The Fourth Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

June 1 to September 30,  2014

Holly Hibbeler
Texas, USA

I have been sewing most of my life - finished my first quilt at age 6. I AM new to Italian garb, having never attempted anything in the Italian Renaissance style before. I have only made one adult garb dress (15th century Burgundian style) for myself about 16 years ago, and "pirate shirts" for my husband and sons.

I intend to machine sew the costume, as I have three young boys at home, so time is a very real constraint. I hope to get the cut and basic construction as close to traditional as I am able.
Camicia, white, in the shape of the embroidered camicia at Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Underskirt, lighter-weight linen blend, blue, stiffened hem (no real notes on inspiration, just want to have a lighter contrasting underskirt to help manage heat in Texas under the silk dress). 

Florentine-style split bodice dress, toffee brown viscose silk, lined bodice bodice hemp-cord "boning". Shape similar to La Belle Jardiniere by Raphael, 1507 Or Da Vinci's Portrait of Ginevra de'Benci c. 1476. Still deciding on the sleeves, I have a brown brocade, several blue brocades, and blue velvet, any of which could work, but I will probably not decide until the dress is finished and I can drape fabric to get a solid visual. :)  Accessories - Apron will be a must with little kids (it wasn't specifically listed in the breakdown of accepted accessories, so I am also planning on knitting a beaded snood/hair net as well in the style of Portrait of a Venetian Lady, 1505 by Albrecht Durer) 

June Update

Been a busy month with baby showers and birthdays, so I'm behind where I want to be, but the husband owes me several weekends off from the kids, so hoping to catch up. :) (Also no more birthdays until end of August).

I have the base construction on the camicia done. I'll be using a frill-free gather-pleated (smocked) neckline, which I've hemmed but not gathered yet.

July Update

Camicia is all done, as is the underskirt.

The snood is also finished. Sorry for the awkward photo, it's tough to get the back of your own head.


August Update

August was an unproductive month for me. I did manage to finish the apron. I am quite pleased with how it turned out - I was going for the feel on an extant apron pictured on Realm of Venus, and the bottom scallops aren't the same, but I think I got the feel down nicely. I do need to stash dive a few friends to look for a good ribbon for the belt. I should be getting the dress pattern hammered out this weekend, but no picture of that for updates. I'm still hopeful to get the dress done by the end of September.

September Update, Pt 1

I got the front laced bodice finished, and was quite disappointed. The shoulders were too narrow, and it just didn't lay right, so I started over with a side-laced bodice, drawing inspiration from "The Birth of St John the Baptist" by Ghirlandaio (the woman on the floor on the left - yellow dress, green sleeves). I am much more pleased with the results. And I know metal eyelets aren't period, this is one more of the "time compromises" I knew I'd have to make.

September Update, Final

It was a race to the end, but I finished. In summary, I didn't complete the front-laced bodice I had originally planned: I opted for a side laced bodice instead. I did complete the camicia, the underskirt, the dress, apron, and snood I originally set out to complete. While not the most impressive undertaking, for a first attempt at a Venetian costume, and with the limited crafting time I have, I do consider it a personal success, and I look forward to wearing it!

DH pulled the strings a bit tight when helping me lace up, and one of the arms came untied partway through the pictures, but here are the final images.