The Third Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

April 14 to August 14,  2013

Lynn Bowering
Western Australia

Lynn Bowering

My name is Lynn Bowering and I live in Western Australia. I have been in the SCA for about 4 years and am loving it. My sewing experience to date is making Viking and early Anglo Saxon garb. I really like to sew, but I am a novice at Italian Garb and especially at later period garb.

I have chosen a dress from a painting dated 1488. It has a chemise and an overdress, covered by a Florentine cloak with decorated edges. I am also going to make a necklace to go with this outfit.

The dress I am doing is a 1488 Florentine dress. I have been busy sewing the chemise by hand for the first layer of my outfit -  it's the first all hand-sewn piece of garb that I have done, so it has taken a lot longer to do than I thought. Am still working on getting the neck right, I want it to be perfectly spaced with equal measurements all the way around. This part is also taking a bit longer than I had anticipated but I will get there. So the pictures I have at the moment are still a work in progress, as soon as it is finished I will post more pictures. Hopefully this will be finished very shortly and I can start on the next layer.


I have managed to nearly finish the chemise but am having great problems still with the neckline, mostly with the arm holes. Will get that figured out soon hopefully then I can put that to one side and continue on with the other layers.

I have chosen the material for the under dress and its a lovely red colour. The material is a silky cotton: feels fantastic and it will move beautifully when it is finished.
My next move will be to start the giornea as this has decoration down either side and lots of cutting out and then hand sewing.

I hope to have a lot more pictures and information by next month as my life hopefully has started to get a little bit quieter.

June/July Update

I have had a very busy month, and had a wonderful time over at Abbey Medieval Festival in Queensland. Saw some wonderful dresses. I have decided to change the fabric for my underdress and have now done the bodice. I needed something with a pattern rather than a plain material. The eyelets were all done by hand and boy did I have some really sore finger tips at the end of the 20 eyelets, I really should have used a thimble.

I then started on the skirt and so far have sewn it together and have sort of attached it to the bodice. This part really needs work. So now have to get it attached correctly and make it a bit fuller. 


I seem to have left everything to the last minute so its going to be really full on now to finish before the deadline in August but I will get it done.

Final Update

Phew, well finally they are done, have to say there is nothing like leaving things till the last minute, there has been a lot of midnight oil burned at my house over the last week. I have enjoyed my first go at late period clothing. I have done quite a few things I have not done before like hand sewn eyelets, a pleated chemise, slit sleeves, a fitted bodice...the list goes on.

Layer 1: Camicia

Chemise was all done by hand made from white linen. Only thing I noticed was that I needed to make the sleeves longer I made them wide enough for puffing out the slits in the green dress sleeve but not long enough they ride up a little bit.

Layer 2: Under-dress

Dress although was going to be red is now green as I liked the patterned material better. It's finished with a front lacing and pleated skirt. I need to learn to try things on as I go along, once I had fitted the bodice I put the rest of the dress together and then tried it on and it pulls a little bit just near the bottom of the lacing, but something else to learn for next time I do another dress from this time frame.

Layer 3: Over-dress

Over-dress is finished with black velvet lining and a very beautiful gold and black heavy weight beautifully patterned material. I decided not to do the dagging as the material is so lovely I thought it actually took away from how it falls and how it looked. Sits really well over the dress and it compliments the green underneath.

I did as much of the sewing by hand as was possible - most of the seams on the green dress and the overdress are done by machine with all finishing off done by hand.

Layer 4: Necklace

I have also made a necklace as similar as possible to the picture I first saw. I have used a gold-look backing with a green piece of glass in the middle and then pearls hanging off the bottom with two large gold filigree balls. All this is attached to the gold backing by gold rings. This hangs from a black lace so that it is not too heavy, and  matches well with the green dress.

If I decide to do this again (which I am fairly sure I will, LOL), I am sure there are lots more things for me to learn. One thing I would do for sure is work out a time line so that I do not leave things till the last minute like this time. As a novice I have to say I think I have done a reasonable job and I am very happy with the outcome.