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Flemish Working Woman, 2006

This outfit is based on Drea Leed's research into Flemish working women's clothes as they are depicted in the many genre paintings available to us. It makes a nice change from Elizabethan English clothes, and it's extremely comfortable and practical to wear, with plenty of layering options to cover any kind of weather or working conditions. Everybody I've shown it to immediately identifies it as Flemish, regardless of their familiarity with the art, so it's a very distinctive look as well!

Although I took into account Jennifer Thompson's additional theories on the construction of the front-closing overgown, I followed Drea's version fairly closely, using the published booklet version of her construction guidelines. This outfit has a linen smock, olive-green gathered kirtle also suitable for use with some Elizabethan outfits, red wool overgown with rust-orange linen lining, pin-on navy blue wool sleeves, and a linen cap and partlet (phew!). I accidentally cut the bodice of the overgown so that the front opening is a lot wider than I intended-- there really isn't much of a front bodice at all-- but this dress is so flexible that it still looks fine. It needs a very long lace, though, and this one didn't cut it. I'd also wear this gown with an apron were I to wear it again; I have one out of blue linen, but forgot to bring it to this shoot.

I'm very pleased with the way this gown falls. These are rolled pleats, and they come out just fantastic with the right fabric... which this, apparently, is.

Photography courtesy of Aurora Vanderbosch, Grace Notes Photography.

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