The Second Annual

Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

April 15 to August 15,  2012

Rebecca Marie Egan

Rebecca Marie Egan
Colorado, USA

SCA-dian.....seamstress.....historical costuming geek....foodie.....that's pretty much me in a nutshell. This is my second time on IRCC.

This year I'm planning on doing a Venetian wardrobe. High necked shirt, square necked camicia, petticoat stays, doublet, slops, over-gown, capeletto, partlet, fan, hat.....maybe a zibellino....the basic idea being all the pieces work with each other. So I can dress all lady, all male, or somewhere in between as the situation or my mood calls for.

After driving everyone crazy for the last week, I've decided I'm making this too complicated again (big surprise yes? LOL). So I'll be focusing on just 5 major pieces for IRCC2, plus whatever accessories I can get through. The overall look inspired by one portrait and two drawings.

So here is the revised plan:

Under-shift, white linen with ribbon trim
Stays or breast band, white linen with some lace maybe
Square neck camicia; white linen with gold lace
Sottana, red silk taffeta trimmed in gold

Dogeressa's Coat, the fabric for this is a gold silk brocade. Best seen rather than described:

My ideas at the moment for accessories are a snow leopard zibellino, a silk gauze partlet maybe with a small falling ruff, a gold and pearl girdle belt, pearl drop earrings, a pearl necklace with gold pave spacers, some new silk garters perhaps with tassels, a faux hair piece in a elaborate braided bun, a large feather fan, and if things go well a small hunting hat.

I rather doubt that I'll get all of the above done. However its good to aim high yes?

This past weekend I got the under-shift cut out and seamed together, its now in the process of being roll hemmed. Pictures of that will be forthcoming. The next big hurdle is the stays. I need to get those done ASAP so draping and pattern drafting can commence.

I'm still plugging away on my underpinnings. The under-shift is a comfort layer for under my corset. When finished it will wrap around and tie with a ribbon. The wrap style construction is a modern adjustment I'm making due to the fact I don't have a full time ladies maid. Although that would indeed be handy wouldn't it? I've been hand roll hemming it. It's been my sitting in waiting rooms project, as such its quite wrinkled.

My first run at an effigy style corset failed on quite a few levels. I used a drafting system strictly based on measurements. Which would work perfectly if I was built along the lines of Elizabeth I. However I am not, plus the long staple linen torqued a fair deal when I sewed the boning channels on the machine.

I'm currently working on hand sewing in the boning on 'effigy 2.0'. This one is based on the modified 'S' curve style on Following her instructions I used my body block to draft this one. 

I'm using pink silk thread to sew with (leftovers from another project, and I do love pink) and using trimmer line (AKA weed-whacker line) as my boning. The trimmer line is the smooth kind. It has a comparable spring rate to reed or very thin whale bone. But unlike reed it doesn't wilt with sweat and is easily laundered. I'll most likely bind this out with pink faux suede or some Habotai silk.

I've been a bit distracted with war prep and work this year. But I've dug up the materials for a gold and pink pearl girdle belt. Plus the fur and clay needed for my feline zibellino.

First garment complete is my veste. Brown and white linen. I've used plastic needle point canvas as a stand in for waxed paperboard or such mentioned in the Toledo inventories.

This year's challenge is going to be more of a ' full outfit in 25 days' deal. But I'm really glad I decided not to withdraw. Having something I wake up excited about is a very good thing.

Items that I've completed:


Pearl necklace and drop earrings.

Pink linen sleeveless sottana.

White linen camicia. I chose to make it just to knee length for ease of wear.

Gold hair jewels.

My camicia also features my first attempt at insertion stitch construction.

My Dogaressa coat is stitched together and ready for me to close up the lining, so my to do list is down to just my red sottana and a partlet.

Final Update

The first batch of pics are of the underpinnings of my outfit. This includes my camicia; where I tried my hand at insertion stitch construction for the first time. This was put together by hand and the neckline was gathered and set to the neckline by hand.

Next is my pink linen sleeveless petticoat stays. It is back laced with hand bound eyelets, plus I hand pad stitched the bodice both back and front. This garment also incorporates the plastic needlepoint canvas encased in bamboo batting as the stand-ins for waxed buckram and wool wadding respectively. This garment also has a cartridge pleated skirt. I wanted this to be a standalone piece in addition to functioning as a petticoat for the more formal outfit. The last visible piece here is the silk gauze partlet. I'm also wearing the brown linen veste that is pad lined by hand here. Its an optional item to add some extra smoothness to the look.

Next layer is the more formal red silk gown. Once again this is hand pad lined with the needle point canvas and bamboo batting, cartridge pleated by hand, plus hand bound eyelets. I ended up piecing both bodices by hand using run and fell construction and closed by hand with a lining stitch. The sleeves of this gown are a gold gauze overlay. I roll hemmed the top before pleating them into a shoulder ruff. These pics also show the faux pearl necklace and earrings that I made for the challenge. I used gold spacers on the strand of pearls to mimic the look shown in many of the Eleonora De Toledo portraits. The earrings also mimic the dangle style earrings shown in many portraits for both Venice and Eleonora De Toledo.

Next the gold silk brocade Dogaressa's coat with the soft fold over collar. This was pieced with several side gores due to a very narrow fabric and is bag lined and closed up by hand with lining stitch. hard to see in these pictures but I'm also wearing a set of dangle hair jewels that I made with bits from my beading box. 

I do have a couple of items that I started but did not complete. The 'S' curve effigy stays, and the linen wrap style under-shift to wear with it. Also I started a pair of braided pearl bracelets.

Overall I'm really happy with the finished products. Especially since I ended up doing all the finished products in about 25 days. That being said I am planning to add some extra trimming and details to most of the pieces in the next few months.