Saturday, June 15, 2013

Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge III - Update

The third Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge:

This has been a difficult month for me, with recurrent illness and the death of a close family member. I certainly didn't get anywhere near what I expected done, let alone what I would have liked to get done.

My first project this month was to attempt an 'easy' version of a lace partlet similar to the ones that are so common in portraits of Bianca Cappello, one of my sixteenth century style icons.

Bianca Cappello by Allori - from

Bianca Capello by Scipione Pulzone (Sphinx Fine Art) 1
Bianca Cappello by Scipione - from

 I purchased commercially produced cotton lace of an appropriate size to fit my partlet collar piece. The partlet is cut from cotton fabric. In period, it would probably be made of linen, but financial restraints meant that cotton was the only option available to me.

The body of the partlet has been made up, but it has not yet been entirely hemmed. The lace was tacked to the partlet collar and sewn down around the edges. The lace did not sit neatly on the collar piece, so I have ended up having to sew around all the little holes and bars with tiny stitches. My plan of a 'fast and easy' alternative to needle lace really hasn't worked out to be very fast and easy! I continue to work at securing the collar lace.

My respiratory problems continue, and I quickly realised during my last event that I need a dress that can be worn comfortably with no corset. So, off on a tangent again! I have been working on an early sixteenth century, short-waisted tourney dress prototype that has a lightly boned bodice and can be worn with a bra. I am not confident about how that will look when complete.

The bodice partly tacked up for sewing

A similar style shown in Carpaccio's 'The Betrothal'
image from

My 'main' dress for the challenge; a pointed bodice Italian that can be worn with a corset has been drafted and cut out. I'll admit that I have hit a bump with the boning. The necessary bones had to be ordered, and with everything else that has been going on, my motivation has flagged a little this month.