The Realm of Venus
Bice da Ghiacceto
Orange County, California, USA
Costumer and SCA Member
A Florentine Gown
in the Style of the 1540s
I am Kerri Morin, also known as Donna Caterucia Bice da Ghiacceto in the
SCA. I live in Orange County,
California (Kingdom of Caid, Barony of Gyldenholt) and have been costuming for
about two years. I am interested in
European historical dress from the 14th – 16th centuries
but focus mainly on Florentine dress.
was made for a Caid Coronation in November, 2004.
It was my third Italian gown and my first ‘court’ dress.
My first two Italians were field dresses so this was the first
time I used nicer, patterned fabric.
When I first started making Italian gowns, I purchased three
fabrics that were on sale for $2/yard.
This red and gold combination stood out to me so I decided on
the fabric before deciding on the style of dress.
looking at portraits and decided my fabric best fit a 16th
century style. As I mentioned in the narrative for my green
and brown gown, sleeves are usually the element that draws me a
specific gown and this dress was no exception.
I loved the puffy sleeve found in several portraits:
Bronzino: Portrait of Lucrezia Pucci Panciatichi, 1540
Bronzino: Young Woman and Her Little Boy, 1540-1545. In
both portraits, the under sleeve is made from a different fabric than
the rest of the dress. I
chose a gold fabric for the under sleeve to compliment the rest of the
dress was constructed using a bodice pattern fitted to me by my
Laurel, Maestra Maria Theresa Ipeñarrieta.
The dress bodice was lined in burgundy cotton and was
interlined with heavy cotton canvas lightly supported with Rigilene.
I decided to make the dress back-lacing so the puffy sleeves
could be set in to the bodice. Side-lacing
wouldn’t have worked as well because of the bulk of the sleeve. I used hand-sewn eyelets along the back of the dress for
I finished the
sleeve seams with binding made from the red and gold fabric and attached them to
I decided to make
the sleeves in two parts. First, I
made a basic sleeve out of the gold fabric. On the outside of the sleeve head is
a hook that attaches the under sleeve to the inside of the puffy, set-in sleeve.
Next, I cut out two more sleeves from my basic pattern in my lining
fabric. I cut off the bottom 2/3 of
the sleeves, leaving me with the ending size of the puffy sleeve.
I used this top 1/3 of my basic sleeve pattern and
exaggerated it to make the basis for the puffy sleeve.
After cutting this shape from the red and gold fabric, I ran a basting
stitch in three horizontal lines across the fabric. I gathered the fabric along these basting stitches until the
puffy sleeve was the same size as my lining fabric. I tacked the puffy sleeve to the lining in several places to
hold the horizontal ‘poofs’. The
sleeves weren’t as puffy as I wanted them to be so I lightly stuffed them with
scraps of linen.
For my first
‘court’ dress I am very happy with the outcome, especially considering the
tight timeframe I had to make it. However,
I still need to make the partlet to wear with the dress.
It is on my ever-growing “To Sew” list but it is getting closer to
I just adore this style of gown! Caterucia's
gown fits her perfectly, and the red and gold combination is divine! I'm
not just saying that because my SCA arms colours are red and gold. Really. :-)
If you would like to contact Caterucia you
can do so at bkmorin (at) socal (dot) rr (dot) com.
Would you like
to be Showcased? E-mail