IRCC9 All the final write up

Month 1
Item completed Camicia
pair of handkerchiefs accessory
The camicia was based on an extant historical item held in the Prado museum which features a squared neckline with attached lace and very full sleeves that are tightly gathered at the cuffs, again with lace added. The extant example shows goes added to give the fullness in the body however the fabric I chose was wide enough that I could simply cut the width rather than add it in.
I have attempted to stay as true to the extant example as I could.
The pair of handkerchiefs were simply off cuts from the camicia, and some of the lace that was left over. It is seen in a number of 16th century portraits that ladies did use lace edged hand kerchiefs.
Items completed in month 2
Sottana with optional removable sleeves in the style of Eleanora di Toledo
Beaded girdle belt- accessory 2
This sottana serves multiple purposes. It will be worn as an under gown as it is padded and boned as a supportive layer to wear with the veste and giubonne over the top in the style Lavinia Fontana’s self portrait of 1575. The sottana can also be worn with it’s optional removable paned sleeves in the style of  the portrait Eleanora di Toledo of 1545. This style of Sottana spanned a number of years and styles in the 16th century ladies styles, beginning as an under gown, then becoming a gown in it’s own right with removable, optional and interchangeable sleeves, and then it moved back to being an under gown again with the incoming veste and giubonne styles later in the century. I look forward to wearing this very comfortable gown with or without sleeves, and also under it’s over layers, it will be a very  flexible addition to my ever growing renaissance wardrobe. The design and pattern was originally based upon an Alcega  that I adapted over time to best fit my ample proportions ans alter over different gowns to be most comfortable but still in keeping with the period design, with it’s side back lacing being reachable and able to be laced on my own without assistance when necessary. The skirt on this gown was not cut with the additional side gores as per Alcega due to  the minimal amount of fabric I had, however the skirt if still very full and in keeping with the style I was trying to achieve. The skirt has been hand gathered onto the bodice and carefully enclosed between layers as it was very frayable and was worried it may give way without support. The hem has been thickened with an added layer of felted wool and some beige fabric I had on hand. I have always found this to be very helpful in keeping moisture from wicking up skirts and also to keep skirts from wrapping around ankles causing tripping which I am inclined to do. Both the front and back of the bodice were boned and padded to given the nice flat stiffed look and be very supportive giving a good base for the over layers to come.
The sleeves were created by using a normal straight sleeves pattern which was divied into several pieces, cut and sewn together with it’s lining. These panes are then turned in the right way and ironed, then the long process of hand sewing these panes together and adding the beading at each catch point. There is also lace with hand beaded added at the wrists and the tops of the panes are gathered onto tapes and then again sewn to each other to create the scrunchy baragoni. The ties for the sleeves are made from folded hand cut silk bias tape, I prefer these on the sleeves not the gown,they also feature lovely cast brass aiglets from the style of the 16th century, these pass through brass rings sewn on the underside of the straps of the gown, making them very easy to put on and take off and very secure once on. The construction and beading of these sleeves took a lot of hand work and tie but they are certainly work the effort.

Items completed month 3

giubonne with much handworking
accessories 3 Jewellery set consisting of two short necklaces, one pair of earring and a long coral necklace. One necklace to be worn with the sottana and sleeves option, the other two, being the real pearl and real coral ones, for the multi layered outfit. Earrings obviously can be worn for both

The third, but not final layer of my Lavinia Fontana inspired outfit is the giubonne (doublet) layer. It is based on a blend of a Alcega pattern and the waist coat pattern from the Tudor Tailor.I made a giubonne in last years IRCC and I started with that pattern but then I went on drafting several patterns to get this one sitting just as I wanted it to but without being overly tight as I find it too constricting due to health issues. It also needs to to be able to be buttoned up completed or left with the collar open depending on which style I am opting for on that day. For this outfit it will be worn collar open. The sleeves in the Fontana portrait are shown with quite full tops coming down to tight forearm so I added flare to my sleeve pattern and made the forearm into a style that is buttoned almost to the elbow.

