Saturday, October 18, 2014

La Vita Italiana

I finally finished my Italian dress! Woot! This was the dress that really didn't want to get made but I finally did it.

The story of this dress is rather a long one. I bought the fabric way back in 2012 to make a dress to wear to the Kentucky Renaissance Festival. Of course, after I got home and thought about it, I decided that polyester was a bad choice for a summer faire. So I scrapped that idea and the fabric was added to the stash.

After making a few kirtles, I knew I could squeeze a dress out of the 4.5 yds that I had in my stash, if I could find some evidence for stripes from this period. So I searched high and low and finally came up with some inspiration.

So 16th century Italian it was! Luckily, the shape of this dress was very similar to English styles of this period so I could use my kirtle pattern as a base. I decided to go with a side back lacking to minimize any interruption to the trim. (And there was a lot of trim!)

The sleeves were a big hurdle since I'd never made sleeves like this before. I started with my self drafted sleeve base and then experimented until I got a poof that I liked. It took a few tries but I'm pretty happy with the final version.

On the actual day of wearing, I had some issues with the lacing so it did some loose but there's always a few hiccups the first time you wear an outfit out to an event.

I also got to wear the jewelry I bought last year. I think the set definitely has a more Italian feel than an English feel. And I also whipped up a new partlet for this outfit since Italians weren't into the ruffs and ruffles the way the English were. And one can never have too many partlets.

The hardest part of figuring out this ensemble was what to do with my hair! It is easy to pull off short hair with and English look since they were all about having your hair covered. Italians were more ok with showing off your hair. So I played around with my fake hair and came up with this look.

Overall, I'm quite happy with how this dress came out! And I definitely want to make some more Italian costumes. I've got a few more posts on this dress coming up including a construction post and some pictures of a blogger meet up from last weekend!


  1. I absolutely love your dress!! I have yet to foray into the 1600s, but this has certainly peaked my interest! I love all of the unusual details, and the stripes are lovely!
    Your hairdo is lovely too! I love snoods. A lot. They are very helpful on days in which my hair refuses to cooperate. And let's just say that happens a little too often. ;)
    Beautiful job!!

  2. What a great job! It's a lovely dress and the accessories are so pretty. I'm not a fan of the huge English ruffs and prefer this look :)

  3. Your dress turned out amazing!! The accessories are fantastic, and you look like you really enjoyed yourself!

  4. It's gorgeous, you did such a great job!

  5. Awesome dress! On some photos you look exactly like Padme :-)

  6. Seriously gorgeous!!! Excellent job on this dress. The rich, autumn-y hues at work here compliment your colouring marvelously.

    ♥ Jessica

  7. This dress just blows my mine! You did a great job on it too. The jewelry really brings out the colors of the dress.

  8. Very pretty! And I agree with Jessica- those colors are stunning on you!! :-)