Today I took my first foray into self-portraiture and the complexities of using a remote shutter control in order to take some pictures of my latest sewing project.
It involved a lot of running back and forth in the woods (and hiding from hikers behind trees) but they came out pretty well for my first try!
This dress was born out of curiosity a few months ago when I was scrolling through Italian renaissance portraiture on the internet and it struck me how, basically, those painted images are the only visual source we have left to study. There are very, very, very few extant garments left from the late 15th/early 16th century.
By having only those paintings, what we have to go off of (from the perspective of historical garments) is, for the most part, stylized versions of the upper class’s best clothes. So what about the rest of the ladies?
This dress is the first step in a long journey to try to answer that question.
Conceptualized as a work/day/house dress for a lady who was middle class or lower in station, I whipped up a chemise to go underneath it. I’m still deciding on the design of the sleeves so those will come in time.
I relied heavily on a book called “Dressing Renaissance Florence” by Carole Collier Frick in my research for this ensemble. It had a ton of fantastic information in it and was super helpful. I’ll go into more detail about my research and the actual making of this dress in a later post.
But, because I found so much inspiration in her research (and the primary sources she cites), I’m putting this dress down as my entry for the Historical Sew Monthly challenge this month – “Literature.”
The Challenge: Literature (HSM #5)
Fabric: Pink linen, brown linen, white cotton.
Pattern: Self-drafted from my red renaissance dress
Year: c. 1500
Notions: Thread, embroidery floss, brass lacing rings, lacing cord
How historically accurate is it? Quite. Entirely hand-sewn, even!
Hours to complete: Worked on it off and on all month.
First worn: Today!
Total cost: About $10 for both pieces together.
Construction details coming soon!