The Eighth Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

April 1 to July 31, 2018


Raakel Vihavainen
Helsinki, Finland

My name is Raakel Vihavainen. I live in Helsinki, capital city of Finland.

I started sewing at the age of 11. As I started in SCA five years ago, I have been doing Finnish iron-age and 1400-century clothes for myself and my granddaughters. Last year I finished my first very simple Italian outfit. This will be my second try at Italian Renaissance.

I’m planning to sew camicia, drawers, underdress with sleeves and overdress. partlet, hairnet, pocket and muff are in accessory list. Blackwork embroidery for my camicia will be started this month.

First Update

I had been gathering materials for my Italian Renaissance dress for over a year already. So I needed to choose and decide on the materials that will make a good looking outfit together.

I started with the underwear. I cut the pieces for the camicia from thin linen, now I have sewn double gathering threads on the neckline and cuffs.

For the drawers I used cotton that used to be a tablecloth. The pattern is adapted from Janet Arnolds Patterns of Fashion 4. All the seams are hand sewn with linen thread. I planned to make blackwork embroidery for leg cuffs but ended up with simple red vine embroidery in stem stitch.

My drawers are done, but forgot to take finished photo. (Bella: Unfortunately, because a photo of the finished item was not provided, it cannot count as finished this month).

For the muff I bought a fur hat and scarf in white mink. I had to open all the seams and do some patchwork to be able to get a flat piece.

The red velvet is from a childs dress that I bought for 5 Euros, braids are bits and pieces from my stash. I used linen thread in sewing all the pieces together by hand. I sew velvet and braids with silk thread.



Second Update

Wow, how the time flies! Even I have been sewing for 40 years, it is still hard to estimate how much each piece takes time to finish. Well, I’m working on it.

Firstly here are pictures of the drawers which I finished in April but didn’t have picture to show.

The camicia that I cut in April is now finished. The neckline blackwork that I planned would have taken too much time so I chose to keep to a simple two centimetre trim for the neckline. I narrowly turned and hemmed all the edges first. Then I whip-stiched the seams together.

I realized that before starting with my dresses I have to make myself stays to reach the needed silhouette. Two layers of rigid linen and beautiful toplayer were stiched together to make the boning channels. I’m going to use zip ties as boning, they aren’t historically accurate but as I’m going to use my stays in SCA life, they are easier to wash and maintain. Holes for the lacing are stitched with buttonhole silk thread that I found from my stash.

The partlet is cut from sheer chiffon. I have sweetwater pearls to embellish my partlet. First I have to sew the 'grid' with the thin gold braid. Next comes the challenging part of deciding which dress to carry on with, and of course drawing patterns and mocking them up.