The Eighth Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

April 1 to July 31, 2018


Rebecca Egan
Colorado, USA

Geek, Baker, Historical Costuming Enthusiast, great lover of silks and linens.

I will be making a ladder-laced gown, camicia, drawers, zimmura di petti, partlet, garters.

First Update

As I've been madly cooking this month I'm managed to squeeze in a wee bit of IRCC sewing time.

One of my big goals this year is to have one (at item done at each check in. First month I can report success! I have completed a delightfully frothy pair of drawers. Linen, all French-seamed for durability. I did a wee bit of seam decoration by machine by doing the ever popular star in pink. The waistband is bound in pink satin elastic, for ease of wear. For the extra bit of froth I added a rose lace trim to the hem. The trim also weighs the hem down so the don't crawl up.

I also got the bodice for the ladder-laced gown cut out and based to a flannel interlining. I'm thinking I need to shorten up the back of the bodice, maybe the tongue in front too.

That's all now for me. Back to the batcave to accomplish more!

Second Update

This month has been mainly about getting multiple portions of the project rolling.

I decided to revive an old idea of mine to make a pair of effigy inspired stays out of lightweight linen and weed trimmer cord (the smooth kind that's crap for cutting grass lol). When I first tested this tech ages ago I went with this material because it has the same tensile strength as whalebone. But it's obviously more humane & it goes through the washer & dryer like a champ. My method isn't complicated but it is time consuming! Cut each individual piece of boning then stitch it between the linen layers while the fabric is held slightly at tension. This is my third run at this technique/style. I've ended up quilting with no boning the over hip sections for ease of movement. I've almost got it to the point I can do a test lacing up! But I still foresee much Netflix time before I'm at endgame on this one.

Next was the bodice of the ladder laced gown. I decided to scrap my original bodice. I used an older pattern of mine, my body has just changed shape too much for it to fit smoothly. So I drafted a new pattern based on a recent draping of my body & started over. I got most of the layers cut but ran out of wadding. Fortunately I'll be able to use the fabric from the first bodice for bits of the sleeves.

Next item I got rolling was the partlet. I've always been enamored of the partlet shown on the central figure in this fresco. I actually bought the pearl tufted organza I'm using to create this partlet to go with my very first Venetian gown that was featured on Realm Of Venus. But obviously I never got around to it back then. So continuing the theme of use up the fabric stash I'm going for it now. Since it's a very open look I'm going with the strip method instead of the more curved neck cut. I cut out my two strips of organza and then two underarm pieces of linen. I did a pinned together test run to make sure it was gonna sit correctly. I'm pretty happy with how it's sitting so far. The linen is hemmed by machine. And I've got the ribbon pressed to do the ribbon finished edge just like in the fresco. The fresco also shows a small ruff along the edge of the partlette. I took an oval shaped silk organza veil that I'd cut out years ago and ripped it into 4" strips. It yielded roughly nine yards of strips. Said strips were ironed flat, seamed into one long strip, then folded over and stitched into a tube. Then I pressed the tube flat to aid in pleating it. Overall I think the partlet and ruff will be my carry around handwork projects for next month.

Last on the line up for this month is my stomacher. An essential piece to smooth the line of the corset so it doesn't show through my camicia behind the lacing. This idea was also inspired by this portrait.

Its not a complicated piece, honestly I think I spent more time digging through the fabric stash, currently in a huge pile awaiting sorting before moving to its new home, the storage shed. But I knew we had leftovers of the brocade my mother used for making a snuffkin a few years back. Once it was found I drafted a quick pattern based on my new bodice, and cut out a nice centered motif in the brocade. Layered that with some batting and a linen lining from the stash, plus two pinning tabs from cotton twill tape. A quick stitch, clip corners, and turn......and voila a stomacher! I closed up the turnig point a gave it a good press before I took the final picture. Hopefully it'll function much like the look in the portrait. Plus it meets my goal of one item complete for the month!

Next month will be lots of hand-sewing for me. But since we're going on a roadtrip to an event in South Dakota that'll work just dandy.