I've started work on the cloud collar. First step was getting the dress (mostly) right so I knew the collar opening and shoulder dimensions. To work out the neck line I simply sewed the dress front and back together then lay the resulting collar shape over some scrap paper to sketch out the neckline.
This next step involved sketching various designs from period references before drafting the cloud collar pattern onto paper. While I am referring to my two primary images from the previous post, I'm also using some of Miriam's research. She kindly sent me PDF's of her complied images which have been extracted from a variety of manuscripts. Her focus is on the Persian examples of cloud collars while I'm trying to look at the Timurid / Persian / Chinese influence on the garb of the Indians of the Mughal. You can see from my previous posts regarding the range of garb the Indians wore (including venetian dresses) that the fashion forward ladies of the Mughal Empire were likely to adopt a variety of designs.
The shape of the collars in the Indian reference is very similar to the Persian examples so given the huge collection of Persian images I find myself in possession of, I've based the shape on them.
To get the shape I took my neckline sketch, I folded it, refolded it and folded it some more until I could get each of the lobes symmetrical. They also had to fit the scrap of silk I'll be using for my test outfit #3.
Evolution of the back shape. When I decided I had cut away too much paper, I sticky taped another section on and extended out that part as you can see is occurring on the left from the middle down.
Once I had my shapes, I cut out a whole collar to see what it'd look like around my neck. Being paper it didn't drape well and I couldn't tell if it was right so I cut it out of yellow fabric and pinned it to the toile I discussed in the previous post. I knew I was on the right track because it looked like some of the out of period collars I'd managed to google.
I took the plunge and appliqued this one once I assured myself the neckline matched up and the lobes on the shoulders worked. I need to practice applique with the machine or do it by hand for the final one because even though I covered the thing in pins, I still managed to buckle some of it. I think more, smaller pins and a sharper, thinner sewing machine needle might be the first step. I could also leave some lines of embroidery with which to sew the applique down onto the dress with to help avoid buckling. Maybe a line around the outside? Hand sewing is never as tight as machine sewing and I'm quite worried about messing up with my embroidered collar. I'm going to have to practice a lot!
I'm not sure I like the wider front and narrower back, I'll have to decide if having the shoulders off set from the seam is such a bad thing, or maybe I can just alter the lobe without changing the front. The shoulder lobes wouldn't be symmetrical then but it'd allow the front to become narrow. I may line the toile just to see how much of the front I'll lose to the seam and see if that fixes the problem.
Either way - pattern 95% done!