The Florence Diaries: Linen Calzone
Recreated by La Signora Onorata Katerina da Brescia.

Calzone of tela (linen), trimmed with amarnate cording. 

Drawers/ Calzones:
Finally, I have actually pulled out my pics and research on drawers and actually started to put together some patterns... (See also my article on Dressing from the Inside out 6/04)

Extant examples of women's calzoni can be found in Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd . A History of Underclothes has an Italian extant example. Both appear to be from the late 16th century. Pictorial representations such as Pierto Bertelli's Cortigiana Veneza (Venetian courtesan) can be found in Diversarum Nationum Habitus , 1591 (V&A Museum) & 1594-1596 (Banca dati Biblioteca Riccardiana). From Hispanic Costuming 1480-1520 *, drawers were mentioned in the 1479 inventory of Duchess of Alburqurque (linen with white silk cords). Queen Juana had drawers lined with fur. Yellow drawers of satin, trimmed with strips of cloth of silver belonged to the Empress. Drawers were used in Spain before England or France. Lucrezia Borgia made calzoni fashionable in Italy (Ferarra)..
Drawers' were not popular in England as they were associated with courtesans and not appropriate for the upperclass. It seems that the Italians and Spanish upperclass did not always hold the same opinion. It cannot be assumed that all Italian women wore calzoni. One would have to look to individual inventories.

But, for the record, Eleanora's Gardaroba does record one pair of calzonie made of red satin. It is difficult to know what style Eleanora's calzoni were, as the details were not recorded.

I have changed my mind on the style of the calzoni.
Above right is the first idea (after working out the embroidery and everything!- I will make this next time, I think). Above far right is my updated version, without as much embroidery. This will mean I have one pair to wear earlier, and can work on the more decorated pair later...

For information on my first design LOOK HERE.


Extant eg. from The History of Underclothes

Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd (p209)

Diversarum Nationum Habitus (Venice). Venetian Woodcut 16th C
5/06: Final Draft Calzoni:


16thC Venetian Drawers courtesy of La Mode a Firenze.

This second pattern, right, is based on the above drawings from the extant examples in The History of Underclothes and Queen Elizabeths Wardrobe Unlock'd.

The calzone from La Mode and Diversarum Nationum Habitus are wider at the top and appear to be narrower at the bottom of the leg. Each example has a tie or 'cuff' at the bottom of the leg.

Though, these drawers look like the venetians (men's trousers) in Patterns of Fashion, I opted for a simpler pattern. Trousers would have been made by professional tailors. In the 16thC, linens (such as camicias) were made in the home. So this would support the theory for a simpler pattern.

To make the pattern as simple as possible, and consistant with the rectangular, square and triangular pattern pieces for camicia of the time, I have tried to make pattern pieces along those lines. I decided, as with my first design, to have a gusset at the crotch. (see Right pattern).

Luckily, I have information from someone who has seen the Metropolitan Museum's extant drawers first hand. (caitlin_oduibhir from the Lochac Garb list).
She says: the drawers are gussetted with a long opening at the 'fly'. They have two small eyelets for a point tie to pass through. (This agrees with my theory, used for my underskirt. )

The extant pair from La Mode, however does appear to have a button for the closure.A close look at the same pair show (above right) that they are probably lined (most likely with linen). This would make sense as they are heavily blackworked and would protect the outer layer from soiling.
The waistline appears to have knife pleats into the waistband. There does not appear to be a lot of gathering at the bottom leg.

for this pair I will be using a similar pattern to above, with an angled leg pattern, with gussets for the crotch. It will be lined with linen also. The waist will have knife pleating, with little pleating at the leg. I will either put a tie at the bottom leg, or a cuff with a button, for decoration. 

June, 2006:
With the camicia and partlet finished, I returned my attention to the calzone.

Left: My pattern is designed to give fullness at the waist and be narrower at the leg hem, as seen in the extant example from La Mode a Fiorenze, and the pictures from Diversarum Nationum Habitus. This also approximates the angled/ triangular pair of extant calzone from The History of Underclothes.

