Egyptian Capsule wardrobe

My newest Egyptian costume - an orange loose sheath dress with 'sleeves' and a v-neck with a teal 'coat'.

Orange loose sheath dress with ‘sleeves’ and a v-neck with a teal ‘coat’.

The next “Capsule Costume Collection” .. well.. isn’t. I have one outfit. However, I really liked making it, and found it fun to wear, so I can foresee making other items to go with it. I think with the simplicity of the items, and how interchangeable the layers are, it would be a great candidate for a capsule wardrobe. Continue reading

Pyrography bling box – Italian Renaissance

Italian Renaissance themed Pyrography box

Italian Renaissance themed Pyrography box

After my first round of wood-burned bling boxes, I decided I really wanted to make more – one for each of the costumes I currently have to hold small things like jewellery, belts, etc. I also decided it would be a good idea to decorate not just the lids of the boxes, but also the fronts – so when I stack them on a shelf, I can tell what is in each at a glance.

One of the costumes that has quite a bit of jewellery is my Italian Renaissance costumes. This includes the red and gold striped dress (Gamurra), the gold and black over dress (giornea), the red and gold overdress, the green dress, and the teal velvet overdress to start with… with plans for a few more elements to come…  Continue reading

Italian Capsule

The next “Capsule Costume Collection” is a little complicated. I have two main outfits (and a few extra accessories and pieces) but only one of the outfits fits me right now…

1480s Italian Renaissance Capsule Costume Collection

My first Italian Renaissance pieces are well-made, as well researched as I’d like, and I like them, but they are too large for me now. I’m also really aware that these garments require a lot of storage space, and I only really get to wear them for indoor events here in Calgary. They are too bulky to travel with, and too fancy to take to events with a large outdoor contingent.

Current inventory

Too large items

  • Gold and red silk gown (skirt, bodice, detachable sleeves)
  • Black and gold overdress
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 under dress with sleeves

Wearable items

Plus there are accessories like:

  • Gold belt
  • Copper and teal belt
  • Pockets – black and gold, blue, others
  • Pouches – red silk
  • Purse – purple velvet
  • Pearl necklaces
  • Coral necklace
  • Brooches for sleeves (multiple)
  • Netted coif headdress – black and gold
  • Padded roll headdress – gold with teal and red

Colour stories

I don’t really know if there’s a strong colour story. Obviously in the too-large items there’s a great gold/black/red story. In the current items I feel the story is less specific. If I were to add new garments, what would they go with? It’s easier to make overdresses than gowns, and they are much more visible… so I would get more impact from them. Still, I’m not sure if I want to stay in a blue-green colourway.

Based on the teal velvet overdress

I started by thinking of things to go with the teal velvet overdress – and my first thought was orange-red… not really a colour I want to wear. A bit stumped, I actually went online to see what kind of colour stories were out there with dark teal for inspiration.

Direct link from souce

Example one: 
This scheme matches the darker teal at the top which is similar to my overdress with a Mediterranean blue, an orange-peach, a fire-engine read, and a dark red/rust/burgundy…
I like how rich and luxurious this colour scheme is… and while I don’t think I’d do many large items with the orange-peach, I love the dark red.

Direct link from source

Example two:
This is a much more subtle colour story, with teal, dark purple, medium grey and pale grey. I don’t think that the greys would really work for me, but the dark purple would be pretty cool. Still, this time and place has a lot of consideration towards sumptuary law, and I think instead of spending a LOT of research on it to justify it, avoiding purple for large garments might be advisable.

Direct link from source

Example three:
With this one I’m torn. This IS the colourway of the copper and teal belt I made, and when I made it, I fell in love with this colour scheme. But I don’t want to wear orange. I think the ONLY way I could really make this work would be if I found some orange-shot-black copper silk for the underdress. (Shot silk so it really looks luxurious and metallic…) This scheme really relies on a LOT of orange, from pale peach to medium rust, with the teal as more of an accent. … Ok… I confess… I love this one a lot. I guess I need to hunt for copper silk.

Based on the apple-green silk under gown

Now it’s a LOT easier to make a few overdresses than to make more under gowns… so if I instead opt to make more overdresses – that would make more sense. So, once again I looked to colour schemes online to see what might look nice with that apple-green silk gown.

Direct link from source

Example one:
Well… This one has both the apple green, and the teal, which leaves me with lime greens, more pale greens, a light-forest green, and a pale mint. I’m not super inspired here, and I don’t think that this gives the rich, luxurious feel I want.

Even the teal is really washed out here – but boosting all of the colours up doesn’t really inspire me.


Direct link from source

Example two: 
Not much better. This one pairs the apple green with a super pale smoke-blue and a dark indigo. I like the indigo, but the scheme reminds me of a seaside cottage on the east coast, not the Italian Renaissance. The colours might be what I do see in paintings…. but they’re not what I ~feel~.


Direct link from source

Example three: 
This is… well… a BIT better. I like seeing the apple green with red and gold – it makes me feel somewhat more confident about teaming the silk gown with the work-in-progress gold and red brocade overdress… but honestly – I don’t love this either.

Direct link from source

Example four:

Well this is the last that actually sort of appealed to me, teaming the apple green with the teal once again. Hot pink, two shades of emerald/forest green, and a plum factor in here too.

I think that this has more of the luxurious feel I want – but I don’t want hot pink and green… I want to avoid that purple situation.. and that leaves me with teal and emerald to coordinate with the apple green. I don’t really think this is working out!

One last option….

Palette developed from ColorMunki for Italian Renaissance costume - teal, rich red, copper, and apple green

Palette developed from ColorMunki for Italian Renaissance costume

Well, it really seems that for the green silk gown, the best matches… are the colours I’ve already used. Copper, teal, and rich red to coordinate with the apple green. I visited the ColorMunki site to build a palette around this.

Final thoughts

Considering the amount of work that goes into making the under gowns… (all of that cording and hand-bound eyelets) I really feel that to build the wardrobe I WANT… is a lot more work than I really want to put into this right now. For the time being, I think I’ll opt out of designing more pieces for this “collection”. When I do, I might start with an entirely new colour palette, foregoing an attempt to mix and match with my existing pieces.

If you’re interested to see what other costume wardrobes I’ve looked at to incorporate the “Capsule Costume Collection” idea – click the tag.

You can also follow my page on Facebook, where I’ll share updates from this project, as well as interesting stories I find online around costuming, sewing, and crafting… along with lots of Viking Age stories too!

Red & gold Giornea – HSM June 2017

Selfie in my new red and gold Italian over dress. This is my very late submission to the June 2017 Historical Sew Monthly (worn over mundane clothing).

Selfie in my new red and gold Italian over dress (worn over mundane clothing).

For Caterina’s elevation nearly a year ago I wanted to make a Giornea – and overdress for the Italian Renaissance costume not unlike my previous Giornea. However, this time I wanted to try a different style, with an open front rather than open sides. I thought that this would be flattering, and would nicely show off the green silk under dress (Gamurra).

Laying out the pieces for the overdress (Giornea)

Laying out the pieces for the overdress

I drafted the pattern based off my new Gamurra draft for the bodice, and used simple trapezoids for the skirt. No drafting there…

I did a mock up in a gorgeous gold and red brocade home decorating fabric. I bought this at the Grandmother’s Fabric Sale a while ago, and adored it, but it was only about 2 meters… I didn’t think I’d be able to find anything to make out of it…. but this worked out reasonably well. I wish I had more fullness for the skirt – but I hoped it would still be a wearable mock-up / toile. (I usually like to do mock-ups out of fabric that would make a wearable garment if the mock-up works out…)

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading