Birth Of Mary (Detail Shot) Painted by Domenico Ghirlandaio


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Dress Fabric:Aquired
Cloak Fabric:Aquired
Chemise Fabric:Aquired
Dress Draft:Done
Cloak Draft:Done
Dress - Bodice:Done
Dress - Sleeves:Done
Dress - Skirt:Done
Shoes:Not Yet Aquired

This costume is complete! Here are some lovely pictures taken by Doug Houston

[07/07/06] - Got started on the sleeves. I already had them cut out. What I ended up doing was taking a close-fitting shirt sleeve I already had and made a muslin of it (with the sleeve flaring out to go over the wrist) and sewed it up. Then, I slit the sleeve straight up the back, kind of where some suitcoat sleeves are cut, instead of on the inside, then retraced the pattern and added seam allowance. I satin-stitched the seam allowance and folded everything over 1/2 inch and stitched. I started punching eyelets on the lower sleeve that will be stitched over with DMC floss. The good thing about doing this as opposed to just stitching the eyelets is it gives stability and still looks hand-stitched. I made them 1 1/4th inch apart and alternating instead of right across from each other, except the start and ending points, so it stays straight when stitched. The elbow bend has no lacing at all over it to allow movement and the chemise to be pulled through. Here's what I have on the left sleeve so far:

[03/26/06] - After drafting the skirt to get the right circumference for pleating on Thursday, I made the body of the dress in one day! For the bodice, I just used the same pattern as the gamurra, which basically all you have to worry about is the underbust measurement and the shape of the opening. The skirt I had to play with the pleating because it's a gridded material and I wanted a bit of a train in the back, so I folded most of the material into center back. I have some pictures of it so far:

[03/13/06] - I am nearly finished with the chemise, I just need to hem and finish the sleeves. I also made the gamurra, which is basically the same shape as the bodice of the dress will be. It will have eyelets for the lacing, and tie-on sleeves and a tie-on skirt so I can put pretty underpanels under slit front skirts. Here's a few pics:

[03/05/06] - I ordered 3.5 oz white linen at [DENVER FABRICS] which is what they classify as sheer. It is a very light linen and still has a good weight, so I am using it for my italian chemise. I figure it'll be a good weight to not be too hot if It's a warm weather event and will look nice pulled through the openings of the sleeves. I'm about half-way through the chemise construction. I used the steps from [THIS SITE] for period instructions for an Italian Chemise in the same time period as the dress.

Also, as you'll see in the side bar, one of Danielle's gowns from the movie Ever After follows this style, so I have included pictures from the movie for study. There's also a scene in the movie where she is just wearing her chemise and a gamurra, which is a kind of bodice that goes underneath the outer dress. The one on [THIS SITE] (scroll down to Italian Renaissance Dress) shows it lacing down the front, and Danielle's lacing on the side back (which I don't know how you'd lace it on yourself) Mine is going to lace in the front to mirror the lacing of the outer dress, and there will be a fake bit of gathered material in the front of the gamurra so I can do the lacing style from the paintings. It's hard to describe but I've seen a diagram somewhere that this is how that works. I also plan to add a skirt (tie on) to my gamurra with ties in the seams at strategic points so I can tie on different front panels so it's not just a thin linen where the skirt front slits. I saw a nice pearled bridal satin at JoAnn's I might get a yard of when I get to this point. The tie on skirt is last priority.

[12/18/05] - I've been in love with this dress ever since I first saw the painting... [Birth Of Mary (detail)] According to the [Web Gallery Of Art], the woman on the far right in the orange dress is thought to be Giovanna Tornabuoni (though I've heard some sources list her as Ludovicca). I'm going to have to look and see some other versions of this gown in other paintings. Many of these paintings the women look pregnant in, and either they're all pregnant, or they just got that poofy stomach women can get (I think I'm starting sit-ups while I'm young) so I have to figure out how this dress will have to hang on my petite frame. I saw [THIS] fabric at JoAnn's, mom made me get it (honest!) that I think will be just perfect in this gown. The blue has a slight sheen to it and the design stitched on it is in a natural color. I was wondering whether it would be period to use a gridded design like this, and I got my answer in another painting of [GIOVANNA TORNABUONI] with the same diagonal orientation of the squares. To go with it, I plan to make this... I don't even know what to call it, this cloak-like thing [THIS WOMAN] is wearing, the one in the pink. I even plan to include the dagged edge on the back edge of it, as it is the only thing with dagging that I've seen that I like. I think I'm going to make it out of a chenille tapestry I've seen that I like, with a big design like on the Birth Of Mary painting dress, probably in a dark goldish color. I'll probably add a light trimming around it and bead the leaf veins on it also.