The Realm of Venus Presents...

he talian howcase


Deb Wormsbacher
and her model, Ginny

Colorado, USA


A Florentine Outfit in the Style
 of  the 1550s

(Highlighted/bordered images are click-able for enlarging)

Deb Says....

I have been making historical costumes for about the past 7 years. I started out sewing costumes for my family to go to Faire and have tried to be more historically accurate as time has progressed. I also helped our local high school students research and create costumes for their annual Renaissance Day projects.

This dress  was created for my friend Ginny to wear for her annual 10th grade Renaissance Day. Ginny found a dress she fell in love with, the portrait of Maria d'Medici by Allori, and I tried to make it as close to the picture as possible. I don't consider it a recreation because she does not have a girdle, necklace or headpiece at this time. (We will make that at another time.) 




I made a toile for the first fitting and discovered that Ginny had a scoliosis! I wound up making 3 mock-ups before I was happy with the results. Each piece was numbered so it was cut separately. The next step was looking for the fabric.

Ginny found a nice butter yellow silk for the under dress. It is made from 6 yards of soft yellow silk, and is lined with yellow linen.

The sleeves have a striped pattern. To create the stripes I sewed organza ribbon onto the sleeves to make the stripes. I was going to put stripes on the entire bodice but with the scoliosis, they looked off. I used back lacing, with inspiration from Kat's 'Purple Files'.


The partlet  is linen embroidered in 5 colours of linen floss. The dark blue matched the over-dress and the yellow matched the under-dress. I sewed pearls and gold glass beads around the embroidery. The edge is trimmed in gold lace. I did not sew pearls to the gold lace as I ran out of time. I did not know how to embroider so this was a learning experience. I used the partlet page from Kat's 'Purple Files' to help me through it! (Those purple files are a lifesaver!) I am not very happy with my needle work, but did the best I could.


The over-dress is 7 yards of cornflower blue satin and lined with linen. The sleeves were made a bit large so that Ginny could move around freely since she was grading projects and helping the kids. They have inserts of white linen left over from the partlet. The trim had blue and grey in it that match the colours in the partlet.

The dress has to be re-hemmed in the front. I measured the hem, and somehow the pins got pulled out and I had to guess because I needed the dress the next day. (Very frustrating! ) 


 I loved how the colours looked together. Ginny was very pleased and I thought she looked lovely. Fitting for her scoliosis was a challenge but a learning experience too.



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( 2001 - 2008 Anabella Wake (Known in the SCA as Bella Lucia da Verona) I hold copyright on all information on these pages, and 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.