The Realm of Venus Presents...

he talian howcase



Dame Fearga Kavanagh

Barony of Adiantum, Principality of the Summits, Kingdom of AnTir
(Oakridge, Oregon)

Costumer and SCA Member

A Venetian Gown in the Style of  the 1560s
(Many heartfelt 'thank you's to Dame Fearga for stepping in with very little notice to fill in for a costumer who was unable to complete her submission outfit!)


Fearga Says


 I am Dame Fearga Kavanagh, from the Kingdom of AnTir, Principality of the Summits. I’ve been a member of the SCA for far too many years, and am a Laurel and Pelican.

This last year, I was honored to be involved in the production of the 12th Night clothing for our King and Queen

 It was a massive project, with over 40 people involved, and the entire project funnelled down to me for the final fittings before the event. At the same time, I was up to my eyeballs in production for the local Opera’s staging of Pirates of Penzance. About half way through December I realized….I HAD NOTHING TO WEAR AT 12th NIGHT!! The horror!

In between crazed production down at the shop and driving three hours one way to do a fitting on the outgoing royals, and oh, yeah...Christmas…. I managed to create my “leftovers” dress.


Tiziano Vecellio (Titian), 1560: Portrait of Titian's daughter Lavinia

Dresden, Dresden Gallery


 Fearga-Fan.jpg (111762 bytes)

 I had always admired the portrait seen above. She was nice and plush, had a lovely double chin, and the dress was deceptively simple, but elegant. Late one evening, I came home and dove into my various fabric boxes, hoping beyond hope that I could create something decent out of something in there, because I certainly didn’t have time to go shopping for anything new, and had even less time for something difficult.

I quickly recognized that I needed one accessory that I had not a whit of a hope of making…a fan. Me and feathers? Strictly for tarring…a hot glue gun + feathers = Fearga looking much like a sad plucked chicken. I turned to my friend, the Renaissance Tailor, and begged her for help. In her usual inimitable way, produced this lovely fan:

 I already owned the accessories necessary…I had the earrings (second hand store) belt bits (Ross Dress for Less, three belts, one faboo Venetian belt..), the pins (more Ross—I just love that store!) and the pearls (gift from my lover-ly Baroness) required for the look:  

Rummaging about in my various boxes of fabric, I came up with four yards of a faboo gold backed black velvet. I had originally purchased it to make a doublet with fancy gold couching all over it…I got half a yard in, and gave up entirely…not nearly enough patience for that….so the fabric had languished in the leftovers box for about 10 years…

Next, I had to find something for a forepart…off head first into the red brocades! After much tossing and fussing about, this piece came to the surface:

I had gotten this in an ill-fated idea that I would, at some time, do Tudor. It amazes me how I can come up with *any* excuse for buying fabric…


 The partlet is gold and black shot organza with gold thread embroidery. I had the dress completely done (I thought) and then looked at the portrait again…only to discover I was missing a bit of clothing! More rummaging turned up a scrap from curtains I made for a house I lived in 18 years ago.

 The gold trim on the bodice and the sleeves was a remnant from a coat I had made over 15 years ago…along with the buttons on the cuffs and the rhinestone buttons securing the silk puffs on the sleeves.  

The dress was amazingly simple to run up. The only time consuming part was tacking down the puffs just under the piccadils on the sleeves—the silk was feeling recalcitrant that particular day. I also took a shortcut in closing the dress up the center back. Had I more time, I would have done side back lacing holes. ….but it was three days to the event, and I had already done about 44 lacing holes on the Queen’s dress!

Overall, I’m pleased with how well it came out, especially since I had about a microsecond to get it done!



If you would like to contact Dame Fearga you can do so by e-mailing her at  fearga (at), and you can view her Blog 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.)