The Seventh Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

March 1 to June 30,  2017



Connecticut, USA


I have been sewing for 8 years now, focusing on mid-16th century Florentine women’s wear. I have taught classes on these topics at Pennsic and Costume College. I completed my first Italian outfit during IRCC 2 in 2012, and withdrew from IRCC 5 in 2015. I hope to complete IRCC 7, despite a heavy course load at school.

I intend to make a sottana and veste as an original work, rather than a reproduction of a painting, therefore I do not have a particular inspiration that I am working from. As far as handwork goes, this garment will be mostly machine sewn, but I hope to couch gold cord along the sleeves, but have not begun yet.

First Update

I had hoped to get some embroidery done in advance, but was unable to begin before the official start date anyway. However, I have made progress on my entry, by sewing a pair of drawers. I drafted a pattern based on a pair from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and recorded in Patterns of Fashion. Instead of simply scaling the pattern, I scaled the pattern and then compared it to my custom bara measuring tape (see image). The bara tape is the system used in The Modern Maker to construct garments, based on Spanish tailors’ handbooks. I noticed some similarities that allowed me to come up with a custom pattern to fit anyone based on their bara tape. After some additional testing of this pattern, I will be posting it on my website.

I hand stitched the drawers using back stitch and whip stitch. This was my first time doing a flat felled seam, as I usually use a French seam. The Met pair that I based my drawers off of were flat felled, so I decided to give it a go. I made a mistake in one spot where I turned the fell to the ugly side of the stitching (the back side of the back stitch), but otherwise, it turned out well. I am considering adding some embroidery around the center front and leg openings, as well as adding some cotton lace to the hem of the legs.