The Renaissance Project – Lorenzo

For Halloween last year my brother decided to join in the fun and dress up with us. He chose Lorenzo de’ Medici as his historical persona and was surprisingly enthusiastic about the whole thing!

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I started out making him a basic shirt out of cotton.


I used black ribbons at the wrists and neck for closures, which weren’t yet added in the picture above. It took about a day. This garment was so simple and easy to make that there’s not much more to say about this garment.

Next I moved on to making a doublet, or farsetto. There was some inexpensive forest green suede at Joann’s that we picked up for a really good deal.

Annunciation with Two Kneeling Donors by Fra Filippo Lippi

I cut it to look like the doublet seen in this portrait. Two resources I found extremely helpful along the way were: Farsetto Constuction of the Italian Renaissance and Men’s Clothing in 15th Century Florence.


I draped a pattern on him one evening and sewed like crazy trying to get as far as possible before he came home from college next. The body is lined with the same leftover plaid fabric as my dress, which stiffened it a nice amount, and the sleeves are unlined.

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I cut it a little close to the wire on this one, sewing right up until midnight to get it finished. I had to enlist his help which I was happy to have. He was decidedly less enthusiastic about it.


We worked diligently, though, and were able to get the sleeves cartridge-pleated at both the shoulder and elbow and get them attached in time.


The doublet closes in the front with four sets of leather ties using this method. I also made him a set of fall-front “hose” out of brown linen. I put it in quotations because he was adamant against wearing a proper set of hose. Haha. So I used a pair of his pajama pants as a pattern and put a fake seam up the back of both legs. They close on the front with leather ties and are attached to his doublet on the underside. It’s a period-correct method but he said they were mighty uncomfortable. Apparently this happened a lot throughout the night:

St John Altarpiece (detail) by Hans Memling

Things came united, seams popped, and it was hard to keep them from falling down in the back. Next time I will add some elastic, for his sake.

Of the three pieces the shirt is his favorite – he said he’d like to wear it more than just Halloween. The pants he could do without and the doublet was neither here nor there. I was rather happy with all of the pieces but I consider it a victory in and of itself getting him to dress up with us! Score!!

Post Zero: Master Post

Part One: Background and Research

Part Two: Caterina (my sister’s outfit)

Part Three: Lucrezia (my outfit)

Part Four: Lorenzo (my brother’s outfit)

Part Six: Wearing it All (Halloween 2014)