The sleeve pattern was drawn up  onto a piece of calico and I then drew the cutting pattern onto this. It features diagonal cuts in a star pattern and small holes in lines. It was difficult to make out the actual pattern from the portrait but this seemed fairly close. I cut the silk for the sleeves, NOT on the bias but on the straight grain this time. The three pieces were pinned down to a sheet of plywood and I cut the slashes with a small wood chisel, new so that it was very sharp. The small hole were punched through with a paper hole cutter I had in my kit from paper crafting days. It did not cut very well but enough that I could then careful trim the holes with small scissors. I then hand beaded small groups of seed beads into the middle of the slashing pattern. This was a very long piece of hand working but again very worth the time and effort. he more the silk has been manipulated during the sewing process the more the slashes and hoes have started to fray and open up showing the lovely cutting pattern and also the gold silk I used as a middle layer in the sleeves. The internal layer is simply a cotton. The cuffs of or the giubonne feature hand made slashed binding in the same silk as the body of the piece. this just gives a nice finish to the cuffs and reflects those shown in the portrait. the buttons for the sleeves and front are small pearl buttons carefully chosen to tone in with the ivory silk. This layer is very comfortable and I am glad I took the extra time to get the fit as I wanted it as another tight layer would have not worked for me. I am especially pleased with how the hand working had added subtle interest to this middle layer, those many hours were worth it.
The giubonne does not fit over the optional sottana paned sleeves these have to be removed when the outer layers are worn, so two outfits in one really depending on how many layers you want to wear.
The giubonne took a lot of my limited hand strength so in between layers I played making up the jewellery sets fro this outfit. I have a collection of jewellery making supplies which include old pieces that I pull apart and remake in renaissance styles. The necklace and earring for the sottana alone set were made in this fashion. I disassembled some items and played around until I got the look I was after. The short real two colour pearls and very long real coral pieces were simply strung from pearls and coral I bought for this particular purpose. They are strung on very strong wire to ensure no breakages.
I did begin on the put layer veste by starting the cutting out and making the hand cut bias for the edging.

So the final parts of my outfit

The overgown or veste- extra layer
the lace collared partlet – extra layer

the woven garters acessory 4

The outer most layer of this ensemble is the pinkish silk veste, with it’s two layered ruffled and pointed baragoni and very long hanging sleeves. This is a mixture of two portraits, the Lavinia Fontana one and one by Zuccari of alady seated in a yellow veste. The two portraits ar of a very close time frame and both artists were active in the same area so it stand to reason the styles are very similar, both have the ruffles but one has the long sleeves and the other the second row of baragoni, I have simply added both extra features into one gown.The Zuccari veste shows a loose back to the gown but it is hard to make out the fit in the Fontana portrait but it looks like a fitted back, for my own comfort and preference I have opted for the loose mongil style back  as I already made this style and had previously drafted my pattern from one in Alcega I simple use this rather than reinvent the wheel. I had also previously mage the hanging sleeves and had a pattern for those saving myself a lot of time. Time that I sued to careful hand bead and attach the many many metres of trim that went onto this veste.  The beading took a couple of days of many hours to complete but really made the trim much nicer. Again though the extra time and pain I put my hands through is well worth the effort and it really adds interest  to the piece.
The baragoni themselves did not take too long to actually create. The ruffles were simple box pleated and the points were cut in half oval shape, sewn turned, ironed and more beading. I sewed the two layers together to stablise them before fitting them in the armhole along with the hanging sleeves, this did give many layers to sew through but thankfully my machine is made for the heavier duty sewing. This year I chose to completely line the veste and I hand sewed this lining in with invisible stitches. The body is lined with a cotton/linen blend that tones in with the silk, the handing sleeves are lined with a golden silk. All the edge seams also feature hand made and slashed binding. The top front of the sleeves have a hanging pearl where they finish in a point.
I had intended on make silk button for the veste but on making a few I did not like the ook of them, so I went rummaging around my stasha nad found some pearl cluster beads, caps and eye pins, and created 42 buttons for the front of the gown, As these are purely decorative they did not need to be be very strong. The gown is closed in front with hidden hooks and eyes.I really enjoyed hand making the buttons and already have plans to make more for future projects. The veste has very small openings in the side seams to allow the belt to be worn without holding the loose back in.
The partlet was actually fairly simple. I used my regular partlet pattern, or I should be calling it a coverciere, pattern. The lace was a wide lace I found in my stash. I hand pleated it and added temporary stitches to hold in shape, the ends I add some thin lave to give a nicer finish. The lace I box pleated onto the collar piece and sewed onto the partlet. The temporary stitches were then removed. The lace is stiff enough to keep the shape by itself. I am still not quite convinced I like how wide the lace is and might trim it in thinner in the future sometime but for now it is a lovely finish to all the layers of this outfit.
Although made last the partlet is worn under the giubonne.
The last item made was my final accessory, a pair of woven garters. I used my new inkle loom with some lovely silk thread alternated with some gold tone cotton. I created the pattern using an online inkle loom pattern generator which made warping the loom much easier. I used the silk as the weft thread as well, and as this was quite a thick thread the weaving was quite a lot quicker than I though only taking me a few days to complete. I sewed the weft thread back into the weaving to finish the ends off nicely. I did weave the whole warp in one go and the cut this in half to create two garters, I thought these would be long enough and they do work but I would like some slightly longer and will make another pair sometime in the future maybe. I do love the softness that the silk thread bought to these though and they are very comfortable.
The only day I had set aside to take my final portraits and it was teeming down with rain so we made the best of it and headed to the Arts centre which provided a nice background and enough protection so I did not get too damp.
I am so pleased that I finished this again, nine years! I look forward to next year being the tenth, and for me probably final, but who knows I may not be able to break the habit!
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Only days away from IRCC9

