IRCC 4

The Fourth Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge


June 1 to September 30,  2014


Hallie Larsen
Arizona, USA

My name is Hallie Larsen. I am a national park ranger in northern Arizona. This is my third entry to the Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge. I have learned a lot during the last two challenges, and still continue to learn new skills.

My outfit is inspired by Vincenzo Campi’s The Fruit Seller, 1580.

Layer 1: white linen camicia 
Layer 2: a gold cotton lawn petticoat/under-skirt
Layer 3: a green cotton lawn over-dress with black gimp trim
Layer 4: an apron with jacquard trim and a partlet





June Update

In the beginning, I realized that I did not need another beautiful upper class style outfit that would bake me during events. I have several nice ones like that already. It was time to create a middle class working lady’s ensemble. The best known painter of such ladies was Vincenzo Campi and so I looked through many of his paintings. It was interesting as he painted the women from multiple viewpoints including the elusive back. I was able to sketch something based on the dresses, but mainly inspired by Vincenzo Campi painting “The Fruit Seller”. With a detail of the portrait, I created a fashion board to help me with finding my materials.



I’ve been working on my second layer, a gold cotton lawn petticoat/under-skirt. I had hoped to be farther along, but issues with the fabric and other factors slowed me down. Still, I am pleased with the progress so far. The fabric is a warm gold, almost the color of butternut squash. I found a cotton thread to match and used running backstitch, hem stitch, whip stitch and French knot, all hand sewn and based on historic technique. I used a cake of real bee’s wax to wax the thread for ease of use and strength. The wax also smells nice. I chose to make box pleats on both petticoat and overdress skirt as it is period correct and I like the look of them. I seem to do them well, too, not a bad thing. I just need to finish the waist band and stiffen the hem to finish my petticoat.




Petticoat side seam




Petticoat box pleats




Petticoat hem stitch



July Update

Unfortunately, I am way behind, this month having so many other things going on, but I did work on the overskirt for Layer 3. The fabric is a lovely green cotton lawn, four yards in the skirt. Most of the stitches are running backstitch at this point. The waist again has box pleats that will be attached to a narrow band. I also discovered that real beeswax is a magnet for cat fur.

    

August, hopefully will be full of sewing and creativity!




August Update

I’ve been so busy this month, but managed to get a few things done for this challenge. I’m loving this fabric, the colors, the softness, the lightness. It should be a pleasure to wear except for the wrinkly nature. But then I won’t be wearing this to the royal court.

Camicia: washed and washed the beautiful 3.5 oz natural linen. So much fuzz came off! But the fabric is now just soft and lovely. I wish I could have gotten more of this in the other colors/layers of this outfit. I’m starting to cut it out so I can work on it this Labor Day week.

Overdress: finished the skirt, cut out the bodice, based on the pattern I made last year but reconstruction. I basted the side seams of the toile together as I am going for two back lacings (based on Campi’s painting, “The Kitchen”). I’ve cut out the middle portion and just started to use a hem stitch around the perimeter.



Overdress skirt interior seam with running backstitch.


Overdress hem stitch at waist opening.


Overdress box pleats at waist.


Overdress middle back.


How much do I need to finish this coming month? I will not even contemplate!




September/Final Update

In September I mainly worked on finishing all the pieces, such as sewing on the wide arms and gusset to the camicia, made of a natural white hanky weight linen, sewn with white cotton thread. I also pleated the neck and attached it to the neckline binding. The stitches are mainly running back stitch, but in spots I also used hem stitch, whipstitch, and running stitches.

         



I also finished the apron by adding fringe and a silk jacquard trim in magenta, turquoise, and gold. The box pleated top of the apron is secured with a waistband/tie. The stitches are mainly running back stitch, but in spots I also used hem stitch, whipstitch, and running stitches.

    

I almost finished the overdress by attaching the box pleats at the top of the skirt to the bodice. The guarding will be a loose gimp braid of black cotton, influenced by the inspiration painting—unfortunately this trim is hiding somewhere so I still need to finish that before midnight.




This summer was not the best one to try this challenge. At the same time, it was a relief to have something that was often so Zen. I didn’t do as much as I had hoped, but finished more than I thought I might. The outfit, based on Vincenzo Campi’s painting “The Fruit Seller,” was also influenced by other people seeking something other than elite. The working woman’s garb has its own elegance. In the painting, her dress is gold with a green apron, white camicia with wide rolled up sleeves, and a white partlet. I flipped the colors to a green dress with a gold petticoat, white apron, but stuck with the white camicia. The partlet will have to come later.

Layer 1: camicia—finished (although I may play with the way the pleats sit)
Layer 2: petticoat—finished
Layer 3: overdress—still needs trim [For the purposes of this challenge, the dress is complete - Bella]
Layer 4: apron—finished



The camicia is natural white hanky weight linen, sewn with white cotton thread. The body is very full, connected to the wide arms (that can be rolled up like the ones in the inspiration painting) with diamond-shaped gussets. The neck is pleated. I did find that the pleating on top of the shoulder is sort of bunched up so I need to relax that segment a bit. It is not full length. The stitches are mainly running back stitch, but in spots I also used hem stitch, whipstitch, and running stitches. I wanted something light, cool, and durable, and really love this camicia!

         



The petticoat is a gold (almost pumpkin) cotton lawn from India, light and breathable, sewn with matching cotton thread. I created box pleats at the top and secured them with a waistband that hooks on the side. The stitches are mainly running back stitch, but in spots I also used hem stitch, whipstitch, and running stitches.

         



The overdress is a green cotton lawn from India, sewn with matching cotton thread. I made box pleats at the top of the skirt that is attached to the bodice with the opening in the front as seen in another Campi painting, “The Fishmongers”. The bodice opens in the front, similar to some of the outfits at the time, based on an interesting observation of Jen Thompson. I like the front opening as I don’t always have someone to help me dress now. Unfortunately when I saw the final images, I see a weird pull on the bodice. I’ll have to play with that. 

         

I stiffened the hem with a white wool tape (from the Pendleton company!) all around the hem of the skirt. Unfortunately the trim for the guarding is hiding somewhere and never came to light along with the magenta silk ribbons for the shoulders. I’ve lost two dress sizes since I started planning this outfit so the fit isn’t quite as nice as I hoped. I’ll need a friend to help tailor it a bit later—closer to the first event.



The apron is made of the same material as the camicia. I wanted to go with white so I can wear it with other items. As in the painting, I added a fringe and guarding, using a silk jacquard trim in magenta, turquoise, and gold. The fringe and trim follow the bottom with trim up the middle. The box pleated top of the apron is secured with a waistband/tie. The stitches are mainly running back stitch, but in spots I also used hem stitch, whipstitch, and running stitches. I forgot the apron when taking the images this morning so the photo of the apron is over my ranger uniform. Pants are almost the same color as the overdress!





I was too overwhelmed this summer with a lot of things, including emotionally, but it was still fun. Of course I loved seeing the progress of my fellow entrants. I needed to do this despite the issues. I like the outfit, but I see problems that I will need to fix, and can’t wait to find that darn trim!

References and Inspirations
1. Item - a gamurra/ kirtle of lavender linen garded with amarnate* cotten, lined with canvas, in the middle class Florentine style. (1580's)  

2. Festive Attyre Italian working-class dress

3. The Anea Files: Italian working class

4. Laura Parker’s 1580's Working-Class Dress based on the paintings of Vincenzo Campi

5. Heather Ann Harris’ 1590s Italian Peasant Dress 

Several of Vincenzo Campi’s paintings including “The Fruit Seller”, “The Kitchen”, and “The Fishmongers”.



ENTRANTS