The Realm of Venus
Dame Fearga Kavanagh
Greetings! I am Dame Fearga Kavanagh, and I have been an SCA participant for (mumble) years. Okay, 25 this summer (I joined when I was 3!). I was elevated to the Order of the Laurel for Costuming in 1998, and have pursued further insanity by allowing myself to be elevated to the Order of the Pelican in 2000.
I have been sewing since I was four years old—my mother was and is a tailor, and felt that an education in the fine art of clothing construction was more important than learning to cook. I can’t really get through the day without some interaction with fabric, be it research, shopping, or just going through my stash.
After so many years in the SCA, I had reached a stage where I was burnt out. I wasn’t enjoying research, I didn’t want to be in front of my sewing machine, and nothing was inspiring. Then I found this site just after the lovely Bella started doing the Showcases. I was re-energized by the stunning gowns and the great descriptions from the lovely ladies—the enthusiasm was contagious! I found myself drawn to two images in the portraits sections as my primary inspiration:
Then I found these charming ladies:
More orange, and depictions of women of substance! A clear representation of a bust line curve!
Being a solid size 20-22, I was drawn to the voluptuousness of the Venetian women. I thought to myself, I have the charming double chin and the nice squishy shape of those ladies! What an ideal period to explore! Off I went to the sewing room.
My various jewelry bits are from my personal collection. The belt was strung up and then whipstiched into place to follow the line of the bodice. The outrageous pearl drop earrings were found at a local thrift shop—I dropped a piece of fabric, and when I leaned over to pick it up, there they were, staring at me in the jewelry case, and all of $3.
The first time I got all dressed up in this gown, I knew exactly how this woman felt:
I’m not a young’n. I’m not skinny. My hair is well on the way to white. But this dress makes me feel powerful. I can take over a room in this gown—I feel confident, comfortable, and completely at ease. And I can wear it for 14 hours straight and not get a pinch, a pull, or a backache and not one bit of me slides out of place. I also feel the closest I’ve ever felt to “being in period.”
My friend Karis (last month’s showcase) and I had terrific fun building these gowns, and thank all of you who are exploring this era. You’ve really made it fun to sew again, and for that I am most grateful!
Wow. Just....wow. I love the combination of
colours in this fabric - orange and pink! So unexpected, but so right together.
Delicious. Dame Fearga has done a terrific job in creating a sumptuous and
inspiring Venetian gown. Brava Fearga!
Would you like to be Showcased? E-mail me!