The Realm of Venus
of Adiantum, Principality of the Summits, Kingdom of AnTir
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!)
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.
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!
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
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.
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
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
Overall, I’m pleased
with how well it came out, especially since I had about a microsecond to get it
If you would like to contact Dame Fearga you
can do so by e-mailing her at fearga
(at) yahoo.com, and you can view her Blog
Would you like
to be Showcased? E-mail