Vasquina y Cuerpo Baxo de Raxa Para Muger
I made this dress according to the pattern for a "Vasquina y cuerpo baxo
de raxa para muger" by Juan de Alcega as reproduced in "The Tailor's
Pattern Book" (f.60). The name of this pattern has been translated by
Jean Pain and Cecilia Bedford as a "Kirtle and low-cut bodice of cloth rash
for a woman" (page 45). Juan de Alcega was creating patterns for
fashions which would have been current in 1589, but kirtles were also worn
earlier in the Elizabethan period.
An existing kirtle as shown in Patterns of
Fashion, figure 311, has a high neckline and no waist seam, but Janet Arnold mentions that
kirtles made for Queen Elizabeth had fitted bodices with a waist seam (Queen
Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd, page 120). In figure 183, dated to 1565, on
page 121 of Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd, Mildred Cooke, Lady Burghley
wears a kirtle with a square neckline under an open gown.
The pattern given by
Juan de Alcega consists of front and back skirt pieces and front and back bodice
pieces. The bodice pieces have a very low neckline with very narrow
straps, almost like spaghetti straps. The front waistine comes to a very
deep point. I have adapted the bodice pattern to a style which I think is
more consistent with what would have been worn twenty years earlier, in 1570.
I based my adaption on the pattern of the dress (page 104) worn by Eleanora of Toledo in
Patterns of Fashion, dated to about 1562
I cut this dress out according to the layout given by Juan de Alcega, one of
several different layouts for vasquinas y cuerpos baxas. I chose this one
because of the amount of fabric I had available to me. The skirt turned
out very narrow, and I think next time I will try to use a wider fabric, or will
try one of the other layouts. I edged the neckline and armholes of this
dress with bias tape, which is a finishing technique also found on the kirtle in
Patterns of Fashion (page 110).
||pages 44, 109-110
Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd, Janet Arnold. W. S. Maney & Son, Leeds, 1988.
Patterns of Fashion: The cut and construction
of clothes for men and women c1560-1620, Janet Arnold. Macmillan
Publishers Ltd., London, 1985.
The Tailor's Pattern Book. Ruth Bean., Carlton Bedford, 1979. Facsimile of Libro de Geometria, Pratica, y Traca, Juan de Alcega, 1589, with introduction and notes by J.L. Nevinson. Jean Pain and Cecilia Bainton, trans.