The Seventh Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

March 1 to June 30,  2017



Western Australia


Hi, this is my third IRCC. Previously, I have made court style outfits. This time the outfit will be for a master craft person/artisan.

I have seen a few pictures with ladies wearing gowns with a diamond pattern fabric which is my inspiration. I aim to create a camicia, a gown with laced-in sleeves and a petticoat. As accessories I will be making an apron and partlet.

The Complete Outfit

Layer 1: Camicia

This was made with a lightweight cotton (lawn) and sewn by hand. The edges area edged with couched black DMC thread in stem stitch. Two strands of DMC black was used to fix the pleats in place.

Layer 2: Underskirt

This was made with a medium-weight cotton (broadcloth) and sewn by hand. It was sewn into a tube and then pleated on the waist band. Cotton tape was sewn into the waist band to fasten the skirt.

Layer 3: Gown

This was made with a medium-weight cotton (broadcloth). The idea of the gown was a middle class version of the gown in the picture. It was designed as a fun gown, rather than a more formal gown as in the picture. The diamond pattern was inspired by this painting. The colours were picked from my heraldry.

Layer 4 Accessories: 1. Coif and 2. Partlet, 3. Pocket and 4. Apron

Coif: This was made using the same fabric as the gown, though with a smaller diamond than the gown, but larger than the pocket.

Partlet: This was made witha light weight cotton (lawn) and was sewn by hand. The embroidery was done in two strands of DMC in red. The lines are stem stitch and the filling cross stitch.

Pocket: This was made using the same fabric as the gown, though with smaller diamonds.

Apron: This was made with a lightweight cotton and was sewn by hand. The top was smocked and then the waist band sewn on.

Final Update


This month I pleated and then used two lines of stem stitch hold them in place.


To create the diamonds I cut strips of fabric and sewed them together alternating the colours. Then cut it at an angle to create the diamonds, this created diamonds on a bias, this made the easy to moving them out of true.


I also made a diamond patterned snood. These diamonds were cut individually, but still on the bias as with the pocket. To cut the lining, as I did not have a bowl of the correct size, I cut a square of fabric, then folded it in quarters and again to make a narrow triangle, and then trimmed it. Each time I re-trimmed it, I folded it at a different angle to get a smoother circle. I then sewn on the band, pleating the back of the snood.


The diamonds for the bodice and skirt were cut with the fabric, rather than on the bias. They were then pieced together for the bodice, to reduce the wastage of fabric. The diamonds for the skirt were sewn into strips and then the strips together, adding in the triangles at the top an bottom.


The pattern was created by combining a basic sleeve pattern (from the Tudor Tailor), with a wide sleeve pattern (from The Medieval Tailor's Assistant). Unfortunately, I ran out of material and time so the sleeves were not completed.

(Please note: because the sleeves are considered part of the gown this means the gown is Incomplete).

Third Update

This month I embroidered the collar for the partlet. The embroidery is lines of stem stitch using two strands of red DMC thread, the same as the the lines on the partlet. The edges were then hemmed and then it was sewn on to the partlet. Tape was sew on to the back of the partlet along the hem, and a narrow casing was sewn on the bottom of the front panels of the partlet.

I also created a smocked apron using the technique described in update two. I did six rows of dots, 7mm apart. It turned out to be quite a quick technique, with a nice result. Once the apron was smocked, I hemmed the sides and bottom then attached a waist band using back stitch.

Second Update

This month once I completed the embroidery on the partlet, I then rolled hem sides and bottom of the pieces, and then sewed the shoulder seam using back-stitch and sewed the edges down. I still need to work out the pattern for the collar.

I also started my chemise, using the pattern below. I back-stitched and then flat-felled the seams to enclose the raw edges. The neckline and cuffs I finised be sewing a narrow hem and then couching black embroidery thread to the edge. The bottom edge was hemmed. The chemise still needs to be gathered in.

As I want to make a smocked apron as part of this outfit, I experimented with smocking stitch so see what effect it has on the width of the fabric. The pattern I'm using is this one. It results in the following pattern, and reduces the fabric width by about 50%.



If you want to have a go this is how to do it:
Prepare farbic by marking dots at regular intervals across and down the fabric, at a distance of your choice. The strip in the above pictures is has dots 1 cm apart.

1. Knot thread
2. Bring it up at dot 1.
3. Do a small holding stitch on the dot.
4. Pick up a couple threads on dot 2 pulling it tight, bringing the 2 dots together.
5. Do a couple of holding stitches and then put the needle through to the back of the fabric and up dot 3.
6. Do a small holding stitch on the dot.
7. Pick up a couple threads on dot 4 pulling it tight, bring to 2 dots together.
8. Do a couple of small holding stitches and then put the needle through to the back of the fabric and up at dot 5.

Then continue to the end of the lines, and repeat for as many lines as required.

First Update

This month I made my underskirt, and started my partlet.


This would be made of linen or silk, but mine is made of cotton. The fabric was about 2.5 meters long, I cut a strip off for the waist band and then hemmed the ends and then pleated it, using the divide-and-conquer method.

The ends of the waist band were pinned, to the edges of the skirt and then pinned the middle of each together. Then on each side kept pinning the middle of each part until the sections where small enough to pleat.

Once the pleats as even as possible, the waist band was attached using back-stitch. A second line of of back-stitching was done as to create wide waist band. The waist band fabric was then folded over and whipped stitch in place.

The tuck was sewn in place using back-stitch, this was added to shorten the skirt and to help make it stiffer.


The partlet is inspired by this portrait, below. The embroidery on the two front pieces has been completed and the embroidery on the back piece has been started. The embroidery is in two strands of red DMC thread, lines are stem stitch and middle is line of cross-stitches.