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)


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.