The Ninth Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

April 1 to July 31, 2019


Hannah Sanderson
Washington, USA

Hello, My name is Hannah Sanderson and I am from Washington, USA.

I have followed the IRCC for several years, but this is my first time participating. Until recently I played off-and-on in the SCA, and I have always been a fan of Renaissance Faires. I have been sewing since I was about 12 so I am definitely not a novice to sewing, but I would consider myself a novice to Italian Renaissance costuming as I have only attempted a couple of gowns in this style.

My main inspirations for this project are Raphael's "La Muta" (right, top) and Andrea del Sarto's "Portrait of the Artist's Wife" (right, bottom). I plan to make (1) an embroidered camicia, (2) a corded petticoat, (3) an overgown, and (4) an apron, handkerchief, hat or headscarf (possibly both if I have time), and several necklaces.

Thus far I have done the embroidery on the sleeves (below, left) and made a start on the handkerchief (below, right).


(Updates listed in reverse order)


Third Update: June Progress


Items completed this month:

1. Petticoat

Update time again - this month went by ridiculously fast.

The first thing I tackled this month was the petticoat. Since the previous cording channels were not cooperating, I ripped them out and re-did them by folding the bottom of the fabric up and sandwiching the cording in between. I gathered the top of the skirt into a waistband in which I sewed four eyelets for lacing, and braided a cord out of perle cotton to tie it closed. The petticoat is finished. It is mostly machine-sewn except for the eyelets, which are the first hand-sewn eyelets I’ve ever attempted.







2. Headscarf

The second item I finished is the headscarf. I machine-hemmed the long edges and fringed the short ones. The fringes on one of the ends got trimmed a bit too short, but I figure I can tuck that end out of sight when it’s actually on my head.








I have done a bit on the camicia, but it is far from finished yet. I embroidered the band that the neck will get gathered onto with a herringbone stitch. The rest of the pieces are all cut out and sitting on my sewing table.

Also, I just realized that this month seems to have been the Month of the Stripes…







Second Update: May Progress


Very short update this time around. I managed to finish two of the accessory pieces this month, but that is about all I worked on, largely due to decent gardening weather finally showing up.

Items completed this month:

1. Handkerchief

I hemmed the handkerchief using a simple whipstitch. The handkerchief is now finished.


2. Apron

On the apron, I decided to add a second simpler layer of embroidery above the first one, and when the trim arrived I hand-sewed it to the hem. I used the same embroidery floss for sewing since the color was nearly identical to the trim.



The apron was gathered onto the waistband and the waistband sewn together by machine, although I hand whipstitched the backside of the waistband so that it would not be seen from the front.




I’m sorely tempted to add a third row of embroidery, but for the purpose of this project the apron is finished.

Next up, finishing the camicia, and working on the corded petticoat.





First Update: April Progress


Item completed this month:

Necklace and Bracelet Set

This first progress report will be a short one. I had intended to start off the month with a bang, but life Got In The Way that way that it does and I was not able to complete as much as I had hoped.

The only item that I completed this month was a necklace and bracelet set. I used freshwater pearls, black glass, and goldstone (a synthetic glass material, very much not period-accurate but pretty and sparkly), with gold plated spacer beads. I considered making earrings to go with the set, but decided against it since they don’t show up in most of the pictures that I have found from the time period I’m aiming for (about 1510).



Items started this month but not yet completed:

1. Handkerchief

I was able to finish the embroidery on the handkerchief, but have not yet finished the hem. It is DMC cotton floss on 50-ish count evenweave linen, in double-running stitch. The design is based on an Egyptian “sleeve kerchief” dated from between 1250 and 1517. I changed the colors but the design of the embroidery itself is the same. The extant piece is featured in the book “Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt” by Marianne Ellis. I reason that with many cities in Italy being major trading hubs between western Europe and the Middle East, it is probable that such a handkerchief or at least the design could end up in the hands of an Italian lady.



2. Apron

The embroidery on the apron has been finished, but I still have to attach the waistband and some fringe on the bottom. I ordered the fringe from an Etsy shop located in Thailand, so it’s anyone’s guess when it will actually show up. It is DMC cotton floss on an unknown count of linen, using long-armed cross stitch. The sides and bottom are hemmed by machine for reasons of speed. The embroidery design is not particularly Italian – most of the extant aprons I have found are decorated with voided work or whitework – but it was a pattern I have been wanting to put on something for a while and this seemed a good project for it. The pattern is taken from the book “Charted Peasant Designs from Saxon Transylvania” by Heinz Kiewe. I used waste canvas because I was not willing to destroy my eyeballs trying to count every stitch.



3. Corded Petticoat

Lastly I attempted to start on the corded petticoat, but I need to rethink my technique because managing the excess fabric gave me fits. Fortunately I only got two channels sewed in case I need to rip them out. I’m using ¼ inch cotton “craft cording” and cotton ticking fabric, since I figured the stripes would give me a built-in guide for the cording channels.