The Ninth Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

April 1 to July 31, 2019


Eva Bolinder
Västerbotten, Sweden

My name is Eva Bolinder, I live in Västerbotten, Sweden. I'm a member of the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) since a few years back, where I'm known as Mira, from the Shire of Uma, in Nordmark.

I am an Italian Renaissance novice. I have made some pretty basic medieval garb and other dresses before, and am really looking forward to making something Italian.

My main inspiration is Sofonisba Anguissola's painting 'Three Children With Dog'. I plan to make a camicia (and drawers, if time is on my side), underskirt (possibly roped skirt too), sottana, lastly partlet and at least a pocket, maybe some necklace(s), a hair snood and stockings. Alternatively if no camicia or that part goes unwell, a partlet as underwear layer.


(Updates listed in reverse order)


First Update: April Progress


Item started this month but not yet completed:


I started with the camicia, and at first I was very indecisive on just what design to use. Reading "The Evolution of the Camicia" by Baroness Rainillt Leia de Bello Marisco (mka Lee Ann Posavad), and discussing things in the Facebook group (thank you, creatively inspiring and helpful people!) helped me decide on a more flat and not so voluminous front design, with underarm gussets and side gores. I also added a square collar thing that helped raise the collar-line a bit too, whew.

In hindsight I could perhaps have used the more common design, and added a square collar to that. And drats, I thought I cut the fabric generously enough, but apparently not, since the camicia barely reaches my knees.

In the painting it appears the volume of the sleeves is mostly vertical, rather than horizontal, read: veeeery long sleeves, or at least at the top, but otherwise not overly snug but still giving a slim look over the arms, and dainty wrist cuff details.

To get the pleated effect on the upper sleeve area before sewing it to the body piece, I used silk thread of unknown gauge to gather the fabric. And oops, this thread is actually visible, should have either attached sleeves further in to avoid this showing, or removed it. Hmm.






I pondered doing like Laurie Tavan did for her lovely Florentine outfit, adding a separate underarm cuff and wrist cuff to a poufy upper sleeve like shown in more detail here. But in the end after not being very happy with my toile for a sleeve with three parts, I decided to try something also inspired by the painting "Judith with the head of Holofernes" (ca 1525) by Vincenzo Catena, that she too used for inspiration. This enabled me to flatten away most of the excess fabric on the lower end of the sleeve. Although the pleats could perhaps have been slightly smaller, to not be too noticeable as such.

I worry the overall length of the sleeve is too short though, and that a separate cuff (with buttons) would have been the smarter choice not just for this reason, but for an even snugger fit around the wrists (and I'm not very happy with the chaotic looking seams, compared to how nice and neat it looks in the portrait). Alas, one way to find out soon.

It's a good thing this is a garment is an underlayer, since in some places I made the inwards fold overlap too much, and instead made double fell seam. I don't remember the English term, but I think in Swedish it's commonly referred to as tältsöm, tent seam, that means I need to add another seam to flatten it down on the outside as well.


I'm determined to try to sew most if not all of this project by hand. The camicia fabric used is 4 oz linen, combined with 60/2 linen thread (and a slightly larger needle and beeswax, praised be bees, yup!) Overall, sewing by hand isn't too frustrating, I just need to remember to do it little by little, and keep practicing to get those neat stitches and how not to stab myself in the fingers, repeatedly. ;)

For next month, extra flat-fell fix, finish sleeves and cuffs, and I might do some basic embroidery details/whitework on the cuffs and the collar. Either way, I plan to finish the camicia before the end of May, and start on the underskirt.



I've also started on the pattern for the sottana bodice.

I've made some basic toiles for the bodice of the sottana, mainly to see if the camicia collar line would work or not, and to get an idea of whether camicia gussets and sottana armscyes would work out. Those straps and center front though, if one looks good, the other one doesn't, still needs lots more toil(e)ing away.