The Ninth Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

April 1 to July 31, 2019


April Maybee
Indiana, USA

I am studying for an MFA in ‘real life’ and an experienced costumer by avocation. I look forward to doing the IRCC this summer while on a break from my studies. It will be wonderful to relax and sew! While I am an experienced costumer, for this competition I am trying a period which is entirely new to me, the early 1500’s, and I hope learn many new things.

I will be making an outfit based on the one worn by the figure of Profane Love in Tiziano Vecellio’s (Titian’s) painting Sacred and Profane Love, dated 1514. (See detail, right).

Layer 1: A camicia with a rounded neckline held by an embroidered band and closed at the front by a small tie threaded through two eyelets. The sleeves will be open at the bottom.
Layer 2: An under-dress with full upper sleeves pleated and sewn into a close sleeve on the forearm.

Layer 3: An over-dress with full sleeves left open at the bottom.
Layer 4: I plan to make the following accessories: gloves, a belt, a wreath, shoes.

I may also make an additional layer 3 item, if time allows: a loose gown called a mongile, based on information found here.

(Updates listed in reverse order)


First Update: April Progress


As I had anticipated, the press of my MFA studies prevented me from getting much done on my IRCC9 ensemble this month but I was able to conduct some research and begin work on two of the accessories: the gloves and the belt. Luckily, the semester is now ending so I will be able to focus properly on my sewing for the rest of the challenge.

Items started but not yet completed:

1. Gloves

I chose to begin this project from a pair of purchased gloves so my first steps were researching the appearence and probable construction of this type of folded and slashed glove, and purchasing a suitable base to work with. My work from that point has mostly been disassembling the purchased gloves to remove the unwanted lining and decorative elastic scrunching. This resulted in a lovely plain pair of gloves which I am altering by reversing some seam allowances, and shortening, folding, and slashing the cuffs.


2. Belt

I was unable to find a sufficently detailed copy of the painting to replicate the original belt so I am basing my piece on this design for a belt clasp, circa 1532-1534, by Hans Holbein the Younger. The original drawing is held by the British Museum.

Clasp of a belt, one of ten designs for parts of belts, from the 'Jewellery Book'; bar at centre with symmetrical arabesque design either side. Brush drawing, with black and light brown wash.


I will be making the belt in brass and like the belt in my inspiration painting it will have a central oval stone flanked by two heavily ornamented side pieces of approximately equal size. I plan to separate the two halves of Holbein's design and use them to frame the central stone.

This is my current design.