layer to it.

After that, it was time to line.  There’s nothing quite like going

Some day my linings won’t look like a hot mess, right?

“IT’S DONE…. except the lining,” so my pretty dress spent about a half week being inside out on a dress form as I worked on adding the lining by hand for the most part.  This part drove me nuts because I knew there was a pretty dress under there, but all I could see was the terrible lining pinned in place and all the seams.

A word about the lining:

I only fully lined the back.  I really am keen on the drag in the garment coming from the back and keeping the rest in line.  I lined hem guard and the bodice of the front, because the hem guard needed something to guard it (hurr hurr), and the bodice to give it a bit more stiffness that would be difficult to achieve without the lining. It also served to hide the kirtle underneath.

And TADA…. It is a dress!

I think I’m most proud of the progress I made in the last few years. I mean, the new dress looks almost professional  (I won’t nitpick my own work here, but I can see room for improvement).  I’m really pleased with the difference between my first Burgundian disaster and my new Burgundian.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s