The Third Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

April 14 to August 14,  2013

Rebecca Marie Egan
Colorado, USA

Rebecca Marie Egan

Seamstress, SCA-dian, gardener, cook, and all around geek. I've got an especial affection for natural fabrics and using optical illusion to create a period line. This will be my third IRCC and I'm very much looking forward to learning some new skills in the process. Hopefully solid time management will be one of those skills! Proposed four-layer outfit: An outfit somewhat inspired by the ladies looks on The Borgias. Gold gauze trimmed camicia, pink and white under-gown with deep embellished hem, teal over-gown with embellished hem and facings. Accessories are uncertain at this point but will most likely focus on hair/hat elements.

Sadly migraines have greatly reduced my productivity this first month. However I have gotten a few things in process. The first is my tall hat. I've built the inner structure by hand with period techniques. I'm using cotton quilt batting as a stand in for wool wadding. That is primarily an allergy issue since wool and I don't play well together. As a stand in for buckram I'm using plastic needlepoint canvas. I use the plastic needlepoint canvas to make the piece more weather hardy, since it doesn't melt when wet like buckram.

The other thing I've been working on is a pair of under-bust style petticoat stays. The bodice is pad-lined with quilt batting front and back. The front also has the addition of some plastic needlepoint canvas for extra firmness. All construction here is by hand including the flat felled strap seams. I'm in the process of hand hemming the skirt panels to be put together with insertion stitch.


I've gotten my materials for the pale pink under-gown and peacock teal over-gown washed but not pressed. The over-gown will have gold embroidery around the borders.

This month has really been a month of distractions. Mostly good distractions like Costume Con 31 where I competed with last years outfit. But the end result of the month of distractions is that I've only got one layer complete at this point. That layer is my petticoat stays. I've chosen to make them about knee length.

This is primarily a support garment but will also serve to add a bit of extra fullness for my skirts. It closes at the sides with hand bound eyelets.

The skirt panels have been hemmed by hand and connected at the sides with faggotting and bar tacks at the top and bottom.


As I mentioned with the last update the bodice is pad-stitched by hand with a core of plastic needlepoint canvas. I chose to cartridge pleat the skirt to the bodice so that the linen would have the kick out effect to add fullness to my final skirt look. This is a very crisp linen so I discovered I didn't need to reinforce the hem to have it stand out from my legs when worn. The entirety of this garment ended up being made by hand. I love the look that has given the garment. However I will admit that was partially due to the fact that my back has been unhappy with me.

The items on tap for this month are the gold gauze trimmed camicia, the pink under-gown, and starting on the embellishments for the over-gown and under-gown skirts. Since this is the halfway point its time to buckle down!

June/July Update

In time honored fashion, for me at least, most of my construction is going to be done in the last month of the challenge. However, I have made forward progress. My shirt/camicia has its body seams done, and is waiting for hand finishing. No picture as of yet since it currently looks like a linen gauze pup tent.

My hat is now covered with its pleated crown and seamed brim.

The skirt for my sottana is seamed and the wool hem facing is attached.

The layers for the sottana bodice are cut out and set for hand pad-lining.

I've also gotten the layers for a gold and white jerkin cut out and awaiting pad-lining.

I started a knotted reta this month. It's just about complete. I'm currently finishing up the edge binding.


Final Update

Layer 1: Camicia with integrated partlet
Layer 2: Petticoat stays, and pink dress (incomplete)
Layer 3: Jerkin
Layer 4: Braided hair-piece, reta, hat

My outer layer is a white and gold silk jerkin. The peplum is comprised of 15 individual sea shells. These were detailed out with gold thread couching. The bodice was also enhanced with rows of gold cording couched on. The jerkin closes with hooks and eyes. I created 28 gold and pearl buttons for the front opening of the jerkin. But due to time constraints only 14 of them were applied. I like the overall effect of them however.


The inner structure of both the jerkin and the sottana are linen with cotton quilt batting pad-lined together. I chose not to add extra structure to these garments since they are to be worn over the supportive layer of the petticoat.

What your not seeing in my pictures is my petticoat layer that I sent pictures of earlier in the competition. I chose not to include a picture of me in just my underpinnings this year due to modesty concerns. The bodice supports the bust-line from underneath only and my camicia is quite sheer. But rest assured that I am indeed wearing the garment.

I also got three accessories done: my reta which was hand knotted and then combined with a five strand braid for the edges. Worn under the reta is a simple braided hairpiece with a touch of gold braid embellishment. Finally my favorite is my hunting hat. It is all hand sewn from the frame out. The base frame is made of needlepoint canvas and quilt batting, both chosen for durability. It is covered with a faux white fur pleat shaped on the crown and section shaped on the brim. The same techniques shown on a fur hat in Janet Arnold's accessories book. The hat band is a gold ribbon with white ostrich feathers and a rose quartz embellishment.


Things I started but didn't get across the finish line: doublet gown was drafted and the fabric prepped; a pair of white linen drawers were drafted and cut out but didn't get stitched together.

Overall I'm quite happy with what I did get finished and I believe that all the pieces will work quite well as a mixable wardrobe with elements from last year's challenge.