Marissa Darland

Tacoma, WA, USA

Costumer and Renaissance Faire Attendee

A Venetian Outfit in the Style
 of  the 1560s

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

Marissa Says....


My name is Marissa Darland and I have been participating in renaissance fairs for a number of years. I have also been costuming, but all of my previous experience has been with Elizabethan garb. Everything from peasant to noble. I particularly love creating the various gowns. For me the character begins with the garb.

I had fallen in love with the Venetian gowns and decided to create a new character - Marcella Puccini - for our renaissance faire. It was a new and exciting challenge to create something different.

A special thanks to everyone at the Realm of Venus. The information here is priceless.


The Fabric

It always begins with the fabric. Finding something period-ish and within my budget.
The fabric I chose was a 100% cotton, which was VERY hard to find. It was important to me to find something cotton since I would be wearing it in the hot summer sun and wanted something that would breathe. I am also partial to fabrics that appear period. I found this fabric where I find all my fabrics, the clearance rack.

The Inspiration

I held on to the fabric until I found this photo. I was immediately inspired. The dress was elegant and simple, the color was beautiful, and a similar match the fabric I was holding my closet.


The Underpinnings

First was the camicia. I used a fine linen and added some black stitching to the edge. I purposefully cut the camicia higher in the back than seen in many portraits, in order to cover a back tattoo.

Then I moved on to the under skirt. I removed the hard boning from the elizabethan farthingale and replaced it with 1/2" sisal rope. I was surprised at how much body that gave the skirt! Definitely enough to keep the skirt from becoming entangled in my legs.

The corset was a conundrum. I already had a corset that I used for my Elizabethan garb, but it was VERY uncomfortable. My back was in constant pain. I decided to do a little experimenting.

I used the same pattern but shortened it a bit. Instead of using steel boning throughout, I only used the steel boning in the front to maintain that flat look. But, I used spiral boning in the sides. This kept some firmness, yet allowed for much more movement and more importantly, less back pain!


The Bodice

Next was the bodice. After much deliberation decided on side lacing. The back of the dress is often a focal point and I didn't want to distract with back lacing. I decided to line the dress with black cotton. I would have preferred to match the lining, but could not find anything that matched closely. So rather then miss match I decided to contrast the dress for visual interest. Then it was flat-lined inside with another heavy cotton to add stiffness
Boning was added to the front and back and to the side lacing.


The Skirt

I chose to do box pleating to the skirt. I love cartridge pleating, but to me, the box pleating looks more Venetian. Then I added the beading to the waist line.

The Sleeves

Although not portrayed in the inspiration portrait, I chose to make paned sleeves also lined in black cotton. I love seeing the camicia poking through the sleeves and the contrast of the lining.

 I enjoyed this project very much and learned many things while creating this that I hope to use when I create my next gown which I am currently brainstorming!


  You can contact Marissa at ciaokiddies (at) 

Would you like to be Showcased? E-mail me!


( 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.