Italian Renaissance Dress

So it has been rather quiet of late on this blog, but not because I haven't been sewing, crafting, and designing. Actually I have been doing too much to have time to share. November 21st and 22nd my friends and I attended a renaissance faire in Louisiana, and I made a dress and boots for me as well as a jacket for my friend. Hopefully, there will be a post for each one starting with the dress :)

So I basically went all out when designing this outfit. The base fabric is a wine colored broadcloth, and the underskirt is a navy satin. The undersleeves are organza with the gauntlets made of the same material as the dress. It is embellished with four separate gold colored brocade trims, gold stitching, and glass pearls. The woven trim on the edge of the overskirt is gold tone with pearls. The gauntlets are held in place with brass lion head buttons, and the lacing rings are fancy brass leaves. There is also a matching snood with some more of those glass pearls on it. I also wore the white underdress that you can see poking out behind the collar which I purchased here.

The over gown is made with Simplicity 8735 pattern. It needed some work in the bodice, and by some I mean that I changed almost everything. The pointed waistline was dropped to create a straight line across the front, and the darts in the front were eliminated as well.

 I created a new neckline as well as a new pattern for the satin modesty panel that has the stag trim. Along the bottom of the bodice is another trim featuring peacocks. Under that you can see the pearl/gold trim all the way down the front.

The zipper up the back had to go, so handsewn eyelets and leaf shaped lacing rings alternated down the back. The lacing rings actually started life as half of a toggle clasp, so I had to buy 10 sets just to make the five leafy pairs. They look awful on the hanger, but sit nicely when the dress is actually being worn.

The outer sleeves are my favorite part. They're held on by these lion buttons that conveniently sold by the dozen. Each gauntlet has 3 buttons across the top that attach using a suede cord looped at one end.

Above you can see the suede cord is sewn onto the top gauntlet along the bottom edge. The cord that attaches the upper gauntlets to the dress is sewn between where the bodice and the undersleeves meet at the shoulder.

The top pair of gauntlets took forever to do, but it was totally worth it. They started out with the same wine brocade as everything else. The gold stitching had to be added one line at a time using my sewing machine, and the pearls were sewn on completely by hand as were all the buttons.

The bottom sleeve set has golden embroidery at the top and bottom and it uses the same golden stag trim as the modesty panel as well as a navy ribbon with gold flourishes.

Here is a look at the organza undersleeves. The fabric is actually quite sheer, Simplicity added some serious volume in their pattern which took almost a full yard for each sleeve. I did trim them back to fit my petite arms, and I modified the end by adding a satin cuff in place of the elastic ruffled ending that was in the original.

For the underskirt, I pretty much followed the pattern, only I added a large border with peacocks just along the front panel. You can tell that it's vintage, but the age really adds to the beauty.

Of course you can't have a renaissance dress and not have a head covering of some sort. I went with a snood that sits farther back on the head. To make it sit firmly, I made the band as close to my 22" head as I could, and made a loop at the bottom with a large pearl acting like a button to hold it in place.


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