Historical Sew Monthly December 2016

Complete "celebration" Italian outfit including the padded roll hat, teal figured velvet overdress, and green silk underdress with sleeves

Complete “celebration” Italian outfit including the padded roll hat, teal figured velvet overdress, and green silk underdress with sleeves

The Challenge: December – Special Occasion: make something for a special event or a specific occasion, or that would have been worn to special event or specific occasion historically.

This project was started in the summer when it was announced that my SCA friend Caterina would be elevated to the Order of the Laurel (the highest honour and responsibility in Arts & Sciences). I finished the final touches on this costume RIGHT before her elevation on November 5th, making it timed perfectly for the December HSM challenge.

Concept sketch for the matcha-green silk dress and the teal figured velvet over dress

Concept sketch for the matcha-green silk dress and the teal figured velvet over dress

Material: There are a lot of different materials in this costume.

  • Matcha-green 100% silk broadcloth (From Caterina’s stash)
  • Teal cotton figured velvet (From Caterina’s stash)
  • White 100% linen – from Fabricland
  • White 100% linen gauze – from fabric-store.com
  • Blue 100% linen – from fabric.com
  • Red and gold striped 100% silk – from Fabricland
  • Copper 100% silk – from Fabric Depot
  • Copper 100% silk – from project leftovers, original source unknown
  • Teal silk-like synthetic fabric – from Reena’s Fabrics
  • Gold shot with white 100% silk – from the Grandmother’s Fabric Sale

Pattern: self-drafted

Year: 1480s/90s Italian, with Spanish influences

Notions: Lots of notions in this one too…

  • Hook and eyes (various sizes and shapes)
  • Bracelet components, alcohol inks & faux gemstones from Michaels Arts & Crafts
  • Interfacing
  • Copper metallic lace & silk thread from Out of Hand
  • Thread (polyester sewing thread)
  • Pearl Cotton embroidery thread
  • Lacing rings, brass-coloured beads, end bars, & faux pearls from Fire Mountain Gems
  • Cotton butcher’s cord, acrylic yarn
  • Buckram
  • Millinery Wire
  • Polyfill
  • Tools  including: Lucet fork, tube turner, and standard sewing/drafting equipment
Concept sketch for the overdress. I ended up not adding the trim at the hem, and did a belt with a splash of copper.

Concept sketch for the overdress. I ended up not adding the trim at the hem, and did a belt with a splash of copper.

How historically accurate is it? Likely the original overdress would be silk velvet, which is way out of my price range, let alone to get figured silk velvet. I also used one synthetic fabric, as compared to my other options in natural fibres it just fit best with what I had in mind (and I didn’t want to go shopping for a similar fabric in silk.)
Most of my production sewing is by machine, with finishing sewing by hand.
I feel the shapes and patterns are fairly accurate, with the notable comment about bust darts. There is VERY limited support for bust darts, with a pattern book from slightly later showing ONE pattern with a bust dart that I know of, and a few paintings that raise the question about darts. This makes it more difficult, but I think it helps to accomplish the desired shape and fit on my figure.

Hours to complete: Months. Really, there is probably 100+ hours in this.

First worn: November 5, 2016 for the elevation of Caterina at Montengarde’s Samhain.

Total cost: hundreds of dollars. I don’t even want to think about it! There’s probably $200 in linen, another $100 in notions, $300 in silk…

Components of this outfit

This outfit includes:

I used much of the same jewellery that I made for my previous Italian costume.

A number of Caterina’s friends and SCA household members all made or borrowed garb to honour her persona – late period Italian. I’m in the middle of the photo, beside the woman in the purple velvet coat, behind the man in the white cap. In addition to my garb, I also have on the Kingdom A&S Champion sash and medallion. When Caterina was designing concepts for each of us, she thoughtfully included all of our honours – the red belt of the squires, the yellow belts of the protegees, and my sash. 🙂

You might recognise the outfit on the woman at the front of the procession – that’s my first Italian gown borrowed by a friend. The other gown I made is later in the aisle, out of the photo.

20161105-DSC_4655

Photo from Beotuck’s Flickr stream, direct link.

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