The Eighth Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

April 1 to July 31, 2018


Melissa DeCecco
Pennsylvania, USA

I've been slowly learning to sew for several years but only really got into historic costuming and cosplay over the past two years. This is my first attempt at a garment from the Italian Renaissance. This challenge is by far the most ambitious thing I've ever attempted and I am looking forward to learning a lot in the process.

My goal is to create an outfit from somewhere around 1490 - 1510 ish. The outfit will be: Layer 1: A camicia in a light-weight bleached cotton. Layer 2: Will be a side laced reversible gown in a dark blue and dark teal cotton sateen. Layer 3: Will be either an open fronted over dress or a mantle (this largely depends on time). Layer 4: For accessories I plan to make two necklaces, a pocket, and jeweled hair accessory.

First Update

April featured some unavoidable setbacks but I did manage to begin work on the camicia. My original plan had been to completely hand sew it for some practice on a garment that will be largely invisible, but I've switched to machine sewing to try to catch up and only hand sewing to finish seams and hems.

For cutting and assemblage of the camicia I've been using Jen Thompson's camicia pattern as a guide.

Preparing to cut the fabric. I used the pulled thread method to keep my cuts straight. While I've never worked with something so fine it was easier to cut than I had expected.

Preparing to hand finish the seam.

Second Update

May was fairly productive, even if I am still catching up to where I had wanted to be. The camicia is in the final stretch, hopefully to be finished this weekend.

Since I didn't have long stretches of free time this month to focus on more complicated pieces, I started work on my accessories to get them out of the way. I completed one necklace and my hair jewel and started the second necklace (although I don't love the way it's turning out so I may redo it). Second necklace asside I am pretty pleased with how things have been going.

The finished necklace was made with vintage glass pearls spaced with gold seed beads and a vintage pearl pendant.

It has a magnetic clasp to make it easier to take on and off because it fits really tight to my throat.

The band for the hair jewel is a super long three strand braid of #10 crochet cotton. Silk would probably be more accurate but I felt cotton would do better staying on my head.


I replaced a clear rhinestone with a dark blue one to match the dark blue side of the dress.

How to put the two together stumped me for a bit. I settled on stitching it to the cord and hiding it between the blue stone and the clear one