A camicia of tela (linen), broidered with amarante silk of pomegranite and bees.
At the moment, I am concentrating on underpinnings. This
is the first of my new batch. Once done, then I can start on
a new dress. Besides....
One can never have too many camicias! This one is based on
Italian low-necked camicias which can be found in V&A
museum, Cut my Cote, New York Metropolitan Museum. For my
research on Italian Camicia, see my
Below are some extant examples from Italian Old Lace
and New York Metropolitan Museum and Cut my
Cote. These have side gussets and armhole gussets.
Firstly, a look at the extant examples of the camicia. All
made in linen. This shows the patterns and decoration.
Next can be seen the pattern and how I am going to make it
Extant eg. from Elisa Ricci's Old Italian Lace
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Cut My Cote by Dorothy K. Burnham.
I planned to use 26 inch wide material (half of the
bought linen width) to cut all pattern pieces from. This is
more consistent with material widths available in
Renaissance times. (right is my pattern based on Cut my
Cote . Above is the layout for cutting.). In the end, I
used the full width of the material (I forgot to cut it....!
The gussets will be made very large in an attempt to allow
more movement. I intend to partly machine sew and handsew
the seams. They will be flat-felled seams oversewn). The
body is gathered into the neckband. The sleeves will end in
broidered cuffs, as seen in the above examples. I will tie
the cuffs with handknitted cords.
See AN EXERCISE IN AUTHENTICITY for
more information on sewing research
Traditionally this is usually done in red or black. I will be
doing mine in purple. Well, it is my heraldic colour. The NY Met
museum extant camicia has embroidery in lavender, so it was used in
decoration on Italian camicias. Slim I know, but there is one example
of purple-coloured embroidery on the sleeves out there!
I will be using embroidery to decorate this cacmicia
(drawnwork is another project for the future, but not now!).
I will also add lace (bought) to the neckline and possibly
Right is the pattern I intend to use on the sleeves. This
is based on embroidery found on two different shirts. The
bee is from a shirt in the Bath Museum (1580-90) (left) and
the pomegranite based on a shirt found in the Warwickshire
Museum. (right). Thanks to Jane Stockton's website, who
provided the link on this one. I will do three rows down
I am still thinking on the cuff and neckline embroidery.
They were finished at the end of November. I had run out of
embroidery silk and am awaiting the shop to order some more in.... so
the gussets, neck and cuffs have to wait a while longer.
I managed to finally find time to cut out the camicia
pieces and draw up the embroidery pattern on the sleeves
Left are the first two motifs finished. Wahoo.
This is going to take forever!
I have used stem stitch, buttonhole stitch, some
satin stitch, running stitch and feather
Below is the sleeve fully embroidered.
I managed to finish one gusset: and
In the meantime, I made the UNDERSKIRT.
Now back onto the camicia. I have finally decided on a pattern for
the cuffs and neck. It is based on, a pattern from New Modelbuch -
book of patterns. (http://costume.dm.net/blackwork/ Unfortunately
the patterns are no longer online.) I tried to pick something easy,
as a friend of mine Devora aus Aschaffenburg,is going to embroider
the cuffs, as a gift for me. She is relatively new to doing
'blackwork', plus I like crosses.
Here are pictures of my neck embroidery in progress:
and the neckline sewn in and with the lace.
here is the camicia, almost finished....
20 January, 2006:
from the back. Just awaiting the cuffs and lace.
from the side, showing the sleeve.
the right gusset...
and the left gusset.
When I have the cuffs and it is all finished, I will post
pics... I am hoping this will be done for the Newcomers Feast in
March.... which I did.
Here are the final pictures
Oh, my gosh how indecent!
Sleeve and cuffs: thanks to Devora
The final camicia
- Arnold Janet, Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd,
Maney, Leeds, 1988, ISBN:0-901286-20-6
- Kovesi Killerby, Catherine, Sumptuary Law in Italy
1200-1500, Oxford University Press. NY. 2002.
- Crowfoot E, Pritchard F & Staniland K, Textiles and
Clothing 1150-1450, Boydell Press, Woodridge, 2001 (ed) ISBN:
- Frick, Carole Collier. Dressing Renaissance Florence.:
Families Fortunes & Clothing. John Hopkins University
Press. Baltimore. 2002. ISBN: 0-8018-6939-0
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NY,1963, ISBN: 486-21030-8
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Underclothes, Dover Publications, NY, 1992, ISBN:
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Later Middles Ages 1100-1600, Cambridge University press,
1981. (thanks to Galiana de Baiona).
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Venetian Bobbin Lace, Ruth Bean, Bedford. 1983. ISBN: 0 903585
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Examples. Dover, NY, 1993. ISBN: 0 486 27588 4 Lace, Bookking
International. Paris, 1995. (no ISBN available).
- Ricci, Elisa. Old Italian Lace Volume 1. William
Heinemann, London. 1913 available on line:
- Lace, Booking International. Paris, 1995. (no ISBN
- Veccellio, Cesare. Vecellio's renaissance Costume Book.
Dover Publications. NY. 1977. ISBN: 0 48623441X
- Bronwen's Blackwork Library.
- V&A Museum website: http://images.vam.ac.uk
- Bath Museum of Costume:
- Warwickshire Museum Website www.datavista.co.uk
- In Praise of the Needle. by Jane Stockton.
- Oonagh's Own: http://oonagh.actewagl.net.au/
- Elizabethan Costume Page
- "How much yardage is enough" Susan Reed, 1994.
- Suggested Yardages for Elizabethan Garments by Drae
Leed. http://costume.dm.net/yardages.html# (29/5/03)
- Smocks and Chemises (Drae Leed)
- A Reconstructed Chemise by Kass McGann
- V&A web site: http://www.vam.ac.uk/ (May, 2004)
- How to make an easy Italian chemise - Festive Attyre
(May, 2005) homepage.mac.com/festive_attyre
- "How much yardage is enough" Susan Reed, 1994.
- Archeological Sewing by Heather Rose Jones (2001)