The Realm of Venus Presents....
Lady Katerina da Brescia
Adelaide, SA, Australia
I saw the painting of this dress and fell in love with it. I was in need of some garb for the Bal Purpure I was running (l5th April, 2003). The inspiration was an Italian portrait by an unknown artist, "Portrait of a Florentine Noblewoman" circa. 1540.
Materials: I found a lovely, self patterned furnishings material and decided to use this to make the dress. I lined the bodice with canvas to stiffen it, and used cotton drill for the inner lining that would be seen. I tried for natural materials, could not afford linen. Also linen canvas weight material was not available to me. A fine cotton voile was used for the chemise and also for the fake puffs through the slashes on the sleeves.
Execution: The bodice was
stiffened with canvas, in an attempt to give some body to the
bodice. There are no visible lacings in the portrait. Janet
Arnold's Paterns of Fashion, shows Eleanor of Toledo's gown, with
a similar shaped bodice, though a little later in period, to have
side back lacings. For the sleeves, I decided to use fake puffs
of chemise. Also, looking at the portrait, it appears that fake
puffs may have been used. The postioning of the slashes were as
best I could figure from the portrait. The trim was cut on the
bias, to form the 'picadils' and hopefully reduce bulk, and
fraying. The top slashes were lined, to reduce the chance of
fraying, as the chemise would be pulled through this area. So it
could be cut I box-pleated the skirt, which is as it appears to
be in the portrait. I tried to leave all visible sewing as
hand-sewing, as with the couched cord trim. I made the cord,
using a finger-braiding technique. The Photos
I had the pleasure of judging the A&S competition for garb at which Lady Katerina wore this dress for the first time, and the pictures really don't do it justice. Katerina paid a lot of attention to detail, and ended up winning the competition.
Katerina's favourite colour, which is one of the colours of her SCA Arms suits her well, and the fabric she chose lends itself to the style of the gown very well indeed. The bodice fits quite well, the skirt is pleated up nicely, the lacing was well done, and those sleeves are just gorgeous. On the whole a very lovely gown indeed!
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