Quest for Italian Renn

One of my scavenged successes from Holiday Faire’s Silent Auction was a purple overdress. I fell in love with the color and figured it was worth the whopping 50 cents, despite being several sizes too small.

Whopee! The previous wearer had sewn the shoulder straps tighter. 3 sets of existing grommets per sleeve opened the armholes right up. They also fueled a thought: a little research and sewing machine love could yield a respectable Italian Renn.

I would need MUCH added length to avoid the medieval miniskirt look. I could close the bodice all the way at the expense of breathing and mobility so that needed to be addressed. But the shoulder grommets begged for detachable sleeves, and if I used the same fabric in the sleeves as the additional hem, the disparate elements would harmonize. I could also use that same fabric for a modesty panel, thus enabling breathing (a pastime of which I’m exceedingly fond.)

I also decided I would actually pursue a measure of authenticity with this one.

Thus I hit Google. Here are some sites I found useful and concise in the vast sea of costuming and reenacting information:

As I read around ideas flowed. During the Italian renaissance, sleeves became an expression of the wearer’s wealth and downright extravagance. My mind flowed to my findings drawer, and thoughts of trim and piping and pearls flowed freely. The findings will bring additional unity to the mix-n-match pieces of my franken-garb.

My garb closet is full of scavenged linens, muckabout garb, and a few modestly nice dressed. Now I’m looking forward to a hoity toity lady dress! Our shire’s Twelfth Night Party is close enough to provide a deadline and far enough out to keep things low pressure.

This is gonna be fun!