To Make a Yellow Gamurra

My yellow gamurra began life in 2008 as nine metres of ‘shell pink’ linen, linen so light a pink that it was almost but not quite white.

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I ripped the fabric in half (into two 4.5 metre pieces) and dyed half of it yellow with fibre reactive dyes.

I chose yellow because yellows, oranges and browns were (and still are) the most underused colours in re-enactment where I live, blue and red being the most overused. Also I have always loved yellows and oranges.

My first problem was that I didn’t have enough salt (my dad had used it for the pool- which is what it was bought for so I couldn’t really complain) but I figured to just go ahead anyway, and expected I might need to overdye, but I had plenty of dye.

Salt, according to the lady I bought the dye from is not used to ‘fix’ the colour, but to open up the fibres of the fabric and help the dye penetrate.

After soaking the linen in the dye and not-enough salt I added the soada ash which turned the dye bath bright red.

Then followed two hours of poking and prodding to keep the fabric moving, and the dye bath turning from red through to orange to yellow.

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I was worried that the colour would come out too light, I’d dyed silk before but never linen.  I thought I would be left with a pale lemon yellow, but this is what I hung out on the line, so I was thrilled.

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To date (which right now is nine years later), this dress is just as bright as it was when I first dyed it and I’ve never had an issue with the dye rubbing off onto my white camicia—which is more than can be said for some commercially dyed fabric.

Here is where things get a bit more interesting.  By now I had remembered that I had forgotten to dye some thread to sew the thing with. I had already dyed silk for a dress and hadn’t been able to get matching thread, so I swore nextime I would dye the thread with the fabric.

Sooo, back to my sewing box I went.  It turns out I had silk and linen thread not only the same colour, but the same shade as my fabric.  The linen was almost perfect but the silk matched sooo perfectly it wasn’t funny.  Now, it turns out I bought this silk (and linen) thread from the same lady that sold me the dye, so it would have been dyed with the same dye, but accounting for so many variations it was incredible luck it matched so completely.

Below is a photo of the sewn bodice back, you can see the stitches along the edg of the seam are a perfect match.

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I altered my bodice pattern, the version I altered is the pattern I used for my pink V-necked cioppa. I chose that pattern over the brown gamurra bodice as my brown gamurra had armholes that cut in and I was re-shaping the front to give it a bit more shape anyway—I had lost weight and wanted something that emphasised my curves. I’d also be changing the neckline anyway.

I actually made a mock-up for this bodice, which is something you should always do but if you’re me you don’t do enough.
Here are the photos of my mock-up.

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Keep in mind the neckline isn’t hemmed and there are no skirts pulling it down. I made the bodice longer than I wanted (apparently even longer in the back) as I wanted to work out the length on the finished bodice.

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One change I did make from the mock-up is that I took it in a tad at the top of the back seam.  It was gaping a tad too much.

I made the mock-up with the layers I was planning to use on my finished bodice (except calico for the outer layer rather than linen).  The layers were meant to be yellow linen (outer) cotton canvas (interlining) and calico (lining).  I had never used cotton canvas on a gamurra before, but had on my cioppa.

I wanted to use it because this bodice will be closed fully, which meant that the lacing rings would be sewn a bit back from the edge (where you would place eyelets), and the linen was quite light weight.  I wanted the extra strength to anchor the lacing rings to in order to stop pulling and any possible damaging of the linen.

I also wanted to try out a heavier weight bodice.  It would also mean I could have less of a turn back along the front opening than I usually would, because I didn’t need the turnback thickness to anchor the lacing rings on.
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So I sat down and in one day I made the final alterations to the bodice, cut out and hand sewed the whole thing.  I made the bodice by hemming all the pieces first and whip stitching them together. When I hem the pieces I stack all the layers together and tread it like a single layer (but I usually cut the lining to the finished sixe so I am only hemming over the fashion fabric.

 

But…. I completely forgot the cotton canvas layer. Like, I got the fabric out with the calico and linen, but completely forgot to cut it out at all. OOOPS.  Also, I got carried away and hemmed the neckline, which meant if I wanted to lower it I needed to un-hem it and cut it and re-hem it.

