These are my early Italian renaissance gowns. For more information on the Italian Renaissance fashions, check out The Realm of Venus.
The black gown I made the bodice part from the Simplicity 9531 pattern, the only adjustment I did was ignore the zipper (placed the center back at the fold) and made it side lacing. I made the skirt part from 2 large panels that I knife pleated in the front and box pleated (more fabric back there) in the back.
The red velveteen over dress was done in much the same way, except I split it down the front and made the neckline scoop much lower than the black dress and it’s a hook and eye clasp holding it together. I wore this for the first weekend of the Michigan Renaissance Festival (weekend theme Italian Carnival) with sleeves from the same Simplicity pattern in Velveteen and Satin.
I made the mask and the fan to go with the outfit. I had my hair wrapped up around the top of my head in rope braids and twisted (my mother in law showed me how to do it to my hair after I showed her a painting).
In 2006 I added new sleeves & trim on the red over-dress.
For Midrealm’s Kingdom 12th night 2005 held by Cynnabar, I made an Italian Ren gown for my mom. I made it out of washed green cotton velveteen with a green and red iridescent silk dupioni as a lining. I decided to use a discontinued McCall pattern 2806 which has a nice women’s Italian Ren style gown in it. While it has darts which aren’t really period, I’m making this more for the comfort factor. I traced out the pattern pieces for the bodice on the fabric, and I also used the 2 part detachable sleeves from Simplicity 8735. I used Mom’s Brother PE150 embroidery machine to embroider a design on the center front of her bodice and on each part of her sleeves, and even little flowers all over the sleeves and center front top of her chemise.
I used just over 4 1/2 yards of velveteen in the skirt, which I hemmed with some braid trim, sewed to the front, then turned under and stitched to the underside. It helped keep the skirt from collapsing under her feet as she walked. I also made laces for the sleeves and center back lacing with white twill tape, a silver jewelry finding and a pearl on each end (so at the center back, it’s the lacing, not gaps you see).
She seemed to be pretty comfortable in it. I think she looked great. I would have entered her in the A&S competition if I’d have drafted out the darts and had pictures of her in the outfit printed out so she didn’t have to sit on the table all day… but I had finished it at half past midnight the night before. It all worked out.