The Eighth Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

April 1 to July 31, 2018


Christa Gordon
Idaho, USA

I'm Christa, I've been sewing costumes for about 20 years now. I started doing Italian costuming about ten years ago. I love a challenge and hope to try some new styles and techniques I've never done before.

I hope to make a chemise, drawers, gown and doublet over gown. I'll be trying the modern maker drafting system which is completely new to me so this will be an adventure!

First Update

The Plan!

Purple doublet-style gown
Quilted sleeves

What was finished this month:


The partlet is made of pre-embroidered linen. Was machine sewn together with each seam flat felled. The collar was attached by hand. While it is in a state of done I may add lace to the collar and maybe run a strip of elastic around the bottom to help hold it in place around the chest- although I've worn several comfortably without such fastening that detail will come down to time and how it lays with the rest of the outfit later.


Not sure how much of my grand plan for this outfit will get finished. I needed a corset to smooth my shape under the doublet. Using the corset generator online I put together a simple corset using two layers of canvas and linen. I used plastic zip ties to do some very light boning. Machine sewn, hand done eyelets.


As an experiment I made a petticoat out of a cotton quilt. This was a cheaper alternative to the matelasse fabric I have used in the past and its a lovely soft cotton vs. the stiffer poly of the matelasse. If I can't finish an under gown the plan is to use the petticoat as under skirt with the planned doublet.



The chemise is habatoi silk which I love to work with. All edges are finished with a narrow hem then the finished edges will be whip stitched together. The neck caseing and cuffs will be a slightly heavier weight silk to help them keep their shape better. Currently it's just a bunch of rectangles that have been hemmed- truly boring progress pic but hopefully next month I'll have it done.

Gown pattern

Using the Bara method (Modern Maker Vol 2) I drafted a bodice and doublet pattern. This was completely new to me and I am very pleased at how it came together. I think I am now at a point I can start cutting out the gown pieces

Second Update

With the end of the school year I have not been as productive as I hoped this month. Although I'm thrilled I'm to a point where I just need to complete the camicia and gown to have a full outfit.



With the start of camping season coming up fast I wanted a pair of passable medieval shoes to wear. Something comfy and affordable that will look good with anything I wear. I started with a cheap pair of lace up tennis shoes, did some cutting and trimming then added some embroidery which reinforces the fabric left after cutting and takes it that step further to hide its modern beginnings.


This fan started its life as a crumb brush I found online. I removed the bristles then after preparing the feathers, tying plumes together and steaming them to make them look fuller, I used air dry clay to put it all together.


The pattern is taken from Il Burato: libro de recami a Modelbuch dated from 1527 in Venice. I used left over silk and left over embroidery floss from my stash and used chain stitch. It is then lined in red silk and that same silk makes the ties.