Saturday, October 5, 2013

UFO Italian Renaissance Gown

I started this gown last fall, right after I started making the camicia to go with it. I didn't finish the dress in time to wear on Halloween, which was already all fumbled up because of Hurricane Sandy. So this dress sat in a box, unfinished, for a year. In that year, I did more research on Italian Renaissance sewing techniques, looked at what other people had made, and realized just how off I was with the construction of my dress.

I was going for a mid-16th century Florentine look. These are some of my inspiration photos:

Agnolo Bronzino, Portrait of a Lady in Green (1528-32
"Eleanora of Toledo Renaissance Gown" by DecosaDesign
Ridolfo Ghirlandaio, Lucrezia Sommaria (1530-32)
Trystan L. Bass' Realm of Venus entry
This thick satin fabric (from an unlabeled bolt, as usual) only cost $2 a yard. I bought 6 yards because I was so in love with the color! This is one of my favorite shades of blue. The bodice is interlined with some of the leftover green fabric from my Italian Tarantella skirts. The bodice is lined with an olive green burlap-type fabric (maybe wool?) from the usually mysterious Fabric Warehouse. Those green pieces were sold in rough squares, for 50 cents each (I bought 2).

I made the bodice using this tutorial. I put boning along the center back opening, which ended up warping and bending all the time that I had it in storage. I wonder, if when I have the eyelets done, will I need boning there anyway? The rest of the bodice doesn't have boning, but I'm pretty flat so I don't think I need it.

I tried cartridge pleating the skirt--without the fabric's edge turned over to create two layers. To add insult to injury, I MACHINE SEWED the pleated skirt to the bodice. It was awful! But you live, you learn. I need to remove the skirt and re-pleat it, the correct way, and re-attach it to the bodice the correct way.

Awful "cartridge pleats"
I also need to shorten the back waist by about an inch.

Weird fit on the bodice under the bust and around the straps.


I had also made lower and upper sleeves. The upper sleeves are made of the same material as the dress. Both the brocade and lining of the lower sleeves were gifts from my aunt. I drafted them woefully too small--they can't even fasten!

Oops! the one on the left doesn't even have the fabric's motif centered...
Lined with poly satin in a silvery champagne, a gift from my aunt.
They're hilariously small. Only the top loop fastens.
I've already deconstructed the bodice to improve its fit and alter the neckline. I've also finished re-pleating the skirt, and it looks so excellent! 

I still have to:
-Make new lower sleeves
-Attach the skirt to the bodice, hem it, and add hem guards
-Pleat and attach the upper sleeves
-Make eyelets
-Add neckline decoration


1 comment:

  1. I love Italian renaissance gowns! Those " heavy " fabrics and huge sleeves... I can't wait your new gown! :)

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