The Seventh Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

March 1 to June 30,  2017



South Australia


I have been sewing and reenacting the 19th century for seven years now with my family. A year ago I joined the SCA to diversify and reenact as an individual. I would like to participate in IRCC7 to motivate me to sew a complete outfit. As a novice in Renaissance sewing I have found myself procrastinating and so far I have only sewn an outfit for my baby daughter and a camicia.

The outfit that I intend to sew will be
Layer 1- a corset
Layer 2- a linen petticoat,
Layer 3- a brocade Venetian dress,
Layer 4- an embroidered organza partlet, pearl necklace, girdle and veil


First Update

For March I have completed sewing my first layer, a pair of bodies. I strongly believe that good foundations are essential to a successful outfit. It was with this in mind that I began this challenge with a pair of bodies. I have previously made Regency and Victorian corsets, but this was still a challenge as the shape and fit was very different. I drafted my pattern using the Dorothea Bodies in the Tudor Tailor book and the bodies in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion from Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich. I ended up making 3 toiles before I was happy with the resulting shape.

To construct my bodies I cut 1 layer of corset coutil, 1 layer of yellow silk and 1 layer of linen. I tried to save money on this project by using fabrics and notions that I had available in my stash. The silk that I had spare in the cupboard was thin, so I decided to reinforce it with a layer of linen behind it to protect the silk from the cane. I sewed the channels for the cane boning using a double running stitch. The cane was salvaged from a table runner that I put aside a few years ago for corset making. Janet Arnold described the lacing holes as being worked over metal rings. I was able to purchase some brass washers that were a perfect size. I have also offset the eyelet holes as suggested by the Tudor Tailor to keep the back of the bodies even and straight when being worn. The tabs were also hand sewn and whip stitched to the main body.

My husband was kind enough to purchase me a long ruler and shape it for use as a busk. This will only be a temporary solution, as I do not believe that it will be strong enough to last for a long time. The only thing that I still need to do is purchase some leather to replace the tape that is currently holding the busk in the corset.