The Inspiration


Of course, I could have just made up a fun dress and thought "What the heck?" with style. But starting from actual dresses seen on portraits made it much more interesting to me. So, I set out to find some inspiring portraits.

The famous pelican portrait of Queen Elizabeth gives me a few ideas for the bodice. The white bits seen on the front (they are probably puffs, someone with a better picture will have to help me on that) can be replaced by jelly beans, the four-pearl together can be made out of any small round candy.

There will be no blackwork on my partlet, but I have some other partlet inspiration a little further on.

The choker will be made of various candy.

I might use gummi bears instead of the pelican brooch, or any other suitable gummi candy such as those little whales or those little frogs.

Notice that there seems to be one jewel on each of her waist tabs as well as on the shoulder panes and on the bodice pattern. They also go down on each side of her forepart. This provides me with lots of options to use hard candy.

Eleanora di Toledo is earlier than the other Elizabethan portraits I was looking at. However, the neckline treatment gave me a wonderful idea. I see two ways of achieving an interesting look: threading licorice lengths to make a kind of net, or thread ropes through life savers to achieve a kind of net again.

I don't remember where this image came from, I only know it is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth, but the kind of veil she's wearing is very interesting. If you look closely at the part going over her shoulders, it looks as if it's not built over fabric, but only made of jewels, a kind of net. This is another very interesting idea for my two "net" ideas exposed earlier.

Also, her pomander looks like it's hung on a ribbon, which means that if I get tired of trying to pierce bubble gums, I really only need enough to go around my waist. Those plastic fruit filled with sweet powder would be perfect for a pomander, by the way...

On this gown, I'm looking at two main elements: the forepart and the standing ruff. I know all the elements I've chosen don't go together and I'll have to choose some of them, but I like the idea of a standing ruff and, even better, it's not worn with one of those awful French farthingales, although the bodice point is already very long and the forepart is gathered onto it.

I will definitely make a ruff. The question is, will it be a regular ruff or a standing ruff? I guess it will depend on whether I decide to make a partlet or not. I plan on making the ruff out of marshmallows, in two layers to reproduce a kind of "S" (it will look more like a "W" but I think the final look will be close enough to be fun). I am considering putting a lollipop at the end of every length of marshmallows to put some more color into the outfit.

The belt will be made of a string of bubble gum.

The forepart here is interesting. I like the flower pattern. I might be making big lozenges and putting the flowers in the center. Another option would be to create a vine pattern with green licorice and reproduce the pattern of flowers and single jewels found on this gown.

Also, the embellishment at the bottom of the forepart is very interesting. What if I used gummies on the forepart? One frog, one whale, big lips, one frog, one whale, big lips, etc.

This came from the Totally Tessellated site, I'm sorry I had to borrow it but it's just so much like the design on the sleeve of the above portrait, even if they say it is Indian or Persian...
Thought to be Lady Helena Snakeborg, Marchioness of Northampton by an artist of the British School, 1569.
Elizabeth of Austria, Queen of France by Francois Clouet, c.1571.
the Armada Portrait attributed to George Gower, c.1588.
Elizabeth I by an unknown artist, c.1588.


The Idea
The Inspiration
The Early Planning