The Realm of Venus Presents...

he talian howcase



Lady Ysabeau Tiercelin
(Phoebe Sharp)

Barony of Endless Hills, Aethelmearc
(Carbondale, Pennsylvania, USA)

Costumer and SCA Member

A Venetian Gown in the Style of  the 1540s - 1550s

Ysabeau Says

My inspiration pics

 I’m a member of the SCA Barony of Endless Hills in the Kingdom of Aethelmearc. I’ve been making garb and costumes since sixth grade, and was in heaven when I first discovered the SCA. My SCA persona is a mid-1500s French lady who fell in love with a Scot, and realized only too late how cold the keeps are in the Highlands! I’m also an authorized SCA equestrian, and the owner of Temujin, the Iron Pony. I’m still developing my Mongolian riding persona, although of course I’ve already made a fur helmet cover, beaded horse tassels and silk brocade riding outfit.

I had just gotten back into the SCA after a multi-year hiatus and none of my old garb fit (time and my Eastern European genes have intervened, alas)! I’ve always loved 1530s Italian garb, and when I discovered the Realm of Venus site and saw the yummy pictures, I was itching to get started!

 I started with the corset, made from the Pair of Bodies Pattern from The Mantua Maker. I decided to use a wooden busk I had been saving, and coated metal stays that I got from the lovely Linda at Class Act Fabrics (and she does mail order!).

The chemise, or camicia, was cut from a pattern on this site - it is just three rectangles and underarm gussets—simple! I finished the edges with a machine “blackwork” stitch. There is no evidence to support Italian camicia having gathered wrists, so I’ve left them loose (although I have a cheater casing built in for when I really need those ruffles to lie right under my sleeves!). The neck edge is gathered, pleated and tacked down under a trim band.



 The petticoat is made from green shot taffeta, with two rows of wide jute binding to add stiffness—I didn’t want a roped or boned farthingale with this dress as the fabric is very lightweight. It hangs nicely—I’m thrilled! I may add another layer of the just binding later on if I make gowns with heavier fabrics.

The dress fabrics are a lovely gold and barely blue brocade, an antique gold silk, and a light blue short pile silk velvet (and boy was that slippery to work with!)

I decided, for some insane reason, to do a pearl trim loosely based on the brown inspirational portrait above. There is a band down the skirt front, bands on the lower sleeves, and more on the bodice sides.

 I used four widths of fabric for the skirt, so it’s 216 inches around—good thing it’s lightweight! The waist is cartridge pleated and attached to a band—the bodice attaches to this band with ties. The front of the skirt waist is flat so that the trim band lies correctly—I also curved the band down to match the point in the eventual bodice—that way the bottom hem will be straight along with no need to compensate for the dip in the waist band.  

The bodice was fitted with the direct draping method, and I decided to make an inset front placket of the gold fabric, rather than lacing the front directly over the camicia. 

The sleeves are detachable so that I can take them off for feasts and not worry about spilling! The bodice has tabs along the lower edges and a pointed back waist that echoes the point in the front. There are also tabs at the sleeve tops, which hide the button and loop fastenings used to attach the sleeves.

In reality, this was a simple dress except for the elaborate pearlwork – I used more than 2500 pearls!  The nicest thing about it is that the whole outfit is wonderfully lightweight – and I certainly feel like an Italian principessa when I’m wearing it!




If you would like to contact Ysabeau you can do so at carnabyservices (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.)