A Venetian 'Falling' Ruff

This ruff was made for the category "Costuming - A Ruff" in the Kingdom A&S comp run during 12th Night Coronation AS XXXVIII, in Krae Glas, Lochac, which I was unable to attend. This page is the (altered) documentation I presented along with the ruff. Although the comp didn't run, and thus my ruff wasn't judged, I still received written feedback from the judges, which I was very happy with.

My thanks to Lady Katerina da Brescia for taking this photo, and providing me with a copy. My thanks also to whichever gentle it was that arranged my ruff for the A&S table. I appreciate your efforts, despite the fact that it was arranged inside-out! :-) )

A Venetian Open/Falling Ruff in the style popular circa 1570 - 1590s

"Along with the Spanish Farthingale and the corset, the ruff is another of the items that immediately spring to mind when people consider Elizabethan costume."

(All About Elizabethan Ruffs, Drea Leed, The Elizabethan Costuming Page)

Most people, when thinking of the ruff, would picture the usual plate-shaped closed ruff common to many areas, especially Elizabethan England. This style, however common elsewhere, as far as I have been able to determine, was not seen in Venice until perhaps the very last years of the sixteenth century, and the evidence for the style then is scarce at best. I am therefore attempting a style much more common in late sixteenth century Venice - the style seen in the above 1590 woodcut by Cesare Vecellio - "Venetian Noblewoman Dressed for a Public Celebration" (Vecellio, p30)

This project was a re-working of a ruff I had made previously, but which I was not totally happy with, and which had been pulled apart. Since I already had an unfinished ruff project, and no suitable fabric on hand, I chose to finish it for this competition. It had already been machine-sewn from pure cotton voile dress fabric. This fabric approximates the look of the fine linens available in period. It is embellished with machine-made cotton lace which is comparable in simplicity of design to period bobbin-lace. In the above woodcut it appears that the ruff is trimmed with something round-ish. It looks like pearls to me, but since to use larger pearls was out of the question for reasons of cost and weight, I have hand-trimmed the ruff with seed pearls. I was aiming for a plausibly period construction, simplicity and materials in keeping with a persona of the nobility, and a semi-formal look. More detail on the construction method to follow.

For more information and brief 'how-to' please click on the image above.


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(Copyright Information: As author I, Anabella Wake, known in the SCA as Bella Lucia da Verona, hold copyright on all information on these pages. In addition I hold copyright 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.)