The Seventh Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

March 1 to June 30,  2017



Western Australia


I am a novice to Italian Renaissance costuming but have done other costuming for earlier medieval periods. I love fabric and making clothes and of course wearing them. This competition will provide discipline in learning new techniques and provide a challenge in making something out of my experience.

The four basic items will be he camicia and corset, under-dress, over-dress. The accessories may include fan, hat, jewellery, belt with pouch. These maybe subject to change.

First Update

I am basing my entry on a composite selection of references, primarily based on the combined portraits of 'The Daughters of Giovanni II Bentivoglio' from Bentivoglio Chapel, San Giacomo Maggiore, Bologna by Lorenzo Costa, 1488.

From the left: 1. Camilla; 2.Bianca; 3.Francesca; 4.Violante, 5.Laura; 6.Isotta; 7.Eleonora

"This painting was commissioned to celebrate the timely discovery of the Malvezzi conspiracy on November 1488, a bit of luck that saved the lives of the Bentivoglio and preserved their rule over the city".

From this website

I am particularly interested in the daughters 2, 4, and 5, as each show different variations of the same styles. And I will use a combination to build my wardrobe as well as other sources from the period to determine the cambrica, undies, and accessories.

The camicia, or chemise

The detail on the left is the only example I have been able to find for a 15th century Italian camicia. The fabric looks very sheer and the drape suggests silk rather than linen or cotton. The neckline is square and looks edged. The body of the camicia is full, but is not floor length, finishing above the ankle. The hem is also edged similar to the neckline.

It can just be made out on the sleeves that they are also edged. The sleeves are very full and look to have a raglan inset in the construction. On the side of the camicia it looks though it could have gores inserted. As per the points apparent in the armpit area. The sleeves are very full and have loose wrists.

(Detail, The Story of Griselda, Part II: Exile, about 1494. Full image, here.)


All hand sewn seams and hems.
Stitching: Hemming stitch and Running stitch.
Thread: Polyester thread as I didn’t have cotton or silk thread available.
Method: Hems were folded twice and hemmed, side seams were sewn together with running stitch and then folded twice and hemmed – run and fell seam.
Order of construction: I hemmed the necklines, sleeve wrists and necklines.

Joined the sleeves to the front and back.

For the sleeve shoulders, I gathered the fullness with cotton crochet thread (for strength). Then I sewed both gores to the front. Then in one seam sewed the side front to the back, and the sleeves.