The Realm of Venus
Costumer and SCA Member
A Venetian Gown in the Style of the 1550s
I have been sewing since I was a little girl. I was raised by my Great Grandmother… so it was expected. I discovered the SCA when I was in High School, which gave me a great outlet for that particular talent. I spent many years doing the “Norse Thing,” but it became the “in” thing in my Kingdom, which made me want to do something else entirely. So, I’ve started dabbling in later period clothes. Germans, Italians, Tudors; I’m planning on doing them all! Below follows my journey into Venetians.
I spent many, many hours searching the web for inspiration. I read dress diaries, looked at paintings, spoke with other costumers, and generally day dreamed instead of working. [grin]
The portraits that made me the happiest were:
I absolute adore the fact that they are “larger” women. It is very nice to see that you don’t have to be a modern thin woman to look fabulous in these dresses. Especially since I’m not what anyone would consider thin!
Before I had finalized the shape of the dress that I wanted, I found my ultimate fabric. I was wandering around one of my local upholstery stores, and came across the most delectable taffeta:
It is a wonderful copper color – brown and orange cross weave – with yummy embroidery all over. And… one of my favorite parts… the pussy willows are fuzzy!
Okay, I had my inspiration, I had my fabric. To top it off, we had our “fancy dress” event coming up! Only problem? It was in 10 days! That’s okay. My friends say that I’m insane… and I just might be.
The first try-on of the bodice showed that I needed to raise the hip curve. A lot. I took it up about 2 inches, then hand stitched the fashion fabric onto the linen. The camicia is made out of light cotton batiste, which is gathered. The gathering is held together by a double line of black ribbon.
The sleeves are simple bag sleeves tied onto the bodice using ribbon.
For jewelry, I’ve chosen pearls, pearls, and more pearls. Fortunately, I have an understanding husband… after spending many years gathering Norse jewelry bits, I’ve now completely turned around into late period stuff! So, because he loves me, I now have a lot of pearls too. The belt is made up of a combination of amber colored glass beads and gold chain.
I love it - it's gorgeous! The fabric is stunning. Why can't I find fabric like this? Bravissima!!
would like to check out the dress diary for this showcase you can do so at
You can contact Vigdis at venetian (at) silverdor.org
Would you like to be Showcased? E-mail me!