Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Just say no to granny panties

You ever read the really lame Harlequin romance novels where they start waxing rhapsodic about the girl with the amazing contrast of gorgeous silk undies under the bland business suit or utilitarian denim? Yeah, me too. My early teens were full of them. I was shaped and warped by them I'm afraid. Between that and years of nursing bras and fat girl underwear I've decided its time for a change. At least as regards my Italian dress.

I know that the embroidered silk drawers are a courtesan thing, not to mention a bit late for my 1540's dress, but I don't think I care. Nobody is going to see them but me and they'll make me happy. There are records of silk and satin breeches in inventories of some of the queens so I suppose I could really dig and justify if I felt like it, but I'm just going to go with, "I'm making them because I want to." I was folding some pink linen I'd washed with the thought of using it for the girls' Easter dresses and it struck me that it was the exact pink in the floral embroidered drawers in PoF4 and it decided me. It's not silk, obviously, but I have it and it'll be easier to embroider than silk. Its actually a rayon/linen blend so there is quite a bit of luster and its got a very nice drape. Besides that I have 10 yards I got on clearance for $2 a yard so using it will give me more cash for other parts of the outfit.

Now to decide what to embroider. I might go even further from accuracy and do something Persian. The diagonal layout of the ones in the painting in Janet Arnold reminds me a lot of Persian Naqshi trousers where the bottoms of the trousers are embroidered in diagonal bands up to about the knee. I just got a copy of A Brief Guide to Persian Embroidery and it burning a hole in the back of my brain, so some of it might need to come out (in a very simplified form.) There is a thought that the Italian drawers were influenced by Moorish/Arabic styles so its a silly stretch but not a discordant element I don't think. Should certainly be a fun project and make me smile by making "sexy underwear."


  1. I'm making drawers too! But I'll admit it, I'm making them from a cotton because dammit I LOVE cotton against my skin. Yes I know its not as luxurious as silk or linen, but my favorite underthings I've made have all been cotton!
    I however, am going to do some split crotch ones because I've been intrigued by the thought of them and wonder if they really will make potty time easier with all my skirts (I've been told by other ladies that they are heaven when it comes to port-o-potty time with all your garb layers on).
    I did pick a completely and utterly not period design to embroider them as well. Though the extent italian ones say "Il Coer" (I think.. can't remember the exactly spelling.. hell its like almost 2am) I'm going to blackwork flames and hearts on mine, with the saying translated into Italian "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?"

    All because I laughed so hard when it occured to me that I nearly burned myself with the flat iron and had to go tell Sal!

  2. Yes split crotch undies work wonders! I made a pair for a victorian gown and I will never go back!

    Embroidered silk drawers are not just a courtesan thing. There are wardrobe accounts of noble women with embroidered undies and silk undies and embroidered silk undies. Courtesans and Noble women dressed very alike- it is part of the reason there are so many laws on the books about what a courtesan can and cannot wear- not that they did any good, if you paid the fine you could wear or not wear whatever you wanted