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I spent a few days wondering what to do. I had nothing against a light weight bodice (I live in a hot climate), but I did want to try a heavier one for this dress.  I’ve never had any problems with lacing rings pulling in the past, but this fabric is a looser weave than any other dress where I’ve put the rings back from the edge.  While one front edge was sewn perfectly, the other wasn’t quite the smooth curve I wanted.  I was facing the possibility of having to redo the front neckline anyway.

I sat and thought about my choices. They ranged from leaving it as is and seeing how it turned out, to sewing handmade eyelets (that got knocked off the list pretty quick!) to completely re-doing it.

The advice I got was mostly along the lines of “why are you asking? Why dither? You know what you have to do and will regret it if you don’t.”—put in a nice and supportive way. So I started unpicking. Once I started unpicking it, however, I found the yellow panels seemed to have warped differently to the calico lining. It took me a whole evening just to pin the front panels flat with their linings after they were unpicked. I got around this with the back panels by pinning them to a cushion and peeling off the lining as I removed and replaced the pins and repeating once I had the interlining to add back in.

I believe it was at this stage the bodice got the nickname ‘the evil bodice of doom’

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Anyway, I sewed the bodice together and most of the lacing rings (from the top down) and I had my mother mark the waist line, and I had a bit of a problem with the lacing rings at the bottom.

Here are the bodice try-on pics.

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Please note the waist of the bodice is straight, I and the photo are not.

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The top lacing ring isn’t sewn on in the pics, which is why the front is jutting out like that at the top (that and I haven’t finished the neckline) so here is me holding it together up the top.

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It curves in once the top is held together (not quite the right shape as I am also pushing in a bit too hard to get a grip, but you get the idea)

At this stage I gave my bodice a break and worked on the skirt.

I used what has become my standard skirt pattern for renaissance dresses for the skirt.

My Z measurement was 29cm.

I pinned a string line to give me a guide for my ruler to draw the diagonal line.

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I always remeasure and mark on each panel rather than using one cut piece as a pattern as I find the bias edge starts to stretch as soon as it is cut and that causes issues. I know this because I tried to use my first cut piece as a pattern piece on this skirt and it ended up more work, so I went back to my method of marking each panel.

I joined the skirt by hemming the pieces and whip stitching them together. This method ensures that by the time your garment is wearable the edges are finished.  By the time I had hemmed the panels (except for the actual hem of the skirt—that has to be done after construction) I estimated that I was 10 hours into the skirt including measuring and cutting

Here is my skirt sewn together

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I decided not to cut the hem not by eye but by measurement. I extended the trapezoid shapes to make a triangle and set up a string line to act like a compass from its point. This took a long time as I had to make the skirt seams straight and make sure nothing was distorted.

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It didn’t work. Like, it didn’t work at all. Don’t do this. It’s not worth the bother.

So then I tried my usual method of pinning and stringing. I mentioned my my diary at the time how much I hated it and commented “Now don’t get me wrong, it works, it just involves sticking HEAPS of pins into the carpet then having to put them all away again.” I don’t mind this method so much now!
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Basically I put a pin at either side then stretch string between them then pin the string into a curve. I don’t Pin THROUGH the string, I pin above it which pushes the string down into the curve.  If the string doesn’t touch all pins, then a pin is in the wrong place.  As I said, it does work, it just needs a lot of pins.

Then I had the idea of bending my metal ruler to see if I could get a curve, it worked, but I needed two hands and one foot to do it so I couldn’t get any photos

Finally it was all cut 😀
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I don’t know why I tried to go to such pains to get a good curve, I cut the curve of my light blue gamurra hem by eye and it was pretty much perfect.

To finish the dress I hemmed the skirt, finished off the lacing rings on the bodice neckline, pleated the skirt and whip stitched the skirt to the bodice edge.

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I had a bit of fabric left over at the waist of the skirt so I decided to make a placard that pinned close.

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Click here to go back to the finished gamurre page.

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Fazzoletto

This item, known better by it’s English name partlet among many costumers, is what a modern person might refer to as a ‘dickie’. Among the lower classes it would likely have been linen (or possibly wool) and worn for practical purposes.

