The Ninth Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

April 1 to July 31, 2019


Sharon Gray
Georgia, USA

I have been a member of the SCA for about 15 years. I have extensive sewing experience, and recently decided to concentrate on late period garb. I have been mostly concentrating on working class British garb, but decided I wanted to try an Italian costume. My inspiration is a painting by Girolamo Forni (1582) entitled Portrait of a Lady. The painting:

Layers: A white sottana with sleeves; a pinkish veste; a camicia.

Accessories: A fan; a hairnet.


(Updates listed in reverse order)

Second Update: May Progress


Once again, I haven’t been able to complete as much as I had hoped. My mother passed away at the beginning of the month, and I have had a lot of details to handle. However, I am hoping to get a lot finished in the next two months.

Items completed this month:


I finished the farthingale I started last month by stitching cotton twill tape to the waist to make a waistband, hemming the farthingale, and inserting the hoop wire into the hoops. I used hoop wire I purchased in a fabric shop at Pennsic.war. I then sewed a large hook and bar on the waistband to close it. I made the farthingale using a pattern from Margo Anderson’s Elizabethan Underpinnings pattern and documentation.


Item started this month but not yet completed:


I am making a ruff using the information provided in Patterns of Fashion 4 and Margo Anderson’s Elizabethan Accessories pattern. I washed and ironed the linen last month. I then started the ruff by cutting the 3.2 oz linen I purchased from Tied to History into 5 inch strips. I pulled a thread to make sure the ruff was on the straight grain. I then did a hand stitched rolled hem along the outer edge (using all-purpose sewing thread). I whip-stitched the strips together at the joins, per Janet Arnold Volume 4. I have completed about 9 yards of hemming so far.





First Update: April Progress


I’m afraid I haven’t been able to make much progress on my projects. My mother took sick on April 4 and was in ICU for over 3 weeks. So I spent every day at the hospital. She came home under Hospice care on Friday and I have finally been able to start doing some sewing at her house. However, with all the appointments and interruptions it is difficult. Which means I have not finished anything.


Items started this month but not yet completed:


For the farthingale, I used white 2.5 oz/yard linen which I had in my stash. I used the pattern from Margo Anderson’s Elizabethan Lady’s Underpinnings package for a Spanish Farthingale. The dress I am making is from the Modern Maker, and he says the dress is to be worn with a Spanish Farthingale. I first stitched the pieces together using flat-felled seams. Then I stitched 1” bias tape to make a channel for the wire that will be inserted. I just need to put the waistband on, hem it, and put the stiffener in the channels.



Camicia, Partlet with Ruff

I also washed and ironed the linen that I purchased from the Tied to History company for the camicia and ruff/partlet which will be the next projects I work on and finish.