The Realm of Venus Presents...

he talian howcase


Camar Janke

Lockeford, California, USA

Costumer and Ren Faire participant

A Florentine Outfit in the Style of  the 1570s

Camar Says....


When I immigrated into the U.S. in 1995 I had never heard about Renaissance fair. A very close friend of mine took me in the summer of 2000 to one of the larger fairs here in California…in the moment I entered thru the gates I was hook …and see where it took me…. 


The shown costume was inspired by a great book called “Moda A Firenze 1540 – 1580”.

This book is a great resource for Italian costume. It list in great detail the wardrobe of Elenora Di Toledo and it had great pictures and description throughout. From fabrics chosen to trimmings and any other little detail…it’s all there…I had not found another book which is so full of detailed colored picture…Well of course Janet Arnold (my personal hero in historic research of garments) did a excellent job but focuses mostly on the English…

It was not easy to create this design because there is so much inspiration in this book that I needed to focus on what is important for this ONE design…( there will be many more…)

The fabric I was a little difficult to use because the red/gold design is not very tightly woven. 

The bodice was for this reason fully interfaced with fusible tricot and then lined in soft muslin for comfort. I made the pattern for the bodice from my French pattern master draft and it fits me very well ( Yeah!!!) 

I really like the standing collar design and I sewed the trim to the inside and outside of the collar and neckline and then hand stitched the two trims together for a nice clean look. The bodice has only two bones ( ½ inch spring steel) in the front, which are directly under the hand-sewn hooks. I choose to only use hooks as closure because I can lace around them instead of lacing thru the eye of lacers. I also could not find lacers in gold…any ideas please let me know…


For the reason of comfort here at the fairs in California where it gets very hot I made the sleeves you see as separate pieces, which have a grosgrain ribbon as finishing edge. This ribbon is matched to the size of the armhole in the bodice and then just loosely hand stitched in place. This way I’m able to take the sleeves out and wash them. I have different sets of sleeves and can also wear a chemise under the bodice if I choose…


It may not show in the pictures but there is a small piping around the armhole to give it a nice crisp look. 

The bottom of the bodice has little piccadils all the way around. 

The skirt is cartridge pleated for ¾ around and only in the front section it is loosely gathered. I found that more comfortable under my bodice when I wear it because it does not bulk that much. The skirt is designed with a small train in the back and I have the skirt lined in plain golden cotton. The edge is finished of with a gold/ red cording, which provides a nice weight to the skirt when I walk and keeps it on the ground. 

Making this costume was fun and I was very happy with the outcome. I enjoy wearing it and I’m sure to use the bodice design again in other dresses I like to make. I hope you like this creation as well and feel free to find me at the northern Californian fairs. 

If you have any questions about my design or need more information e-mail me and I’m happy to assist you…

Viva Italia and Ciao to all you lovely Ladies and Gents out there…




If you would like to contact Camar you can do so at mosvestisintentio (at) yahoo (dot) com, and you can view her website 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.)