The Seventh Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

March 1 to June 30,  2017



Wisonsin, USA


I’ve been sewing since I was a child and enjoy making costumes, doll clothes, and quilting. This is my sixth time doing the Italian Renaissance Costume Challenge and I’m looking forward to learning new things.

This year I’m going to do an outfit for my husband. I plan to make a shirt, doublet and joined hosen, cape, hat, and shoes.

The Complete Outfit

Layer 1: Shirt

The linen shirt was 100% hand sewn with linen thread from a self made pattern of rectangular construction. The neckline is a T-cut and then gathered to a neckband. There are underarm gussets and the full sleeves are gathered to cuff bands. The neck and cuffs are closed with hooks and eyes.

Layer 2: Doublet and Joined Hosen with layer 2 Extra: alternate Venetians

The doublet and joined hosen were made using Reconstructing History's 15th Century Men's pattern. The doublet is made with a brocade fabric on one side and linen on the other and sewn so it can be reversible. It was machine sewn with handmade eyelets. The sleeves are detachable for our hot Renaissance Faire weather. The joined hosen are machine sewn from a light weight wool fabric with hand stitched eyelets to attach to the lower edge of the doublet. My husband was not comfortable in the style so I made a pair of black linen venetians more to his liking. They were made from Simplicity #5925. They are machine sewn with elastic in the waist and cuffs.

Layer 3: Over Gown - Incomplete

The Medieval Taylors Assistant book was used for the outer gown though I messed up and cut the center front and back on the straight of grain while I should have done the sides seam. I didn't have enough fabric to do it right so just continued on. I was a smidge short of fabric and had to piece the lower sleeves a little bit. I used the Reconstructing History doublet sleeve pattern cutting it a little larger. The front pleats are hand tacked to strips of bias tape to help hold the tube shapes. My fabric choice wasn't the best as it's an upholstery fabric instead of the wool it should have been so it doesn't drape very well. It is edged in fur.

Layer 4 Accessories: 1. Belt 2. Belt Pouch 3. Hat, and 4. Shoes

The shoes were machine sewn using Butterick 5523 out of leather. The hat is a simple circle and rectangle construction out of felt. The belt was a purchased unfinished belt blank with attached buckle that needed to be cut to size, holes punched, and finish applied. The belt pouch was machine sewn of light weight leather from Butterick 5371.

Once again I have enjoyed the challenge and have learned new things. The Reconstruction History pattern was a good starting point to figure out how to make joined hosen and the V-backed collar on the doublet but has fitting issues I still need to work on. Thank you Bella for giving us this opportunity to grow and learn!

Final Update

First up is the hat. I went with a pill box style in black. I cut a 4” wide strip and a circle from felt and hand stitched them together finishing down the center back. Next I made the leather belt pouch. I punched holes along the top edge of the front piece and laced a strip of leather through them and knotted it at the center. I then attached the bottom edge of the belt flap to the back right sides together and then flipped it up and sewed on the front flap at the same time I sewed down the belt loop. I sewed the front to the back and completed it by turning it right side out.

Dear Husband is not excited about the joined hosen so I whipped up a simple pair of venetians. I sewed front and back together, side seams, and crotch seam. I then put in a top casing and ran elastic through it. The bottoms were gathered to cuffs to finish them off.

I cut the belt pouch from leather. I then punched holes in the front piece and wove a leather strip through and knotted it. Next I sewed the bottom of the belt loop and turned it to the top. The front flap was sewn on sandwiching in the top of the belt loop.

I bought a 7 foot long unfinished belt blank years ago with the buckle attached and figured it was time to make use of it. I marked and punched holes to buckle it and cut it down to a usable size. I beveled the edges and put three layers of sealer on it. Now I have something to hold the pouch.

Continuing with the hosen I got the side gussets and soles sewn on. I then hemmed the center front edges and turned down the top. Eyelets to attach them to the doublet finish it all.

The Doublet is made to be reversible with blue fashion fabric and yellow gold linen. Shoulders and side seams were sewn of both fabrics. The peplum tabs were sew right sides together, turned and basted to the blue fabric. Attaching the V-collar went better than I expected. The Blue and yellow parts were then sewn right sides together and turned through the arm holes.

For the sleeves I sewed both fabrics right side together down to the elbow as I wanted to leave the lower section open to let the shirt sleeves puff through. I put the 2 tubes together and sewed the sleeve top and lower sides together. At 1:30 in the morning it made sense but when I turned them right sides out I had something strange so it was time for bed. I unpicked the lower sleeve edges and sewed them the right way. I finished the bottom edges by turning them insides together and closed them with top stitching close to the edge. Lots of eyelets hold it all together.

I decided to make an overgown instead of a cape. This item is incomplete. I need to attach more fur and finish the pleating but I got enough done to get the idea of what it will be.

Third Update

I didn't find much time to work on the project this month so here's a short update. I did the codpiece for the joined hosen. I decided to interline it with a piece of iron-on fleece. I then sewed the pieces right sides together leaving the bottom point open for turning. After it was turned right side out and pressed, I tucked in the bottom seam and stitched it to the hosen. I still need to do the feet but have to recut some gussets I misplaced. The fit needs some more tweaking and then the waist needs to be finished.

I completed a pair of leather suede pointy toed shoes. Butterick 5233 Historical Footwear Pattern was used with a few modifications. The sole was reshaped a bit wider for a better fit and then cut out of a heavier dark leather suede. The uppers are made of a lighter weight and color leather suede. I was able to machine sew them with a heavier thread and leather needle. First the back was overlapped and stitched and then the uppers were stitched to the soles right sides together and turned right side out. Several times I wished I had a third hand but all and all it went pretty smoothly. I then punched holes for the leather thong and sewed a tab on the back to run the lacing through. They aren't quite as pointy as I was aiming for and the fronts would lay better if I'd have punched the holes a bit farther down but I'm pretty pleased with the way they turned out.

As usual, I've left a lot to do the last month. It will be exciting to see it all come together.

Second Update

I continued hand sewing the shirt in April. I added 7" square gussets under the arms and then back stitched and felled the side and under arm seams. The bottom of the shirt was on the selvages so I just turned it up once and slip stitched a narrow hem. I then gathered the sleeves and sewed a small cuff on them.

I then turned my sights to the joined hosen that I couldn't quite wrap my head around last year. I'm using Reconstructing History's 15th century men's pattern. The pattern is cut on the diagonal instead of straight of grain to give them a little stretch. I've basted the back seams and crotch and did my first fitting of them. They should be fitted to the individual for a snug non-baggy fit. My husband protested having me pin them while he was wearing them so this may be a bit of a process to get them properly fitted.

First Update


I started with the under layer by making a linen shirt hand sewn with linen thread. First I tore a rectangle for the body and cut a T for the neckline. I gathered that on to a 3 inch strip for the collar. The shoulders didn't lay right so I took a wedge out and made shoulder seams. I then tore rectangles for the sleeves and gathered them onto the body.