I taught two classes on 16th century Portugal at the Colegio de Iberio II
One on Pasteis de Leite
and the other on the gowns from the St Auta Altarpiece
Photo of one of the many test cooks for this feast
I did not like how the first chemise/camisa I made was sitting wiht the dress. The fabric i had chosen was too heavy to sit like the chemise in the portrait. It was also very itchy! A friend suggested that the linen fibres had been cut to a similar length to the cotton and so I was being spiked by many sharp linen threads.
I therefore chose to make a new chemise out of a much lighter fabric, which was a cotton voile. This is much cheapier than a linen and finer than any linen sold in my country. I felt this made it a good alternative to use. I used exactly the same construction method as the first so hand sewed the entire garment. I found a different gold trim for the neckline and I much prefer the colour of gold in these two the first one!
I will come back to do a write up of Layer 2 and 3 but for the moment here is Layer 4. The recipes can all be found on this document. Here I created a Spanish/Portuguese dinner for a friend and I of Moorish Chicken, Moorish Eggplant and a Pottage of Onions with Portuguese custard tarts for dessert.
I have now finished both the chemise (camisa) and the petticoat (saia) which is my first layer done.
To put the petticoat together I whip stitched the edges of all the pieces by hand and then whip stitched them together to make up the body of the skirt.
I decided I wanted to make a petticoat as part of my under layer. I have a red silk petticoat I often wear under my dresses and I find it does a great job of adding shape to my skirts. I have had some fabric that I've been meaning to turn in to one for some time now so this seemed like a great opportunity! I have no evidence that Portuguese women wore a petticoat but it is interesting that Alcega has a number of examples of under and over skirts in Libro de Geometria which is only separated from my chosen area by 60 years and one border. It seems to be very plausible that Portuguese women would have worn some kind of underskirt to support the over layers. I am also not planning on making a kirtle to go under my dress as I want to wear it in one of the hottest parts of the year. Hopefully my petticoat will give me extra volume in my skirt without adding extra warmth!
I had a good look through the faldellin and vasquina patterns in Alcega. I was very taken with the vasquina de feda para muger gorda which is pattern number 58. This translates as a "kirtle of silk for a fat woman".
Image from https://www.wdl.org/en/item/7333/view/1/132/
I am in fact a fat woman so this greatly appealed to me!
The fabric I am using is pretty but not especially authenic. It is an embroidered polyester taffeta. Normally I would prefer to use silk but as it was taffeta meant it had the body I wanted to provide support. Its other big selling point was the embroidery which is done by machine and not authenic in design. It is however very pretty and reasonably priced. The last two points overcame my concern about authenticity. As it is a petticoat it is not going to be seen by anyone except me and my nearest and dearest so it is not the end of the world!
I was aiming to finish the chemise by 1 November and I just squeaked in, finishing it at 8pm 31 October! After I whip stiched the pieces together I hand sewed three rows of gathering stitch about half inch down from the edge of the neckline. This creates a frill when the stitches are pulled tight.