The Fourth Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

June 1 to September 30,  2014

Holly Taylor
South Australia

I have been involved in the SCA for over a decade, and am gradually developing my sewing skills although my passion is embroidery.

I am planning a ladies ensemble from the 1530s - 1540s.

June Update

After being very enthusiastic and counting down to the start of the IRCC4, I wasted a good part of this month stuck in bed with the 'flu or recovering from it. All that time to think gave me time to change my mind about what I planned to do, so when I was up and about again, I adjusted patterns and pre-washed fabric. I have cut the bodice out of my fashion fabric. I have cut out skirt panels which are hanging (to drop). I am in the process of painting a fan handle and I have strung a bead and pearl necklace. I have done a little bit of embroidery on a light voile partlet panel. Next month's update will hopefully provide some photos of finished items!


July Update

July has been a very unproductive month. Hand injuries and illness have impacted heavily on what I could achieve, and my corset bones still have not arrived in the mail. I have done some camicia embroidery (gussets and half a sleeve) and finished the internal bodice layer. I hope to get the bodice sewn up next week.


August Update

This month, illness and distractions have again worked their magic to prevent me getting very much done. Some technical issues with the new bodice construction technique that I was testing out caused me to decide to postpone that particular project and re-cut a bodice in a style I had done before and using techniques that I have used before to save some time. A gift of trim from my sister was a nice surprise.

Bagging out the new bodice

Sewing the insides of the seams flat with a stab stitch

Testing trim placement options

I also 'up-cycled' a pair of earrings...


...and a pomander bead necklace that I picked up in a junk shop. 


I re-strung the necklace and added some pearls and new hooks to the earrings and I am very happy with the result.

September Update

The last month has proved disappointing in some ways and very satisfying in others. As expected, factors prevented me from finishing my dress, although I have progressed with it.

The bodice is now boned, lined and trimmed. I plan to do the eyelets this week.

I also drafted a pattern for the sleeves and cut them out. They have had lots of trim sewn on so they can be made up and sewn in. I would like to wear this dress to SCA events in October.

A considered decision in the last month was to sacrifice my IRCC4 progress to finish an Italian style dress for a little friend. I have enjoyed being part of the challenge and seeing what the other participants were doing. I am already looking forward to next year's challenge!