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.

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Celebration – hairpiece

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

You may have noticed from my posts about the “Celebration” Italian outfit, that I also had a hairpiece – since my own hair is not down past my waist!

For this I looked at my inspiration image, as well as a bunch of other images – many of which show a LONG ponytail, in sort of a ‘casing’, with a bit of adornment (ribbon, pearls, etc).

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Celebration – headwear

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

To top off (ha ha) my new Italian Renaissance costume, I needed headwear. I looked at a few different options:

  • I could use the Reta I already made – it fits well and is correct for the outfit I’m making.
  • I can go without any headwear at all – many of the portraits show women without headwear.
  • I could finish off the netted headdress I started, which is about half done, with the most challenging parts done.. but it’s rather unimpressive….
  • I could try something new and totally different…. which would require drafting a new pattern and starting from scratch…

.. so of COURSE with 2 weeks to go before the event, and NONE of the garments completed yet, I opted to go for the fourth option.

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Celebration – Italian camicia

Cheeky selfie in my new linen camicia. The linen is so fine, you can see the shadows of my other garments under it.

Cheeky selfie in my new linen camicia. The linen is so fine, you can see the shadows of my other garments under it.

I originally intended to make an Italian camicia to go with my Italian costume, but ended up running out of time so did a makeshift version in cotton instead.

I opted to FINALLY finish the Italian camicia (shift, underdress, chemise) that I started a year and a half ago for the costume I was making for the elevation of Caterina to the Order of the Laurel. I had intended to do this entirely by hand, but after doing four of the shortest seams by hand, I was frustrated with how long it took, so I decided to switch to the invisible/interior stitching done by machine. All of the seams are finished with a French seam, which I hope will suitably support the thin gauze fabric.

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Celebration – Faux pearl and coral necklaces

Display of pearl and coral necklaces for largesse

Display of pearl and coral necklaces for largess

To celebrate Caterina’s elevation, a number of us made largess (gifts) to present to the King and Queen as part of the “bountiful chests of House Fine Lames” (her SCA house). I’m not a member of her house, but sort of an ‘extended family member’, so I contributed the lute-shaped purse I made previously, along with 17 faux pearl and coral necklaces.

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