Wedding ensemble: pleating w/ the perfect pleater

I have made fabric pleater tools out of cardboard in the past but never 22″ wide and with a small return. I knew the total circumference I wanted at the hemline and a full return knife pleat was going to be too generous. Since these were to be fully pressed pleats I knew a tool was going to be invaluable. So I promptly started cutting up manila folders and doing the math. Until my roommate pointed out that Clotilde carried the “Perfect pleater”. It happened to be 22″ wide and was on sale for half price with a 3/8″ return. I was sold almost… Continue reading Wedding ensemble: pleating w/ the perfect pleater

Red & Gold trained gown: added to gallery & featured at Realm of Venus

I finally got the Florentine gown up on the webpage.

I sent it in to Bella from Realm of Venus. She did a great job putting together the content featurning it in her Italian gown showcase – If you haven’t checked out her site it has some very drool worthy Italian outfits. A must view site in my opinion.


By the way, I sent her higher resolution images to use on her site so you can see a little more detail. I will try to eventually do a more thorough dress diary on this blog as well. But it is on the back burner as I get more involved in my fall commissions.

In the end, the gown really isn’t done either. I still need to make the sleeves based on the Pisa gown. I do have enough fabric but used the smocked stuff to quickly have ornate decoration and get it done in time for the event. Eventually I’ll complete the sleeves I intended to make for the gown.

Italian gown: photoshoot & Valhalla Renaissance faire

Tonight I’ll be heading off to the Valhalla Renaissance faire, for the weekend, after a long day of sewing and errands. I’m excited, as it is one of my favorite events of the year. In addition to being generally an awesome event it will also now hold special meaning to me because I’ve been selected to join The Order of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem.

At Needle’s Eye (Royal White Eagle) encampment my Daming will happen at 2pm tomorrow, Saturday May 30th. A knighting seemed like a good event to finish my outfit for:

Continue reading Italian gown: photoshoot & Valhalla Renaissance faire

Italian gown: patterning decisions

In an interesting turn of events, my roommate was in search of a fabric for a Venetian gown and she now has the other 8 yards of this fabric from my stash. I’m looking foward to showing off both my Florentine inspired gown and her Venetian gown when they are completed. She is close to done with her bodice and has started her skirt. The interesting thing to note is that I am using the damask inside out and upside down from how it will be used in her gown! We will be the upside-down-inside-out twins.

I’ve always been tempted to have a long train on one of my Renaissance gowns. Whether it will be practical is questionable at best but I just had to do one! After seeing the “Pisa gown” in Florence last year I knew I’d want to base a dress on this patterning:

jrt_69861 Continue reading Italian gown: patterning decisions

Italian gown: sneak peek

I’ve started the next portion of my Italian gown. Here is a quick preview:


The petticoat patterning for the silk fabric is 9 pieces and the linen lining 14 pieces! It was fun putting them all together. If you come by the Needle’s Eye at Livermore Scottish games this weekend I’ll be working on hemming the skirt if you want to see it in person. I’ll also be working on pulling & knotting tons of threads on my stays. I’m trying reed as boning this time around.

Cream loose kirtle: finished & with ropa

Here are some photos of the loose kirtle worn under a red silk ropa a made a few years back. The Ropa never had a final photo shoot so I’m going to put up some photos of it while I had it back in my workroom.

jrt_9300 (the shoulders don’t fit right on this manniking so it is sitting a little skewed but you get the idea I hope).
Continue reading Cream loose kirtle: finished & with ropa

Rose & Red Surcoat: construction & fitting


My client saw this 1 yard of red shot-with-black silk taffeta with a gold embroidery and knew she wanted to do another silk gown. We had been thinking of going with another linen gown. On a whim I pulled out this portion of rose silk I’m planning to make into a reproduction Italian gown. We put it next to the red and knew this was the combo we wanted. Luckily they had just enough left on the bolt when I ran over to the fabric store.

The unusual color combination really stands out and I’m loving it. The rose is very soothing & rich and the hidden red panel with embroidery really pops. The red is hidden in the back pleats and flares out when you walk. We will probably add some cream pearls on the embroidery design. Continue reading Rose & Red Surcoat: construction & fitting

Green and Gray Gown: alterations

Shortly after this lovely green & gray Middles gown was finished my client lost a significant amounts of weight to make the outfit unwearable. The bodice just didn’t fit right even overlapped at front. We waited till her weight stabilized and decided to make the alterations at the side back seams.


Continue reading Green and Gray Gown: alterations

Pisa, Italy: A gown of a duchess – court dress of a Madonna

Some of use went on an optional trip to the Laboratorio Centro Restauro Tessili in the Cittadella of Pisa for a private viewing of the Renaissance dresses from the Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Reale. I’m going to share some photos of what others have dubbed the “new” Eleonora di Toledo gown or the “red” Eleonora gown:

Continue reading Pisa, Italy: A gown of a duchess – court dress of a Madonna