Norman frock

I promise I will try and get a picture of it on me at some point, but for now you’ll have to make do with the dummy.

I apologise for not taking the pic in bright sunshine ( there isn’t any) because several people commented on how the silk glows in the sun. Jack green actually came over and told me off for standing in the shade!

Comments overheard from the public seem to say they had no doubt I was either a queen or princess. Queen is always complementary, but it’s nice to know I can still pass for pwetty pwincesss at my age!


Its started to wrinkle nicely round the waist, which is sort of what it’s meant to do.

the front panel is maybe six inches shorter than the rest of the dress, so that it falls exactly to my toes. I can walk easily without tripping over the dress, but it still has a good bit of swooshy trailiness to the back and sides without being ungainly.

the bias strip of claret silk around the hem is perhaps not entirely authentic, but I have enough practical experience to know that some careless sod will inevitably stand on the hem. The dark silk is tough as old boots, whereas the brocade is quite light and floaty, so putting something tough and replaceable round the hem seemed prudent. It should also add a little wieght in case the dress gets a bit frisky on a windy day.


I ended up finishing the neckline with just single strands of gold twist because I was starting to run out – I need to order more, and soon.


Rather than cutting out the sides of the dress, I opted to make it baggy enough to put on, with the sides gathered in by a tape made from scrap fabric. This allows necessary support for the very full skirts, and because the silk is quite thin it really doesn’t add any bulk at all ( this wouldn’t work with wool).

I did manage to add a few more loops than I needed though, so I’m going to try and pick a few out by Nottingham.


Gratuitous shot of swirly gorgeousness.

~ by opusanglicanum on September 6, 2016.

29 Responses to “Norman frock”

  1. It looks beautiful!

  2. How regal and how swirly-gorgeous! The neckline trimming has worked out very well with the narrow edging. Perhaps it was a good thing you’d run out of pearls.
    The hem border looks in keeping, and I can understand why it was needed. I believe that the Victorians sometimes had strips of bristles, a bit like draught excluder strips, under the trains at the back of their gowns, to keep the expensive fabric off the ground.

    • yes, it was common for walking dresses to have a dust ruffle of stiff canvas or horsehair just inside the hem, which the poor ladies maid was expected to remove, brush dry, and re attach with each wear. poor sods.

      I think it was hard to tell how the neck embroidery was going to look until it was in place

  3. That’s amazing! So pretty!

  4. I think it’s bright enough without the sun. Is this sort of thing for basically the queen and top countesses etc to wear?

    • I’m usually queen, so yeah. obviously I accesorise with an enormous efforrfyoupeasant brooch, a jewelled gold circlet (don’t get me started on those naff plain silver bands some folks wear) and a gilded jewelled belt, and jewelled gold aiglets on my fake plaits, plus as many rings as I can find (I keep having to make new rings because I loose them so often, which always reminds me about the anecdote about lizzy1, wherein it was easier for the wardrobe master to keep records of what she lost everyday than it was to calculate the amount of bling she set out with).

      I’ve seen too many re-enactment royals who just weren’t shiny enough. I don’t think I will ever have a satisfactory amount of shiny in my royal tent…

  5. I’m sure any sensible lady would have made sure her hem had some weight to it, and the claret coloured silk is suitably magnificent, as well as being as tough as can be!

    • Sometimes though you can’t argue practicality with the extreme authenticity nutter, but it does make the hem sit a bit better

      • Yes, I’ve encountered the extreme authenticity thing, and it makes my husband’s pedantic mathematical friends look positively relaxed!

      • Some Dutch guy on fb complained that my red velvet petrus christus dress wasn’t completely lined with fur. And some bar my Swedish tart laced into me the other day for using cochineal as a kermes substitute – despite the fact it’s almost impossible to get kermes. I did noticed she avoided answering my direct question about whether she could tell the difference in the dyed thread ( I’ve used both, and you really can’t)

      • Sigh. I suppose it matters to them, but I just wish they’d let it drop sometimes!

      • we all get bees in our bonnets sometimes, but certain personality types don’t seem capable of accepting other peoples opinions as valid

  6. Fabulous! Thanks (once again!) for brightening my day! – Cindy

  7. It is so very gorgeous, I am jealous!

  8. This gown looks like a dream come true! It’s wonderful, and the neckline looks perfect to me.

  9. That is sumptuous!

  10. That is a goshgollyohWOW dress.

  11. This is breathtakingly beautiful. I love the colors.

  12. […] can’t wear my c12th dress, because it’s too old fashioned for the […]

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