The Fourth Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

June 1 to September 30,  2014

Tia Dixon
Pennsylvania, USA

I have been an active participant in the SCA for the past 10 years. This is approximately my 5th attempt at an Italian ensemble. This will be my second attempt at male garb. The outfit is to be constructed for my son Keith. He was also my inspiration for entering the IRCC 2 in 2012. Time frame for the construction techniques used will be 1540-1560. The layers will consist of a shirt with red or blue "black-work" style embroidery, pants in the Venetian slops style, tunic, cloak, hat or flag fan. 

For the extensive hand work I am submitting the tatting I had started for IRCC2. This is to be attached to the shirt collar.

June Update


Thread wrapped buttons using a wooden bead as a base. I am using DMC Precious metal effects thread in gold and Rosemary green rayon/silk thread to wrap the buttons and finishing with a small copper bead on top. Examples of similar buttons are shown in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 1560-1620 page 25, figure 161 & 162.

Gold thread is worked first in a wheel of 5 spokes. Green thread is then brought up through to work in a basket weave pattern. The copper bead is added last. The thread taken back down through and all ends are knotted at the base of the button to create a short shank. The tails with then be used to attach the button to the doublet.



Done in size 12 DMC Perle cotton White. The pattern for the tatting is fairly simple, I am using a ring and chain pattern 2 shuttles wrapped in continuous thread method. I started out with 9 inches completed prior to the IRCC opening and have progressed up to 12 inches. 

R 4-2-2-2-2-2-4 CR RW
**Ch6 RW
R 6-2-2-2-2-6 CR RW
-With ball thread
R 6 b 2 b 2 b 6 CR DNRW
Ch 6 RW
**R 4-2-2-2-2-2-4 CR RW
Repeat until trim has reached desired length.

July Update

I did not get as much done as I had hoped to this month. Several things went wrong, my Father had a stroke (he is doing well), I fell and bashed my knee, the car broke down & then my iron died. But I did get a few things at least started!

I continue to wrap buttons; I have the gold banded on the bases. Now just to weave in the green silk!

The tatting for the collar is complete!

The shirt is cut; everything is laid out to begin the red-work.

I have decided on an easy geometric design for the cuffs, collar, and sleeves. I am still undecided as to weather or not I will finish the seams with an open stitch in the red silk to match the red-work.

August Update

August continues to be a bumpy ride. Dad is home and doing as well as can be expected. My siblings and I have been taking turns staying at the house over night to help mom with the changes. For the shirt embroidery: I have the neckline done at least.


The doublet has been drafted and cut out. I continue to research Pansied slops and their construction and if I do not run out of time I may attempt them. If I do run close on time I will be making Venetians instead.

Left to do: Assemble shirt, assemble Doublet, draft and cut Breeches, draft and cut Cape & Hat.

September Update, Pt 1

Crunch Time! 

The bumpy ride continues. Most of this has been completed just over the past week. 

Pansied slops complete with cod piece:

The interior lining is an old cotton sheet very smooth and cool to the touch. 

Second layer and the peek-a boo fabric is a light faux silk. 

The Panes are summer weight wool each edge trimmed with a green and cold “lip cord” or “welt cord”. Lip cord is really my best friend when it comes to costuming. This particular spool of cord has been with me for several years and has trimmed at least 5 outfits.

The cod piece I am not sure is quite right, it seems to need a little more stuffing. Once the slops are on you barely see the cod piece.


The cape is made of the same summer weight wool as the slops, it has a floating lining of the faux silk and is trimmed in complimentary chenille braid. It is a half-circle cape and is trimmed in the style as the Fools Cape found in Janet Arnolds POF.



The hat is based on the velvet bonnet worn by Don Garzia in Janet Arnolds POF Pattern 2. For the brim rather than doing joins as in the original, I cut as 2 continuous circles, trimmed it out in the ever present lip cord and then sewn in a set of 3 concentric circles for stability. The bonnet then was pleated into the brim.



The doublet is lined with more of the cotton sheeting used in the Slops. The exterior is heavy sage green brocade with vines. The epaulets, collar and tabs are all trimmed in the same lip cord as the slops. I continue to struggle with the thread wrapped buttons, the “simple” basket weave is proving to be my undoing, I can’t seem to get the treads tight enough to cover smoothly.

Dad is having surgery on the 23rd, I will be at the hospital for 2 days waiting with my mom & sister. During that time I plan to attach hooks and eyes to the doublet and cape and complete embroidery on the shirt. Then in the final weekend I will get the shirt assembled. Hopefully I will have time to complete one more accessory.

September/Final Update

All layers completed! The handmade items are the red-work on the shirt & the tatted lace for the collar. I did not get the buttons finished or attached.

Layer one – shirt with red-work & tatting.

Layer two- pansied slops and doublet.

Layer three – half-circle cape.

Layer four - hat.

Keith was not appreciative of posing in his ensemble; he was fine until I added his hat. For some reason he doesn't like it. His socks are a pair of "George" heavy cotton tights I cut the legs off. They went clear up his thighs and were held in place by the slops.