The Seventh Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

March 1 to June 30,  2017



Queensland, Australia


My name is Zacharlija Standish and I come from Queensland in Australia. Since finding the SCA in late 2013 I have avidly tried creating renaissance Italian dress. I've been following the IRCC since then and have finally plucked up the courage to enter.

I have recently fallen in love with the doublet dresses of Florence from the late 16th century. The outfit I am planning is inspired by a 1565 portrait by Santi di Tito, 'A Young Woman'. The proposed layers are:
Layer 1-camica
Layer 2-underdress
Layer 3-doublet style dress
Layer 4-hat & snood or veil, a pocket, a partlet and sleeves.
I am also hoping to create a pair of gloves and drawers to go with the outfit, although time may prove my enemy here.

First Update


I decided to start off with the drawers, they conveniently fit with a local competition and let me tinker around with slashing, which I'd never done before.

Limiting myself to what I had in my fabric stash already I settled on a fancy pair in dark red satin with a cotton lining. I first drafted out a pattern from studying extant sets and working from several patterns I had. I then cut out the satin and decided on a slash pattern I had seen in an illustration. I used a craft knife blade and made the slashes. I've left them unsealed as a bit of an experiment to see how badly the fabric frays. I'm thinking the satin might make a nice set of sleeves for this outfit instead of the velveteen I'd originally planned.

I stitched the ribbon trim on the sides by hand, put it together as much as I could on the machine, then finished sewing down the waistband and leg hems by hand. Punched modern eyelets in then went over them with silk floss.

Added a shoelace tie and voila! Done in 10 days.

I then moved onto several of the smaller pieces I knew I could do or would take time. I simultaneously started the hat and pocket, stitching plastic jewels onto a strip of bias for the hat band and sewing down the trim for the pocket. The pocket hasn't progressed as far as I'd like yet, the trim isn't quite secured but will be finished in the next month. Then I can start work on the embroidery for it.

The hat I have finished. I stitched down the jewels, then tinkered with a hat pattern in the Tudor Tailor book until I was happy with it. Its a bit bigger than the ones I've seen in portraits, but I prefer the added sun protection. Again I used the machine, then finished off the inner brim by hand, threading the stiffened felt in the brim towards the end. Two feather pins were put together using the plumes, aglets and a glue bath. The band was sewn on by hand while the glue set and then the aglets were sewn down as well.

I nearly finished the under dress by the end of the month. With the help of a good friend I refitted my go-to bodice pattern and gave it a test run on a few other dresses. For this I used a silver silk I've been hoarding for a special project, with calico and drill for interfacing and lining. Its not as stiff a bodice as it should be, however I preferred a lightweight dress for summer to one with added layers or boning.

The bodice was sewn up, the skirts put together and gathered. Pleating was considered, then dismissed in favour of speed and ease. (I had tried pleating it three times, it just did NOT want to co-operate.) Half the skirt is hand sewn down, with just the front piece to go on. Once that is finished, I'll put the eyelets on and hem it.