not sure what I had here but sorry it was hacked and it’s gone

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Found another Purple one!

Ok well the sleeves are purple-ish anyways. I like it though, especially the tall hat! 1576 Bartolomeo Passarotti - Pietro Annibale Bargellini

1576 Bartolomeo Passarotti – Pietro Annibale Bargellini

The hat seems to be a Bolognese regional style, may have to make one for my hubby.


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My Red Allessandro Allori gown

I have wanted to do a version of this outfit for a number of years and finally earlier this year all the pieces came together and it happened


Allessandro allori Portrait of a Lady Florence 1560

A few years back I stumbled across a number of beautiful dark red damask tablecloths that had a nice bold design that were on sale so I bought quite a few of them with this gown in mind.

1 april 2018 019.JPG

The partlet fabric was a piece in a throw out bin for only a couple of dollars and I really reminded me of the texture of the one in the Allori portrait, so finally the fabrics has come together.

Usually I would tend towards silk and cotton, not linen I’m allegeric, and these fabric are man made fibres but they just spoke to me ans had to be sewn.

1 april 2018 016.JPG

The bodice has cable ties for boning in front and none in the back as due to a back problem I can’t tolerate boning in the back of bodices, I know it makes them not sit flat like they should but my pain levels are more important to me. The cable ties are encased in channels sewn in canvas, the lining is a red cotton fabric and the outer is the red damask, cut carefully so the big design is centred on the middle. The bodice is laced on both side/backs.

The skirt is a simple tube cut but then trimmed at the hem to give a very slight train, not too long as to trip over my consort. The hem is stiffened with a layer of felt and cotton.

1 april 2018 012

The sleeves were the biggest challenge with their unsual slashing pattern. I make a mock up out of a normal sleeve pattern and found that if I made the seam of the sleeve at the top instead of underneath it served as the main vertical slash quite nicely, then the others were cut on a 45 degree angle. The top part are the sleeve was cut off in order for the paned section, in which I have insert faux puffs in a white cotton. The slahes are all hand sewn to the lining with bias binding cut off the main fabric inserted between the layers, This binding was then slashed using a craft knife. This slashed bias binding is also used around the neckline of the bodice. The openings in the sleeve were sewn together at intervals and small knots of red cord to serve as the decoration. The head of the sleeve is bound and ties attached to make the sleeves removeable. I have sewn lacing rings under the straps of the bodice which these tie too.

The partlet is just a simple design which I have added a collar too with four ties.

1 april 2018 0081 april 2018 021


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Cosimo in purple…the collection continues

Cosimo I de’ Medici (1519–1574), Grand Duke of Tuscany Agnolo Bronzino (1503–1572) (after) National Trust, Overbeck’s

Cosimo I de' Medici (1519–1574), Grand Duke of Tuscany Agnolo Bronzino (1503–1572) (after) National Trust, Overbeck's

Alessandro Allori (1535-1607) Portrait of Cosimo I de Medici,oil on poplar panel,86 x 65 cm. Source-Dickinson Gallery,London and New York.

