A Hundred Summers



Natalie Romero


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

Photos by K (

Outline the story …

While there are many fairy tale versions of the sleeping beauty story, I have long been fascinated by Alfred, Lord Tennyson's 1830 interpretation, "The Sleeping Beauty" (later expanded into "The Day-Dream"). The princess's jet-black hair and golden pillow are beautifully described—but what garments has she been wearing for 100 years of peaceful slumber? My take on her clothing was inspired by medieval gowns of the 13th to 15th centuries, particularly the ensemble worn by the princess in Jost Haller's painting "Saint George slaying the dragon." My version of Sleeping Beauty dons soft, lightweight kirtles and bliauts/cotehardies in pale hues (specifically blue and pink in homage to the 1959 Disney film, which I found reflected in a great many paintings such as the 1408 Limbourg piece "St. Jerome Tempted by Dancing Girls"). Instead of one gown, I chose to create two—a loosely fitted overdress with flowing sleeves and a tighter fitting kirtle beneath. Both dresses are long (of the tripping-hazard variety) as befitting someone of royalty, but sparsely decorated at the princess's insistence.

Outline the construction…

Sleeping Beauty's bliaut/cotehardie/overdress is made of 100% linen in a Raul blue tone. The body of the dress was altered from the McCalls M5155 pattern, but the long sleeves are self-drafted. Self-drafting is something I had never tried prior to this project, and now I'm excited to draft more difficult pieces. The sleeve lining is printed cotton in blue and gold—and while it's not exactly historically accurate, the design reminds me of the detailing in medieval paintings. The basic construction was done by machine, while any detail work (including the attachment of the sleeve lining by ladder stitch) was completed by hand. I chose to have the garment close in the front with clasps, much like the Haller gown referenced in my inspiration above.

The kirtle/underdress consists entirely of a thin, pale pink linen. I was originally going to have it lace up the front but decided to use side lacings so that the pink you see through the gap in the overdress is smooth. The construction seams were again done by machine, with all detailing and felling finished by hand. The lacing cords are my first attempt at finger-loop braids, which I learned by watching Morgan Donner's video on braiding. While they suffice to lace the gown, I want to remake them in the future so that they are a tighter, more consistent braid.

I learned a lot about medieval clothing during this project, and am looking forward to using many more historical sewing techniques in the future!




  1. Avatar Beth on March 12, 2021 at 5:13 am

    I love the homage to the Disney. This looks absolutely awesome!

    • Avatar Nina Martin on March 30, 2021 at 6:48 pm

      Thank you very much!

  2. Avatar Rowan on March 12, 2021 at 6:05 am

    This is a beautiful outfit. I’m a big fan of the overdress in particular – I love the details of the front clasps and sleeve linings. Very well done! And it fits you so well 🙂

    • Avatar Nina Martin on March 30, 2021 at 6:49 pm

      The sleeve linings are my favorite aspect of the whole ensemble!

  3. Avatar Sparrow on March 13, 2021 at 12:46 am

    That overgown. . . *swoons*

    • Avatar Nina Martin on March 30, 2021 at 6:49 pm

      Thank you, I’m so happy with it!

  4. Avatar Manon L'Hostis on March 15, 2021 at 2:33 pm

    This dress fits you very well! Great job!

  5. Avatar devon dancy on March 18, 2021 at 2:43 am

    Oof that under gown is such a nice pink that complements the blue so we’ll! And those sleeves! My goodness you did lovely and such a beautiful fabric

    • Avatar Nina Martin on March 30, 2021 at 6:51 pm

      Thank you, I was very happy with the way the colors played together. Choosing the exact hues was a little stressful!

  6. Avatar Amanda on March 19, 2021 at 1:32 am

    Very pretty, I love the long dramatic sleeves!

    • Avatar Nina Martin on March 30, 2021 at 6:52 pm

      If there’s a way for me to work in dramatic sleeves, I absolutely will.. every single time. Thank you!

  7. Avatar Laura Wemyss on March 21, 2021 at 2:33 pm

    I love the side lacing and that you made your own cording. Lovely work!

    • Avatar Nina Martin on March 30, 2021 at 6:52 pm

      Thank you! I’m anxious to rebraid my cording for a tighter weave.

  8. Avatar Kate on March 22, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    I love everything about this dress! You look amazing and should be very proud!

    • Avatar Nina Martin on March 30, 2021 at 6:53 pm

      Thank you, you’re too kind!

  9. Avatar Giorgio Ronchi on March 25, 2021 at 11:40 pm

    This dress is amazing!

    • Avatar Nina Martin on March 30, 2021 at 6:53 pm

      Thank you so very much!

  10. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 27, 2021 at 5:27 am

    This is so beautifully done and fits like a glove! As someone who grew up watching Disney (and even had a Cinderella barbie doll!), I really appreciate this colour palette too, but the medieval style looks very elegant and regal! Great work!

    • Avatar Nina Martin on March 30, 2021 at 6:54 pm

      Thank you! I couldn’t resist incorporating in the classic 1959 colours, especially once I found portraits with similar hues!

  11. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 27, 2021 at 6:01 pm

    Nicely done! Even with a nod to Disney, it looks entirely your own!

    • Avatar Nina Martin on March 30, 2021 at 6:56 pm

      That means a lot, thank you very much!

  12. Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 29, 2021 at 11:23 am

    Such a beautiful ensemble, I love the color combination the the printed sleeve lining <3

    • Avatar Nina Martin on March 30, 2021 at 6:57 pm

      Thank you! I’m such a sucker for that lining.

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