The Realm of Venus Presents...

he talian howcase



Deb Wormsbacher
and her model, Kristina

Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

Costumer and Ren Faire Attendee

A Florentine Outfit in the Style of 1490

Deb Says...

 Hi! 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 gotten more exacting on creating historically accurate costumes as time has progressed. Each year when we go to our local Faire, the cast director invites us to work there because we look so great as a family! I have also helped our local high school students research and create costumes for their annual Renaissance Day projects. My friends and family think I am a “renaissance dork” and my beloved husband teases me that I sometimes obsess on historical details that no one else will notice ( That might be true, actually). When you go to a pleasure faire, you tend to see many poorly done English costumes. You very rarely any Italian, German or anything else. I think that is one reason I fell in love with the Italian costumes because they are so different from the English. 

I created this costume for my dear friend Kristina who is of an Italian background. She was given 9+ yards of a heavy striped fabric and wanted a costume made from it. We looked at various paintings and decided what she liked and what was do-able with her fabric and budget. 

When you look at the final dress, I hope you will recognize the dresses from the portrait of Giovanna Tornabouni and from the Birth of John the Baptist, both by Domenico Ghirlandaio.


  The over dress fabric was very stiff upholstery fabric and even after several washings, and did not come out as soft as I had hoped. The under dress came out fine I think, and my friend really likes the entire ensemble. I made the under dress in 2 pieces so the skirt can be used with an English costume as an underskirt (hey, she had 6 yards of the striped left!).

I used lacing rings on the sleeves and on the back of the bodice, which worked especially well for the back. I made my own pattern but used the extensive resources on the web and had many great suggestions from the Italian Ren group on Yahoo. I made a hemp corded corset for Kristina (which gave the soft shape and gave her support) and made the bodice from linen first so I could make the necessary changes to the fit. The gold dress fabric isn’t very sturdy so I interfaced it with a heavy cotton and then lined it in linen. I made the chemise from a pattern on the internet and it is made of a lightweight silk. I used a satin cording to lace the sleeves but it came untied and I didn’t want to sew it together. I used a silk ribbon, which worked okay, but I am re-thinking the sleeves!  

We took the pictures at the here in Colorado Springs , CO. Briarhurst Manor is a beautiful stone manor with beautiful woodwork and fireplaces. They were so accommodating and let us have the run of the place one snowy afternoon. Hope you enjoy my work!




If you would like to contact Deb you can do so at hellmonkey (at) pcisys (dot) net


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.)