The Realm of Venus Presents....

talian howcase


Donna Caterucia Bice da Ghiacceto
(Kerri Morin)
Orange County, California, USA

Costumer and SCA Member

A Florentine Gown in the Style of  the 1540s


Caterucia Says...

Hello!  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.


This 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.  

I started 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:  Agnolo Bronzino: Portrait of Lucrezia Pucci Panciatichi, 1540  and Agnolo 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. 



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 lacing. 



I finished the sleeve seams with binding made from the red and gold fabric and attached them to the bodice.

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 the top! 



Bella Says.....

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.

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(Copyright Information: As author I, Anabella Wake, known in the SCA as Bella Lucia da Verona, hold copyright on all information on these pages. In addition I hold copyright 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.)