The Realm of Venus
Lisa Jean Tompkins
Costumer and Ren Faire
A Venetian Gown
in the Style of the 1570s and
my name is Lisa Jean. I have been sewing since I was 5 and doing historical
costumes for almost as long as I can remember. The Renaissance has always been a
passion of mine and a few years ago while working at Joann fabrics I met some
people that introduced me to the SCA. I now work full time out of my home
selling renaissance costumes over the internet. I plan to expand and open a shop
in the near future.
started with the red fabric of the overskirt, I found it and
couldnít resist buying the entire bolt. I knew I wanted to make a
Courtesan Gown with it, But thatís about as far as I had planned.
The Dress finally started coming together when a friend in the
upholstery business gave me a gift of a large amount of fabric scraps.
I found my bodice fabric there as well as the sleeves.
started my research and began drawing out sketches of what I wanted,
the final sketch I came up with is pictured here, but as you can see I
modified several things as I went along, I added an underskirt, and
changed the sleeves a bit.
I didnít exactly copy any dress from a painting or movie, I was
influenced by several paintings and also greatly influenced by the
movie, 'Dangerous Beauty'. I have copied a few of the gowns from that
movie in the past and this time I wanted something of my own design. I
came up with the chemise from pictures of decadent partlets. I wanted
it to be very thin and almost sheer, but soft as well. I found the
perfect fabric for that on renaissancefabrics.net, Diana was a
wonderful help in getting that to me. I pin tucked the collar and yoke
of the chemise for the rich partlet feel I was looking for.
pattern I came up with by blending a pattern I had with a pattern I saw
pictured in a book.
overskirt I cartridge pleated to the bodice, and made an adjustable
bustle, the dress was pictured with the bustle up but it can be lowered
to a train as well. I did that with little brass rings in rows on the
inside and gathered up on cords.
sleeves were the biggest bother to me, I was very indecisive, I knew I
wanted the slashed look for the chemise to poke through but I had a
hard time deciding exactly what I wanted to do with that. I decided on
the full sleeve with the slashing at the top, and it worked well
except I am still a bit unhappy that they didnít poof out as much as
I had wanted in the end.
all along the slashes of the sleeves and at the cuffs, I also beaded
much of the front of the Bodice and the collar of the chemise. I think
I spent close to 100 hours beading this gown.
think that this is my best gown to date, but I am already in the planning stages
of making one that I hope will top it.
Wow. This is the first film-inspired submission
to the showcase and what a Beauty it is indeed! The colours, the texture, the
little details that just make the outfit 'pop'. Mmmmmm....yummy. Brava Lisa!
If you would like to contact Lisa you can do so
at MJsLisaJean (at) yahoo (dot) com
Would you like
to be Showcased? E-mail