17th Century Inspiration Strikes Again!

I have only made one 17th century gown and I loved it. It was polyester satin and featured spray-painted lace, but I adored that gown. Somebody else is adoring it now, and it’s time to make a new one.

I recently acquired an enormous amount of brown-black silk taffeta, one of those mismarked super-bargains you come by every once in a great while. I also recently found a new AD model who looks straight out of a Vermeer painting, and combining that with having recently watched “Rembrandt and I” (highly recommended!), everything has fallen in place for a whoppin’ great big Dutch 17th century gown.

Naturally, here’s some inspiration:

Portrait of a Married Couple in the Park – 1662 – Gonzales Coques
Merja of Before the Automobile – I saw this dress in person and it was *stunning*
Portrait of Lady – 1667 – Gabriel Metsu

I will probably focus on the 1660s, with the wide scooped neckline, restricted shoulders, and full cartridge-pleated sleeves, but I’m intrigued by the other decades of the 17th c too. Luckily there is quite a lot of support for patterns, research, and dress diaries, to help me through. My gown will probably be quite plain, but feature some pretty bodacious lace.

Diary of a Mantua Maker – Nicole’s gown is 1670s, a little later, but is also plain in its trimmings.
Woman playing the viola de gamba – 1663 – Gabriel Metsu
Detail from The Glass of Wine – 1661 – Vermeer

Books to reference:

Now just have to finish, y’know, all the other projects that are in-progress. 🙂


  • Talia Felix

    May 9, 2015 at 8:58 AM

    I remember reading a bit in Samuel Pepys' diary where his wife wanted some money to have lace sewn onto one of her gowns, and he told her he'd give her the money to buy a whole new gown but refused to give her any for decorating the existing.

  • Tara Mancini

    June 30, 2015 at 3:02 AM

    Fabulous ! I am making two from this time period as they are listed in two NY inventories. One side note: when looking at Dutch portraits you'll notice that the bodice while pointed low in the front, is elbow length at the sides. Whereas in two extend garments from England the bodice is long in general. Also, in the Dutch portraits there is either a jacket and skirt like in the bottom painting or as in the top white one the bodice is sewn to the skirt…the English ones are a separate bodice and skirt. I only know of one extent Dutch style gown that exists. And it does show these differences in style. It also looks a lot like Merja's gown. And belonged to a noble Swedish woman — made of white taffeta.

Leave a Reply

Discover more from American Duchess Blog

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading