The Seventh Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

March 1 to June 30,  2017



Georgia, USA


I have been costuming for 15 years, but 9 years ago I discovered my love of 16th century Italy and joined the Society for Creative Anachronism. There I am known as Mistress Alessandra Giovanna Fioravanti. For this challenge I plan to make the outfit in " Woman with a Lute" by Alessandro Allori, approximately 1570.

My proposed layers are as follows

Colletto (Partlet )
Sottana (Under-dress)
Giubbone (Doublet)
Veste (Over-gown)
Tasca (Pocket)

Weaving completed in advance of registration :

Linen tape
2 yards

Gold scroll trim
15 yards

Single picot trim
4 yards

Gold Petersham
10 yards

Embroidery, 1/4 complete

Third Update

This month I made the sottana! The fabric is silk in turquoise shot with white which achieves a lovely silver blue tone. The bodice fabric layers are : silk, wool, glue stiffened linen, wool, linen.

The interlining has been stiffened with hide glue I reconstituted from granules. This thin glue was then painted and left to dry . The result is similar in feel to modern buckram. Because hide glue reconstitutes in humidity , this layer is sandwiched between layers of wool to keep the glue from soaking through to the silk or lining. This interlining layer is sewn together at the straps and the seam allowance is trimmed away.

The silk layer is sewn at the shoulders and the trim is applied using combination of running and back stitch. The gold trim was handwoven from faux gold thread and cotton before the start of this challenge.

The silk layer is then wrapped around the interlining layer and affixed with prick stitch. The lining is sewn in with slip stitch using the same silk thread as is used for the silk layer.

The skirt panels are sewn together with a run and fell seam to prevent the unraveling of the fabric.


The hem is finished with a strip of thick wool felt and a tuck four inches above. Both of these techniques aid in stiffening the hem and preventing skirt collapse. The skirt is then attached using 1/4 inch cartridge pleates.

With the sottana finished, I moved on to the doublet. I was able to weave 11 yards of trim this month. It is made from silver plated , copper and silk threads. I also wove 4 yards of light blue cotton tape for the laces.

Second Update

The partlet is finished!

The main parts of the body were sewn together with a running stich then felled with whip stich on the insides.

The ruffle was gathered , using 60/2 linen thread. with two parallel rows of running stiches making tiny cartridge pleats. The collar was then attached with waxed 80/2 linen thread using small whip stitch on each of the pleats.

Linen tape woven before the start of IRCC was used to make the ties at the neck. An additional 4 yards of linen tape was woven this month for the ties around the body.

While I have been doing 16th century clothing for a long time, this was my first time doing a ruff style and I found it to be amazingly rewarding though more time intensive than I had thought. I look forward to playing with starch to set the collar!

First Update

For the first part of this challenge I started with the partlet. The fabric I used is an extremely sheer linen. The portrait is hard to decipher as it's not a photograph, but I believe it is edged in silver bobbin lace with a decorative running stich in red.
(Woman with Lute, Alessandro Alori)

The strips of linen are cut along the width of the fabric and are sewn together using a whip stich. The hem is 1/16" and finished with a running stich at 18-20 stitches per inch using 80/2 linen thread.

This was my first time making lace and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge! I have made 7 yards so far and I believe it will be enough for both the partlet and cuffs.

The silver bobbin lace is then attached with the same linen thread with whip stitch. 50wt red silk thread is used for the decorative running stitch.

I'm excited to start gathering it!