Extant Italian Shifts (Camicie)

Civic Museum, Milan

16th Century

This camicia, plates 163 and 164 from Old Italian Lace is located in the section of the book on Reticello. Whilst she does not say anything specifically about these camicie, other than that they are "original shirts with reticello", the author discusses elsewhere the methods of working the linen for items such as the camicia:

"Drawn thread work lead rapidly to cut linen, which prepared the way for reticello...The new handicraft made its way with help of patterns intended for embroidery, until 1542 when Mathio Pagan published his Ornamenti designed exclusively for punto tagliato...The novelty of the thing centres on the word tagliato; no longer is the linen merely drawn, it is drawn and cut. An open-work line marks the edges of the band destined to bear the lace-pattern, and a cord strengthens and holds the linen at the spot where it will be cut away to receive the transparent work....These simple means suffice clever workers to produce ornaments and rosettes, figures and personages; soon we see the tyranny of the unvarying triangles evaded by the substitution of novel forms such as little leaves, scrolls, or flowers, and with such excellent results that the punto tagliato becomes merged in punto a reticello."

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