4 thoughts on “Italian gown: hemline details”

  1. Is there a function to the slashing, or is it a design feature? It’s not something I’ve noticed on garb before. I doubt I’ve ever seen any that is as well researched as yours, though, so I’m not surprised.

  2. I believe it is a design feature. There is mention of the slashing of the hemline in Janet Arnold’s Pattern of Fashions looking at Eleonora’s burial gown. It was also a feature at the hemline of the Pisa gown which is shown in Mode a Firenze 1540-1580 ISBN 88-8304-867-9 and in some of my photographs from viewing the gown in person. Multiple portraits in this book show this slashing detail at the neckline of gowns.

    I know from experience with my silk that the slashing done on fabric cut on the bias frays less than slashes on straight grain. I imagine their fabric which was woven more tightly would have frayed less than my modern woven fabric but would have still frayed some and added a lovely textural difference (which we can see in the portraits). If there is some functional aspect to it I am currently unaware it.

    Anyone have anything to add or to correct me on?

  3. I am working on a 16th century Venetian inspired gown. I have used a heavy brocade as the outer skirt material. It is quite heavy and cumbersome to hem traditionally. I saw your blog and I love this treatment for the hemline. Any other tips/tricks or instructions you’d like to share before I start experimenting?

  4. Alicia, if you do decide to slash your hemline and it touches the ground at all it will definitely be more prone to fraying. I chose to do so because the gown was intended to be worn for short periods of time or shown in a static display. You can take a small section and do a test of the hemline treatment and see how it works with your fabric.

    I know of two references for this type of hemline in Italian gowns but not Venetian specifically but I can’t see why you couldn’t use the technique anyhow. Let me know how it works for you?

    I look forward to seeing what you create!

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