The story goes that the upper classes often wore them in response to sumptuary laws that determined their necklines must not be below a certain level. With a fazzoletto they could have their gamurra neckline as low as they liked and used a sheer silk fazzoletto to bring their neckline in line with the rules while flaunting them at the same time.

You can see the fazzoletto worn either under the gamurra or over it in period art but you might need to look close– sometimes they are hard to spot.

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This detail from Domenico Ghirlandaio’s 1475-1477 Annunciation of the Death of St. Fina shows lower class women wearing a simple cut of opaque fabric.

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Leonardo Da Vinci’s Portrait of Ginevra Benci dated 1474 shows the fazzoletto worn tucked into the bodice.

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This portrait by Ghirlandaio suggests that if the fazzoletto was worn over the gamurra bodice it was worn under the outer garment.

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Domenico Ghirlandaio’s  Portraitdated 1485 shows the fazzoletto was sometimes held closed with a pin or button.

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Agnolo e Donnino del Mazziere’s Portrait of a Young Woman shows a very sheer fazzoletto over the bodice of the gamura.

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Domenico Ghirlandaio’s  Portrait of a Lady dated to 1490 also shows a sheer fazzoletto over the bodice.

 

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Sebastiano Mainardi’s  Portrait of a Woman also dated 1490 shows a thicker, but still sheer fazzoletto edged with a decorative stitch.

My pattern is below:

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It’s not a pattern you can print and use, but hopefully it will help with the general shape.

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I have only made one fazzoletto which I made in silk, and hemmed it with silk thread using a decorative stitch.

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To Make a Red Gamurra

You can read the full write up about this dress in The Fifth Annual Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge.

I usually make my gamurre bodices by cutting out the lining the finished size, the fashion fabric including the hem allowance, hemming the pieces and whip stitching them together. For my red gamurra I tried something a little different in response to reading about quilted bodices and also having a VERY fine red wool for the dress.

I cut my white linen including seam allowance, then brown linen and red wool without seam allowance. Finally another layer of red wool with seam allowance. The white, brown and first red layer I quilted with tinny running stitches. Then I basted the final red wool layer over the top.

Then treating all layers as one I sewed together with a small running stitch, ironed seams to one side and sewed down.

Here is the pattern I used for the bodice. I’ve been using the same pattern over and over since I had a friend draft me a Flemish pattern as a teenager and I’ve just altered it over and over again.

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In the picture below a quilted front piece (left) is ready to have the fashion layer (right) basted to it. You can see how fine the red fabric is in this photo and just make out all the layers.

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And a closer up picture of the quilting

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And an inside view of the quilting

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Here are the back pieces finished (but not sewn together) you can see how sheer the fabric is and why I wanted to have a layer of red wool under the red wool.

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Here is the bodice at a try-on able stage.

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and the inside for posterity. My stitching is nothing to write home about, but it does the job.

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Here are photos of me doing the final fitting the bodice and ‘hemming’ the skirt. As you can read in how I cut and sew my skirts I hem them first, but this skirt did need balancing from the waist—I lengthened the bodice dramatically so I had to make sure I pinned the skirt at the waist so it hit the ground straight. Because I am not straight up and down this means my bodice waist seam isn’t straight when I have a lower waist. This isn’t such an issue with a higher waist.

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The brown hanging down was the left over linen that I used to reinforce the skirt top, I have since cut that off.

Click here to go back to the finished gamurre page.

How I Construct my Gamurre Skirts

Over the years I have tweaked something each time I’ve made a gamurra, but one thing that hasn’t changed is my basic skirt construction.

We don’t have archaeological examples to go by so I follow what looks right, archaeological evidence from other times/eras and thinking about what would have worked for their fabric widths and ‘wast not want not’.

I tend to use this with wide fabric, as I don’t bother cutting my fabric narrower, but it works for narrower, you just need more panels.

Firstly I think about if I want single or double pleats. Then I look at how many ‘drops’ I have for my skirt. Then I work out ‘Z’. Z is the measurement of my bodice waist, multiplied by 3 (or 5 for double pleats) divided by twice as many ‘drops’ as I have for the skirt. I then cut each skirt drop as per the below diagram.