Alessandro Allori (1535-1607) Portrait of Cosimo I de Medici,oil on poplar panel,86 x 65 cm. Source-Dickinson Gallery,London and New York.

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“Purple isn’t period” A quest

Anyone who like me loves the colour purple and involved in anything like the SCA has probably at one time or another been told, “but purple isn’t period. ” or the old classic, “only royalty were allowed to wear purple.”

Well being the avid purple lover that I am, I decided to look more into these claims, also because I am working on a piece now that is lined in purple and I just know I am going to get the comments.

So what exactly is purple?

when we are kids, we’re taught blue and red make purple. OK but how much blue and how much red, changes in the ratio make different hues, but are all called purple?

So firstly I looked up the definition of purple:

1. any colour having components of both red and blue, such as lavender, especially one
deep in tone.
2.cloth or clothing of this hue, especially as formerly worn distinctively by persons of
imperial, royal, or other high rank.
3. the rank or office of a cardinal.
4. the office of a bishop.
5. imperial, regal, or princely rank or position.
6. deep red; crimson.
7. any of several nymphalid butterflies, as Basilarchia astyanax (red-spotted purple) having blackish wings spotted with red, orBasilarchia arthemis (banded purple or white admiral) having brown wings banded with white.
adjectivepurpler, purplest.
8. of the color purple.
9. imperial, regal, or princely.
10. brilliant or showy.
11.full of exaggerated literary devices and effects; marked by excessively ornate rhetoric:

a purple passage in a novel.
12. profane or shocking, as language.
13. relating to or noting political or ideological diversity:

purple politics; ideologically purple areas of the country.
verb (used with or without object)purpled, purpling.
14. to make or become purple.
15. born in /to the purple, of royal or exalted birth:

Those born to the purple are destined to live in the public eye.
OK so no surprises in that, except I didn’t know there were butterflies called Purple, must look into those later.
It is interesting that the definition even mentions rank in regards to the colour.
This is an Italian dictionary of 1598.
on page 326 the entries are as follows:
pupura the purple colour, a princes or chiefmans colour,or the dignitie of a chief or magistrate. Also a purple fish, which is a shell fish, wherof the purple colour cometh.
purpurato, purpled, apparelled in purple, of, or, belonging to purple or purple colour, also belonging to the place where fishes kill or take the purple fish. Also clothed in garments of purple. Also a nobleman, a peer or the realme.
purpureo, of the colour of purple, like purple, red, bluish, avaid in purple.
purpurillo, red painting wherewith some women do use to paint their faces, a lively ruddie colour called cheeke-varnish. also like purple, or of the colour purple.
purpurino, as purpunio. Also a lively redde colour women use for painting, called cheeke-varnish.
purpurite, a kinde of marble in Egypt, ruddie and full of white spots.
So we now know that the word purple was used pre 1600 but that doesn’t get us any closer to what is period purple?
Off I go to look for an exact definition of what hue is purple.
OH my goodness, what a rabbit hole that turned out to be!
So after trawling through many pages of colour theory, auras (yeah got side tracked there) RGB and pantone colours, I have come to the conclusion that purple is not a particular colour. There are amethyst, eggplant, violet, pansy, lavendar, orchid, and numerous other shades and tones with as many names to match.
So where to now on my journey on the purple road.
I know the term purple was used pre 1600 but perhaps what pigment what it referring to. Well in Florio, it mentions pupurite as a purple marble found in Egypt, I believe we now call this porphry. I was lucky enough to see this beautiful stone in person when I travelled to Italy,. There are many examples of it in the Vatican Museum. It is a very  beautiful red purple colour.
purple sarchophygus
Also Florio talks about the dye made from shellfish.
Tyrian purple, Phoenician purple, Tyrian red, royal purple, imperial purple or imperial dye is a reddish purple natural dye made from shellfish.  It is a secretion produced by several species of predatory  rock snails originally known by the name Murex. In ancient times, extracting this dye involved tens of thousands of snails and substantial labour, and as a result, the dye was highly valued.
Below is Byzantine Emperor Justinian I clad in Tyrian purple, 6th-century mosaic at Basilica San Vitals, Ravenna, Italy.
Although this is getting closer this still isn’t substantiating what I call purple, it seems to be a different shade completely.
Before I go on further I guess I should share with you the colour I am chasing after. I have been a lifelong lover of the colour purple but to me this is the colour of an eggplants skin, or a Cadbury chocolate wrapper, The colour worn by Prince on his famous Purple Rain album cover. It’s lush dark deep colour.
After delving into all this research I am leaning towards the idea that the colour that I know and love was actually called something completely different pre 1600.
So maybe I thought I would go on to check out those purple butterflies I found mentioned in the definition of purple.
nope, wrong track entirely.
Sorry but they really do not look purple at all to me
So back to my research.
I decided to look for examples of clothing in purple in the period that I love, 1560 to 1580s Italy, mostly Florence and Venice, but pretty much anywhere on the boot will do.
On my ever growing pinterest boards I have categorised art work into colours. I looked into my purple folder and sadly there are only three in there!
Both these gowns are from The Milanese Tailor’s Handbook, written in the 1570s, and held at the Querini-Stampalia Library in Venice. It was published in A Tailor’s Book, or Il Lidro del Sarto by Alessandra Molfino, a number of years ago but is now a rare book and hard o find copies, however I am one of the lucky ones to one a copy of the book which I tracked down a few years back.
The reddish purple sleeves on plate 92il libro del sarto plate 92
Plate 96, a purple gown over a fascinating black and gold chevrony underdressil libro del sarto plate 96
Also another pair of purple sleeves on plate100
il libro del sarto plate 100
In the book Lorenzo De’ Medici at Home: The Inventory of the Palazzo Medici in 1492, the inventory of the household goods names many purple items.
Closer and definite proof that purple was worn in period by ladies and men. Sadly not my purple
Back to the theories then.
I went looking into pigments and dying. I found this page called Renaissance Colour Palette.
Scrolling down to the purple section it states,

