A typical part of Eleanora's
outfit was a zimarra (loose gown) over the sottana. Left is some black
material I found on ebay. It is scrummy with both crosses and
fleur-di-lis (a common motif of Florence). I managed to get some 'shot'
tafetta in purples for the lining. As I was restricted to only 4 yds
(nope, not metres) of the black, I will be making a zimarra with short
sleeves (unless I can eek out enough for narrow sleeves). This will be
in a similar style to
Cristofano dell Altissimo's Guilia Gonzaga 1535 (right).
In place of fur, I am using the snipped decorative edging, as
for the hem and neck of the sottana. An example of this can be found in
Bronzino's Laudomia de Medici 1560- 65.
Pattern (documentation): 19th November.
||Looking into the zimarra or loose gown, there seem to be ones that have cartridge pleating at the back (as seen in Patterns of Fashion - left) and straight back in one piece, as seen in Tudor Tailor (far
left). Both of these are 'English' patterns but do fit nicely into the
portraits and drawings available for Italy as well. I decided to use a
version of the first pattern, from Tudor Tailor for a few reasons:.
I will use the sleeve pattern from my Maria d'Medici 'veste' (overgown) as a basis for these sleeves. (Time is an issue with this one)
- It is an earlier pattern and more contemporary to the 1530-1540 timeline for my Linen sottana. (and my preferred timeline).
- It will use less material. I have a limited amount of the
black material (only 4 yards). I am hoping that the mirrored
pattern will 'top and tail' well when cutting out.
I have made the lining patterns (sleeves) slightly wider for the cut
edge decoration. The sleeves will be short for summer and because of
her son Francesco, 1549) show the plain collar. These are much looser in
silhouette than my preferred zimarra (in the far right picture - the
original inspiration). This gown appears to be more snug around the top
and armpits and then flow out from there. The sleeve starts ont he
shoulder tip rather than lower (as in the first two portraits). My
final pattern is more consistent with this silhouette.
|The collar will not be the 'rever' style as in the picture
or in the Tudor Tailor pattern. I prefer the standard collar, which can be seen in other Zimarra. The first two portraits, right (Bronzino: Portrait of Lucrezia Panciatichi,1550.
(recently attrib as possibly
Eleanora, (because of girdle) and Bronzino Eleonora and
Zimarra Construction (diary).
I have no documentation on the actual techniques used
specfically for zimarra of Florence. I will be using the general
tailoring techniques I have researched so far, and adapting them to
this project. Like the sottana, the hem will have felt sewn
onto the lining, to stiffen the hem. the bottom edge of the hem will
have a bias strip (same tafetta as lining) which is clipped for
|Patterns used pinned onto material.
|Above: sleeve pattern pinned up with edging ready to handsew, then clip.
|The sleeve head constructed
||The bias edging strip was
'sandwiched' between the outer material and lining. This was then
handsewn together, with running stitch.
||The collar was done in the same manner, with handsewn running stitches. The edges were then all clipped.
|The hem was constructed in the same way. I decided to make it slightly shorter, so the trim of the sottana could be seen.
||I did not have enough time to use felt on the hem. This makes it very
'fly away'. Next time I will take the time to do so. I think it sits
The final Zimarra:
front, back and side
and on the day... front, back and side.
baragoni - puffy top of sleeve
sottana - petticoat or dress.
zimarra - loose gown over sottana.
This was originally based on turkish coats but later came to encompass 'generic'
loose gowns worn in Florence.
- Alcega, Juan.The Tailor's Pattern Book, 1589 Facimile, Ruth Bean,
Carlton, Bedford, 1979.
- Arnold, Janet Patterns of Fashion, MacMillan, London, 1985. ISBN:
- 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:
- Orsi Landini, Roberta & Niccoli, Bruna.
La Moda a Fioenze 1540-1580. Pagliai Polistampa, Firenze, 2005. ISBN:
- Veccellio, Cesare. Vecellio's renaissance Costume Book. Dover
Publications. NY. 1977. ISBN: 0 48623441X
- Medici Archive
Project: www.medici.org/ (1/06)
- Web Gallery: Medici portraits by Bronzino.
- Archeological Sewing by Heather Rose Jones (2001)
http://heatherrosejones.com/archaeologicalsewing/index.html (new adsottana:
- Sewing Stitches Used in Medieval
- Archive of Stitches from Extant