Baroness Thea Northernridge
(Cynthia Konow-Brownell)

Kingdom of Caid, Barony of Calafia
(San Diego, California, USA)

Costumer and SCA Member

A Venetian Outfit in the Style
 of 1590

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

Thea Says....


Iíve been interested in costume ever since I rode the Small World ride at Disneyland as a very young child. Iíve been a member of the SCA since 1980, and have been seriously hooked on making great garb. Thea was initially an Elizabethan lady, but she has been time traveling to Viking, Mongol, and Persian regions. Our Kingdomís 12th Night had an Italian/Venetian theme, and so it seemed the perfect time to finally make a late period Venetian gown.

Last summer, I had the privilege of visiting 'La Bella Nani' while in Europe. I was smitten with the image and knew that I had to make one of those gowns. My dress employs many of the same lines as that portrait. I chose to utilize a wonderful cotton brocade that had been in the sewing room for far too long. 


This dress actually gave me quite a few headaches. I knew that there was a bodice/skirt/sleeve combination, and that I would probably need to wear a corset underneath it. The pleating of the camicia that shows at the dressí opening was what really stumped me. I couldnít figure out if it was the camicia over the corset or if there was a stomacher involved. I built a stomacher and then decided that I didnít like how it looked. I also corresponded with Fiore Rossini as to how she achieved the wonderful results of her gown that is featured on the Realm of Venus website. In addition, I voraciously read dress diaries, especially those from Jennifer Thompsonís Festive Attyre website. Jenniferís camicia instructions were particularly helpful.

Adding to the fun and frolic of this project was the issue of a corset. My old corset is black with red embroidery. Itís lots of fun, but not so good if itís going to show through a white linen camicia. I had been intending to make an Effigy Corset with hemp cording, so this looked like my opportunity.

I completed the camicia first, as I had to work out that pesky pleating problem. I used my smocking pleater to pleat the fabric around the neckline, and then secured it with a matching binding. Next was the bodice and corset. I got those done simultaneously, and then got the skirt onto the dress. The skirt is made of three panels of 60Ē wide fabric, cartridge pleated every half inch. Quilterís Tiger Tape helped me to appropriately space my stitches. I recommend it highly.


The sleeves, girdle, jewelry, and partlet were completed last. Iíve recently taken up fusing glass and made my Laurel pendant. It needed to hang from some big baroque pearls, so this dress was the perfect outfit for this necklace. I made earrings to match.

I am really pleased with the ensemble, and plan on doing more with this time period. The hemp corded corset was incredibly comfortable. I used to feel like I was wearing a full-metal jacket with a traditional spring steel reinforced corset. The hemp corset was lighter, cooler, and far more comfortable.


  You can contact Thea at spinnerlady (at)

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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.