Wednesday, January 29, 2014

An Italian Renaissance Gown for Scarby

I know it's still a couple of months away, but it's never too soon to start on stuff for the Ren Faire. This year, the Lord of Lace, his Lady Wife, and I are planning to do a day in Italian garb. I hadn't given the design much thought yet, but during fabric hunting today, I found this lovely fabric on a clearance rack for $2!

I knew immediately that I would end up using it for the Italian gown, and I had a vague idea that I wanted puffy sleeves, but other than that, I was clueless. The only restriction I'd have to work around was the amount of fabric available - there were only 3.5 yards on the bolt. Eep! Well, I made the burgundy Elizabethan for the Feast of St. Voloc out of less than 4 yards, so I was pretty sure I could squeeze an Italian gown out of about the same amount. I was going to have to conserve as best I could, though, so the sleeves would have to be either in as minimal as possible, or out of a completely different fabric.

After looking at some portraits, I fell in love with the sleeves featured in many of Bronzino's portraits.

They have these wonderful little puffed sleeves that are delightfully ruffly. Several examples of these sleeves have a different coloured undersleeve, as well, and that would help me conserve fabric. I'm a bit afraid that the puffed sleeves might eat fabric, so I'm definitely going to create the skirt and bodice first before I even attempt the sleeves. But I do love them. They come in a variety of sizes, too, with two or three lines of gathers, some of them are decorated with trim, some are more loosely gathered, etc.

Both examples above have some wonderful slashing on the undersleeves. The second example looks very similar to the ribbon work/faux slashing I did on the Buttercream gown some time ago, and I admit, I'm tempted to do it again. Plus, it gives me a good excuse to add beading to this gown (like I need an excuse to add bling to something!). The lines of trim are also fabulous, but seem to be reserved for the looser sleeves rather than the more tightly gathered ones in the other three portraits.

I still have some gold taffeta left from the Burgundy Elizabethan, so I'm planning to use that for the undersleeves at this point. I sort of want to do a red undersleeve, with gold ribbon work, but I also want to Stash Dash this project as much as possible, so it will all depend on what I have on hand. Hopefully there's a bit of red fabric left in there somewhere!


  1. Gorgeous fabric! Where did you find this gem!? Catharine

    1. It was at Best Fabrics in the Dallas warehouse district. They had it in several colours, but I loved the red. ^^