Maggie, one of our girls, volunteers one day a fortnight at the Costume Hire department of the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, where she makes costumes for the department.
This is a 17th century dress recently made by Maggie. It is now available for hire along with hundreds of other period costumes .
The main fabric is flocked taffeta. The bodice is lined with calico, the skirt is interlined with muslin. The bodice, especially the front panel (stomacher), is heavily boned.
The virago sleeves are formed of strips of fabric over a plain taffeta which is gathered onto a calico inner sleeve at the cuff, elbow and shoulder.
The detail on the stomacher was created by first tacking strips of ribbon onto the satin base fabric. Then 3 lengths of metallic cord were clipped into a cording foot for the sewing machine. This foot keeps the cords in line while they are stitched over. A decorative stitch was used with metallic thread to couch the cords onto the ribbon.
The top and bottom edges of the bodice and round the stomacher are defined with piping.
The bodice is closed with lacing at the back, the heavily pleated skirt is fastened with hooks and bars.