1490s Florentine Gown

May 2021 – March 2022

This is another iteration of my 1480s velveteen gamurra. I worked on both projects at the same time and they’re similar in construction. After struggling with velveteen, the silk was an absolute dream to sew. You will find links below to the research material used for this gown, as well as the other Florentine costumes on my website.

When making multiple versions of the same dress it’s nice to have a little variety. Rather than eyelets, this bodice laces through gold rings. They’re strong and very pretty. But to be honest, I would have preferred eyelets because the rings are slippery, making it difficult to lace. Once closed, the lacing gap seems to shift. Unfortunately, none of my experiments so far have yielded decent looking eyelets in silk taffeta.
The bodice has a boned, coutil and broadcloth base. Five yards of taffeta from Silk Baron was more than enough fabric for the gown plus sleeves. Just for good measure, the bodice fabric is also underlined in silk organza. My skirt is quite simple. It’s based on the back pattern piece of The Tudor Tailor‘s skirt #19, cut three times. Initially the skirt was about 10″ wider all around. A minor difference, but when attached to the bodice it looked too full. So I took the whole thing apart and cut the skirt down. The final measurements ended up: 95.5″ waist and 127.5″ hem. The skirt is lined in batiste and has a small sweep at center back. A few strategic tapes are added inside, allowing it to be drawn up a tad to protect the hem. It works, but when raised off the floor in this manner it doesn’t look remotely period.

The gamurra is worn with a petticoat and a camicia in 2.8oz Fabrics-Store linen. Linen in portraits is hard to interpret but some of these camicias look quite voluminous, such as the one in Ghirlandaio’s, A Young Woman. For accessories, I made two sets of: silk sleeves, belts and caps. The two-piece sleeves in dark blue taffeta use the same pattern as the velveteen gown’s. A set of red, one-piece sleeves still need to be photographed. Both sets tie with 1/4″ silk satin ribbons. Both have matching caps. The beautiful reproduction pendant from Armour and Castings is worn on a silk cord. I repurposed a long onyx necklace from my Tudor gown. There were just enough stones left over to make a matching ferronnière, the strand worn on the forehead.