Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Realm of Venus

The Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge

 April 21 to August 21,  2011

Christa Gordon

Location: Colorado, USA

Bio: Hello! I'm Christa and I am a historical costuming addict! It's been too long since I have taken on a real challenge, so I hope I can face this one head on.

Project: Embroidered drawers, Silk petticoat, ladder laced gown, ruffs.

Project Blog: http://sewcrazy-sewmad.blogspot.com


My main inspiration, which you can see below right, is a wood cut from Cesare Vecellio's Costume Plates (1580s): 'Venetian noblewoman dressed for a public celebration'. On the left is my design sketch. In the middle is a collage of all my inspirations.


May 1: Over this past week I feel like I have become the queen of the accessories. I finished a pair of biased cut medium weight linen stockings with an embroidered courtesan detail above the ankle gusset and black worked fold over welts (tops). A flag fan with an embroidered motif of my Household badge and a sculpted cold porcelain handle. This was the first time I have played with porcelain and it was a lot of fun! A necklace, earrings and hair jewels came together quickly. My pocket is also made of linen and embroidered with the courtesan motif again. This week I hope to start work on my undergarments: the drawers, camicia and petticoat.

May 22: Progress has been slow as I have had a lot on my plate with the end of the school year. I have done some gold embroidery on my red silk petticoat, started work on a drawn thread handkerchief, and finished two veils. One of gold silk and one long sheer one hand dyed and trimmed with lace.

June 1:
I was able to finish my silk petticoat. I have included close ups of the embroidery motifs used on the petticoat. I also finished a black silk veil trimmed with lace which I have been unable to get a good photograph of so I included the picture it is based on. I hope to have a good picture of it with my next update. I have started the black-work on my camicia and hope to have it ready for construction soon.

June 24: Progress continues. I've included a picture of the promised veil from the last update, my embroidered camicia and a painted banner with my device. While the banner doesn't really count towards the challenge it is an object I hope to include in the photos of the final project. 

Now to move onto the drawers and then to conquer the dress!

July 7: This really has become a game of survival. Sadly I don't have much to update with this time. My sewing machine has died and will be spending time in the shop. Lucky for me a friend has loaned me hers. So I was finally able to finish my drawers, and have started on the pattern for the bodice.

August 4: The time crunch is so upon me! I have at least one item done for layers 1,2 and 4 leaving just the dress itself to finish!

The bodice is finished, sleeves are patterned and the embroidery started. Skirt panels have been cut waiting to be attached to the bodice. With so much to do I have to cut this short and get back to work!

Christa's Final Update

Layer 1: Camicia - handmade bobbin lace trim. Black-work by machine. Drawers- Black-work by machine

Layer 2: Petticoat- machine embroidery

Layer 3: Gown- ermine cutwork sleeves, beadwork, cartridge pleated skirt attached and pleated by hand.

Layer 4: Stockings- sewn by hand, black-work by hand. Courtesan at clock done w/ machine.
Pocket- Courtesans done by machine.
Partlet- sewn by hand
Hair Pins
Girdle - with painted miniature of my son
Handkerchief - Drawn thread with linen and gold thread by hand
Plain Handkerchief - plain drawn thread by hand
Gold Veil - hemmed by hand
Yellow Veil - hand dyed
Black Veil
Flag Fan- embroidery by machine, hand painted device. Porcelain handle and topper hand sculpted
Parasol - recovered umbrella hand painted
Zibellino - found fur at estate sale hand sculpted porcelain mask
Hair drying hat

Other: Jewelry box- lined with velvet hand painted
Banner- hand painted




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