The Realm of Venus Presents....

talian howcase


Lisa Jean Tompkins

Arizona, USA

Costumer and Ren Faire Participant

A Venetian Gown in the Style of  the 1570s and
 'Dangerous Beauty'

Lisa Says

Hello, 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.



This dress 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.

So I 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, 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.  


The bodice pattern I came up with by blending a pattern I had with a pattern I saw pictured in a book.


The 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.


   The 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.

I beaded 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.


 I 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.


Bella Says.....

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 me!


(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.)