The Ninth Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

April 1 to July 31, 2019


Mandy L'Estrelle
Christchurch, New Zealand

My name's Mandy L’Estrelle. I’m now living in Christchurch , New Zealand but was previously from Perth, Western Australia. I’m a confirmed IRCC addict. It’s been eight years now and I haven’t been able to give up the habit yet so here goes for a ninth year! I love sewing Italian garb and each year I try to extend my knowledge and skills and also to encourage others to do the same.

My outfit this year is leaning towards an outfit based on 1570s style portraits by Lavinia Fontana. As per previous years I will be trying to use only fabric and trims etc. that I have already accumulated in my stash, this year even more so due to tight budget restrictions.

My four layers will include: a camicia, sottana, giubonne and veste, with coral necklace and earrings, also a veil.


(Updates listed in reverse order)


Third Update: June Progress


Items Completed This Month:

1. Giubonne / Doublet

This month I completed construction of my doublet and made sure to try on both the sottana with its optional sleeves and then remove those and try on the doublet over the sottana. All seems to be fitting quite well considering I don't have any help with fittings.



2. Necklaces and Earrings Set

I have also completed a necklace and earrings set that I was working on last month, as well as made two more necklaces, one long red coral one and also a shorter real pearl one that features both white and mauve pearls.



Item started but not yet completed:

1. Veste / Over-dress

I cut out and have almost completed construction of the veste, which is from a silk lined with a linen/cotton blend lining fabric. The sleeves are long hanging design. All the trim has been hand sewn on and beaded, a process taking quite some time. I also hand sewed in the linings. The edges also have hand cut binding which with be slashed once construction is completely finished.



I am currently constructing the pleated and pointed baragoni which will be sewn in when the sleeves are attached.



I also bought myself a new inkle loom, so I am weaving myself a pair of garters using a combination of cream silk thread and a gold cotton thread. It's slow going as I haven't woven for a while but hopefully I will get them done in time.

So far I am tracking very well to get the outfit completed by my shortened timeframe of July 12 in time for our local SCA coronation weekend. Just the partlet to go after the veste is finished.




Second Update: May Progress


Items completed this month:

1. Sottana

So this month was sottana month.

I had some nice cream and gold curtains I found in an op shop that were just perfect to go with the mauve silk I have chosen for the veste so they were pulled apart. I inspected them and there looked to be no visible imperfection, I doubt they had ever been used.

Deciding which side of the brocade to use.


I used my usual pattern that was based on the Toledo burial gown, and that I know fits comfortably. The internals are two layers of cotton canvas boned with cable ties.

Bodice internals

Boning in place


I ended up using my good light gold silk to line the bodice as nothing else seemed to tone in nicely with the brocade.

Bodice front

Bodice construction


The skirt is very simply gathered and attached to the bodice. I use soutache as lacing as I have a huge stash of it.The hem is felted and lined to give stiffness.


Once I got to this stage the sottana was too pretty to be just worn as an under gown, she wanted sleeves so she can be worn on her own as well. So I ascertained how much fabric I had left and decided some "simple" Eleanore of Toledo style paned sleeves as an extra seperate piece were possible with a few extra seams that I wouldn't normally do but wouldn't be too awfully noticeable.

Cutting out panes

Many panes


So back to my pattern stash. I cut out and constructed the panels for the sleeves. but on arranging them in order, I discovered I must have done something wrong, they were huge!!! So rather than unpick them all, my 8-panel sleeves became 6-panel sleeves. This is when I remembered that this style of sleeve is anything but quick and easy! I spent the best part of two weeks, probably 4-6 hours most days, hand sewing and pearling the sleeves together.

They are lined with the same light gold silk, feature a lovely beige venise lace around the cuffs and alternating pearl sizes up the panes where they attache to each other. The tops of the panes are hand gathered onto cotton tapes to give the scrunched effect. The ties are made from the silk, with cast brass aiglets sewn onto the ends. Lacing rings are sewn on the inside of the sottanna straps to attach the sleeves easily when necessary.


So the sottana is now complete.



2. Belt

I also played with some jewellery pieces to go with the gown. I have made a belt so far, and I'm working a necklace and earrings. These will probably only be worn when the sottana and sleeves are worn on their own. I forsee other jewellery pieces for the complete outfit.


Item started but not completed:

Giubonne / Doublet

I have also managed to cut out the next item, an ivory silk/cotton blend giubonne with decorative slashing on the sleeves.


The slashing pattern took me a few hours to draw up onto a calico pattern, which I then pinned down onto a board with the two layers of silk. A mallet and wood chisel came in handy to do the slashed and then a small hole punch for the rest of the pattern.


Next month I will be constructing the giubonne and also moving onto the veste and further accessories.




First Update: April Progress

Item completed this month:


It has been a rough month for me. We have to suddenly move house again and it has taken a real toll on me mentally and physically. I have however managed to make a simple chemise with tightly pleated cuffs, thanks to my smocking pleater, and a couple of simple handkerchiefs.

The chemise design is based on an extant one in the Museo del Prado, however I simplified the design by flaring the cutting of the fabric rather than adding gores as the fabric was wide enough to give enough fullness without the extra seaming.

The handkerchiefs occurred as I ended up with two square off cuts so I hemmed them and added lace edging so as not to waste the fabric.