This also provides a very economical cut, with the gussets (seen left). I did adjust the measurements to 60cm across the top, so they would not be too boofy, also this gave a better fit to the material. The strip down the side, was used for the waistband and leg cuffs.

Right: is the basic pattern cut from linen, showing where the gusset will fit. I will line the drawers to the crotch. It can be seen in the La Mode extant example, that at least the upper part is lined. 

1. The leg seams and crotch gusset and back seams are sewn. I hand sewed the overstitching (flat felled seam).
2. The top half is lined in the same linen. The front seam is left open, the edges of the lining is stitched to the main drawers with small, handsewn running stitches, using linen 
3. The waist was knife pleated into the waistband.
At this point, all that is left to do, is to finish handsewing the waistband, put the cuffs on the legs and decorate.


  • handmade cord in contrasting colour
  • cording at the leg hem, as in La Mode.
  • drawstring at the waist.

Right is a picture of my finished pair of calzone and the comparisons.

Now I have been eyeing off some shot silk which is begging for slashes and pinking!



  • Anderson, Ruth Mathilde. Hispanic Costuming 1480-1520 p 215 (info supplied by Mistress Constanzia de Zamora via email list - thanks)*
  • 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. ISBN:0-19-924793-5
  • Crowfoot E, Pritchard F & Staniland K, Textiles and Clothing 1150-1450, Boydell Press, Woodridge, 2001 (ed) ISBN: 0-85115-840-4
  • Frick, Carole Collier. Dressing Renaissance Florence.: Families Fortunes & Clothing. John Hopkins University Press. Baltimore. 2002. ISBN: 0-8018-6939-0
  • Kohler, Carl, A History of Costume, Dover Publications, NY,1963, ISBN: 486-21030-8
  • Fennel Mazzoui, Maureen. The Italian Cotton Industry in the Later Middles Ages 1100-1600, Cambridge University press, 1981. (thanks to Galiana de Baiona).
  • Levey, Santina & Payne, Patricia Le Pompe: Patterns for Venetian Bobbin Lace, Ruth Bean, Bedford. 1983. ISBN: 0 903585 16 2
  • Ricci, Elisa. Italian Lace Designs: 243 Classic Examples. Dover, NY, 1993. ISBN: 0 486 27588 4 Lace, Bookking International. Paris, 1995. (no ISBN available).
  • Orsi Landini, Roberta & Niccoli, Bruna. La Moda a Fioenze 1540-1580. Pagliai Polistampa, Firenze, 2005. ISBN: 88-8304-867-9
  • Ricci, Elisa. Old Italian Lace Volume 1. William Heinemann, London. 1913 available on line:
  • Lace, Bookking International. Paris, 1995. (no ISBN available).
  • Veccellio, Cesare. Vecellio's renaissance Costume Book. Dover Publications. NY. 1977. ISBN: 0 48623441X
  • Willet, C. & Cunnington, Phillis, A History of Underclothes, Dover Publications, NY, 1992, ISBN: 0-486-27124-2

    Web Sites:
  • V&A Museum website:
  • Bath Museum of Costume:
  • Warwickshire Museum Website
  • Diversarum nationum habitus -
  • Oonagh's Own:
  •  Elizabethan Costume Page
  • "How much yardage is enough" Susan Reed, 1994.
  • Suggested Yardages for Elizabethan Garments by Drae Leed. (29/5/03)
  • V&A web site: (May, 2004)
  • "How much yardage is enough" Susan Reed, 1994.
  • Archeological Sewing by Heather Rose Jones (2001) (5/04)

(c). K.Carlisle, 9/05

And for those who like LIVE JOURNALS... However be warned, I do not update regularly.

All intellectual content, photos and layout are copyright to La Signora Onorata Katerina da Brescia (K Carlisle), except those original renaissance artworks and extant articles whose copyright remains with the current owner.
If you would like to use something from this site, please contact me, and cite this website reference.

(c). K.Carlisle, 2009.