The Realm of Venus Presents...

he talian howcase



Lady Anora Marchaunt

Colorado, USA
(Incipient Canton of Raven Hyrst, Barony of Caerthe, Kingdom of the Outlands )

Costumer, SCA Member and Renaissance Festival Cast Member

A Venetian Outfit in the Style of  the 1560s


Anora Says...

 I've been acting and doing Ren fairs for as long as I can remember, then in 1998 I discovered the SCA and found a place where I could wear my ren fair garb every weekend! In 1999 I was asked to be on the royal court and my mother and I sat down and constructed our first court garb.... I've been hooked on the upper class ever since. Since my first year playing Princess Mary I have been teaching myself how to do historic costumes by trial and error, I sometimes get odd looks as I'm the girl who goes to SCA camping events wearing my Elizabethans.... hoops and all! For several years I've billed myself as a consort for hire and Courtesan of the fine Kingdom of the Outlands, but I had not yet tackled an Italian dress instead sticking to my Tudor and Elizabethans. 

In August of 2006 I gave birth to my son and found my Elizabethan surcoat very comfortable for nursing so I wore it often to events, I was at our annual event Boo at the Zoo when a friend made a comment about me wearing "that dress again" and how boring my garb had become after having a baby.... I knew I needed a new dress.... My husband found the whole situation very funny and on the way home from the event I asked if we could hit a fabric store so I could get some new fabric for my new creation, still laughing he reminded me about my stash of fabric in my sewing room but I "needed" new fabric... that's when he came up with his own Iron Dress challenge

Queen's Collegium was the following weekend and if I could finish a new dress using only supplies from my stash he would give me $1000 for fabric and would never complain again about the ever growing piles of fabric in my sewing room, I had to do this!

To start I looked at several portraits and I really like the look of these:


I went through my fabric stash and discovered some fabric I bought at Wal-mart for $1.99 a yard with the intentions of using it on an Elizabethan.

I tweaked my Margo Anderson bodice pattern to have the front opening out wider and adding a point in the back so it would look similar to this picture:

I used two layers of canvas as the base of my bodice. I sewed several boning channels near the opening as well as two lines of ribbon so I can create the ladder lacing, I also placed 3 channels for boning in the back so the point would not bunch.
From there it was easy sailing. I attached my canvas to the brocade and added a skirt by making 3 panels and cartridge pleating them to the bodice, I did a knife pleat from the front to just before the the points of my hips and a large box pleat at the front opening so I can easily pull it on and off. The sleeves are just a basic sleeve pattern I widened at the top and cut long ovals and added false poufs (I hate re pulling my puffs through the sleeves all day). I found some pre strung pearls and using a whip stitch easily applied them by hand to create a finished look.

When I do it again I would change only a few things first I would give myself longer than a week to sew it all together, I would make a shawl/drape insert typical in portraits to fill in the back and shoulders (to keep the sun off if nothing else) and I would adjust the placement of the straps on the bodice they tend to fall off my shoulders which in truth gives a very period look but drives me nuts other then that I love this dress and wear it often it is a nice change from the Tudor/Elizabethan look I normally wear and I still am that flashy late period gal I love to be.

The breakdown......

5 yards of brocade (Wal-mart special $1.99 a yard bought in 2003 to make a forepart and sleeves for an Elizabethan)
1.5 yards canvas (Wal-mart special $.99 a yard bought in 2001 to make a banner)
38 cable ties (home depot bought in a pack of 100 for $9.99 bought to make corsets for Quills in May 2006)
bias tape both single fold and extra wide (leftover from making fairy costumes for midsummer night's dream May 2006)
ribbons for lacing (left over from fairy costumes for midsummer night's dream 2006)
pre-strung pearls (left over from my middle eastern garb made in 2001)
2 yards of crinkle cotton (for the chemise) (bought at my first 12th night 1998)
Thread and needles (always in my stash)

Having your husband no longer complain about your ever growing fabric stash....... Priceless



  If you would like to contact Anora you can do so at Anorathepain (at) . Anora's Blog can be found here.

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.)