Purple Colours

For purples and similar hues, Florentine, Venetian and Northern Renaissance artists used traditional pigments like Indigo, processed from the Indigofera plant, and Madder – a plant pigment made from Madder plants. The latter colourant had been brought back to Europe by returning Crusaders during the late 12th century.

A quick search for indigo and madder dyes leads me to these pictures

indigo and maddersdyed with indigo and onion skins


And by george I have finally found my purple!

On a side not, check out this purple codex! wow purple dyed parchement, so cool!

Where am I now? Well I have found that my particular purple can be created by products that were used in the reniassance, and that the colour may not have been called purple in period, it was more likely to have been regarded as a violet.


I found reference saying that the Medicis were known to have worn purple, or “pagonazzo” as it was called in her inventories published in Moda a Firenze.


Eleanora di Toledo by Allesandro Allori 1572

Also there are these extant examples of purple/violet fabrics


Zimarra- Interior dress with geometric decoration brown, purple and straw Description: last quarter 16th century; Renaissance (period)  Material: silk Production site: Venice

fabric purple 16th century

purple fabric 16th or 17th century Italy in V&A Museum

Altar Frontal (detail), showing violet velvet with flowers in gold.

Altar front piece showing violet background with gold flowers.  A Treasury of Great Italian Textiles, Antonio Santangelo, Harry N. Abrams Inc, New York.


I have looked at so many purples throughout this journey of discovery, and I think the answer to my question of whether purple is period and if it were only for the upper classes, is yes. Yes there was a colour called purple, is it the same to what we call purple now? Most probably not in the Prince Purple Rain colour scheme, but it does still fall on our modern pallete of purple, possibly called a mulberry or something similiar. Was it believed to be for the upper nobility, in the references I have found yes it was, but that is because the colour was difficult to achieve in the dying process and therefore made fabrics these colours expensive. The modern purple was more than likely available, again quite expensive being that it could only be achieved with imported dye products,  madder and indigo, and was more into the violet range in terminology.

A couple of last portraits to consider, blue or purple? or violet?


Titian’s Portrait of Laura Dianti


Allessandro Allori’s Portrait of a Lady

I think this will continue to be an ongoing quest for me, to gather as many period examples of purple as I can, just for fun you know. 🙂




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Coverciere/partlet nearly done

I worked steadily on my new partlet yesterday for around 6-7 hours, I am really slow at hand sewing but it’s coming along!


Just need to finish sewing on the edge trim and finish the construction work and she’s done!

I popped it on my mannequin with the necklace and some of the black velveteen the zimarra/coat with be made from and I actually think it looks quite nice. 🙂

It may get some more beading but I am not sure just yet.



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