The Seventh Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

March 1 to June 30,  2017



Oklahoma, USA


I started sewing over 20 years ago and fell in love with historical costume along the way. I am an the author of, and a card carrying member of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

I am planning on making a new camicia, Venetian gown, zimarra, and zibellino. I may add other items as time allows.

Third Update

May has been an extremely busy month for my family so I did not complete as much of my sewing as I had hoped. My focus was on completing my new pair of bodies (corset). The three pieces of this garment were bound and finished individually with silk bias I made from left over lining fabric. These pieces were then whip stitched together to create a finished garment. The pair of bodies is closed up the front with hooks as seen on Elenora di Toledo funerary pair.

My other pieces have been patterned and construction will start this week!

Second Update

April has been a very busy month. Now that the new dog is starting to settle I was able to focus on more of my sewing. Within the first week I finished the camicia and sent in the completed photos prior to the update being posted.

This month I have continued working on foundation garments. I am a bit more voluptuous than when I participated last. This has lead to my pair of bodies not fitting correctly, and there is only so much you can widen the lacing. Out of necessity I am working on a bonus layer of underwear!

This pair of bodies is made of linen canvas covered and bound with silk. The pattern is a shortened version of Elizabeth I of England's effigy bodies. The channels are filled with reed I had previously ordered from the UK. I chose reed because it is inexpensive, light weight, and is documented within the 16th century. In most accounts I have read they are called bents or rushes.This pair of bodies will have hand worked eyelets down the front, but they will not be completed by this month's deadline.

The element I completed this month without fail is an accessory. I have been needing new shoes for over a year, and this competition spurred me to action. The uppers are made from a very soft goats leather and the bottoms a very thick piece of cow hide I found in a leather scrap bin.

The original shoe I set out for was based article 29.158.894 from the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and some of the Italian men's shoes I can see in portraits. As my first piece of leather work I am very happy with the ease I was able to make some simple turn style shoes. I think I would make a mock up of the pattern in felt first next time so I can feel how much wider the toe is than it was intended. Each shoe has 6 slashes over the vamp for decoration.

First Update

My first month of the competition has been spent researching a different camicia structure. My interpretation and pattern is based on the example from the Boston Museum of Art which Janet Arnold details in Patterns of Fashion 4. These shoulder pieces were a fascinating detail for me. To construct it I used 3.5 oz linen, hand sewing thread, and beeswax. I hand hemmed the individual pieces. The next step is to assemble by hand using lace inserts.

Here is the camicia, which was completed post-deadline: