Welcome to a new Italian Renaissance Costuming Mini Challenge. Our mini challenges usually run from the first to the last day of a month, and this one is no different. From January 1 - 31, 2014, participants will be required to create an item, or items, made from, or with, fur, in the style of the late Italian Renaissance (1480 - 1600). Either real (re-purposed or recycled), or faux fur may be used.
The item or items must be started from scratch no earlier than January 1 2014 (in your time zone). You have until 31 December 2013 to register as a participant (details on how to enter, below).

Uses and Types of Fur

Lining - Fur was primarily used as a full lining in garments. Garments could have their linings replaced when the fur became too worn, and this was then recycled into garments worn around the house. Both men's and women's garments were lined with various furs. These garments were: long loose over-gowns (both for indoors, and out); short over-gowns, cloaks, sleeved cloaks, and capes; short mantles; riding capes; maternity gown (short); dressing gown; ducal gown; Venetian underskirt.
In addition, sleeves are cited in at least one source as possibly being lined with fur independently of the garment they were to be attached to, as well as "trousers" (upper hosen).
Facing/trimming - Fur as also used as a facing/trimming, in both short and long over-gowns.
Accessories - Muffs. Shoes, and boots, as well as gloves, could be lined with various furs. I have also found a reference to fans in Venice being made "of lynx and ermine", prior to being forbidden by the sumptuary laws of 1522. Furs were also carried by women which were made from the entire pelts, including head and feet, of various animals.

Other Items
Fur was also used to line bedding - a "bed ensemble", "bed throw", "blanket", and (bed) "cover".

Furs mentioned are: squirrel (variously mentioned as 'fine squirrel', 'squirrel bellies', or even 'squirrel tail'); sable, ermine, wolf, lynx, marten, pigskin. There are also mentions of black lambskin, white lambskin, Spanish cat, cat, puppy, suckling animal, and a "false ermine" made from sheepskin with black tails.

How to Enter


All you need to register as a participant is to send me an e-mail (link below) providing your: 

  • name (legal, not SCA name please)

  • location (state/province and country)

  • and a head and shoulders photo, by no later than 31 December 2013.

Challenge Guidelines

  1. The item/s you enter must be started - from scratch - no earlier than January 1st 2014 (in your time zone).

  2. Your item/s need to be completed by January 31st 2014 (in your time zone).

  3. I will accept progress photos - that is photos of the unfinished item/s - of your items IF you wish to take and send them to me, as these are very useful for evaluation purposes. However, progress photos are NOT required.

  4. A photo of each completed item (or several photos if required) MUST be sent no later than , so please ensure you have your camera, batteries, cables, etc., ready to use when you need them.

  5. A short write-up documenting your item/s period-accuracy and all hand-work done needs to accompany the photo/s. Please make sure that the e-mail address you use to email me is one that you use and check regularly so that I can contact you if needed.

If I've forgotten to address anything, or if you have any questions please ask before the challenge begins. 


Only one winning item will be chosen, based on the following factors: period-accuracy (most important) hand-work (second in importance), and aesthetics (very subjective of course). The prize will be a Gift Certificate from the online retailer of the winner's choice, to the value of $US20, or $AUS20, or 15, or 15, to be provided by yours truly.

A little about the challenges. The inaugural Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge (IRCC) ran from April to August 2011 in celebration of The Realm of Venus' tenth year online. It was the first challenge I had ever run, and a lot of fun for not only the participants, but for me too. I decided that since the IRCC leaves eight months of the year free, running a mini-challenge would allow for those who prefer a shorter, more focused challenge, or for those who want more! Thus was born the Italian Renaissance Costuming Mini-Challenge: a month-long challenge, usually on a theme voted on by those who participate on my Facebook Page. The first Mini-Challenge was the 'Idle Hands' challenge which ran in October 2011, followed by 'Over and Above' in February this year, followed by a special mini-challenge - Perfectly Period Pink - in September to October 2012, to raise money for Breast Cancer.

Banner image taken from: Countess Livia da Porto Thiene, 1551. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.



2001 - 2014 Anabella Wake (Known in the SCA as Bella Lucia da Verona) I hold copyright on all information on these pages, and on all images of clothing/costume that I have made. You are allowed to make one facsimile copy for your own use provided that this notice is included on each page. Please ask permission to copy, disseminate and/or distribute my work - I would like to know when and how you are finding this information of use.