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It is important that ‘Z’ is smaller than the side market ‘hem’. If it is not then the skirt won’t flow. I had this problem only once and my solution was to switch from double pleats to single pleats.

You may notice I don’t add any seam allowance. I include hemming allowance in working how long to cut each drop (120cm for me) but when I hem the top of the skirt (the side at the bodice edge) it makes the length of this edge longer and it all just works out.

I cut my panels into the trapezoid shape, I usually use string and a ruller as a guide.

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I then sew them straight edge to slanted

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I mark the hem with string and pins (I pin straight into the carpet to anchor my pins).

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I then cut the hem straight. Sometimes I cut by eye without marking first. The skirt is now ready to hem.

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You will notice I don’t allow my skirts to hang. Using the selvage edge on every seam, even though it’s just one edge per seam, I think helps. It means I can hem my own dresses and have a look at the below image—my hem is very even.

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Giornea

A lady would not go out in just her gamurra and there were many options of over dress for her to wear. A gironea is one of these options and was very popular in florence. They’re also very simply to make and can be made with very little fabric. You can read about one way to construct them here. You can also see the glossary page here.

1486-90 Domenico Ghirlandaio Birth of St John the Baptist detail

They were sleeveless, open down the sides and could be open down the front, which allowed the gamurra to show through. When made of lightweight fabric this made them cool in the warmer weather though young ladies especially would line them with fur to wear in the cooler weather. Sometimes these linings were removable, making the gironea suitable for both summer and winter wear.

My burgundy gamurra is made of cotton velveteen and lined in gold silk.

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My blue gamurra is inspired by this image

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It is sewn up the front and left open at the sides.

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My yellow “Giovanna Tornabuoni” giornea is made of reproduction silk and lined in cotton velveteen. It is open up the front seam. I drafted a new pattern for this giornea and I prefer the way it hangs.

Yellow Giornea from Cathelina’s wardrobe based on the paintings of Giovanna Tornabuoni.

Yellow Giornea from Cathelina’s wardrobe based on the paintings of Giovanna Tornabuoni.

Yellow Giornea from Cathelina’s wardrobe based on the paintings of Giovanna Tornabuoni.

Yellow Giornea from Cathelina’s wardrobe based on the paintings of Giovanna Tornabuoni.

Yellow Giornea from Cathelina’s wardrobe based on the paintings of Giovanna Tornabuoni.

Yellow Giornea from Cathelina’s wardrobe based on the paintings of Giovanna Tornabuoni.

This Giornea was based on the following paintings.

1485-1590 Domenico Ghirlandaio Visitation detail

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Constructing a Giornea

A giornea is one of the simplest items in my 15th century wardrobe to construct and can be made with as little as 3 metres of fashion fabric (less if you are short!). After completing a basic wardrobe of under layers a couple of giorneas were on the top of my ‘to make’ list before my first living history show for just these reasons.

If you haven’t already, you can see the ones I’ve made here.

They’re a great way to use that expensive fabric you might not be able to afford otherwise. They’re also like a blank canvas and I intend on decorating mine one day with embroidery and/or trim. Gold work, brocade trim, velvet cut into trim, dagging, beadwork… there’s just so many options!

I have drafted two giornea patterns but have only made the first, which requires the least amount of fabric. I hope to make up the second pattern this year and have my eye on some scrummy (and expensive!) fabric for it. Lets just say gold silk brocade and leave it at that.

The first pattern can be used for any fabric even if it has a right and wrong side or a pattern. The downside is if you use it for a one-sided fabric with a pattern that has a direction to it then the pattern will be upside down on your back (or front if you so choose).

The pattern allows for a very slight train but if you want a significant train you’ll either need to waste a bit of fabric (in which case you’d be better off using my second pattern) or use a fabric which doesn’t have a noticeable right and wrong side. I’ll include instructions for a train at the end.

Please understand there are many ways to make a giornea and this represents only a way, not the way or even the best way. I’ve used this pattern on fabric around 112 cm wide.

To work out how much fabric you need measure from your shoulder to the ground, add a couple of inches and multiply by two.

You will also need to find a measurement we’ll call x. Find the point at the top back of your shoulder where you wish for the outer edge of your giornea to sit and measure from there to your centre back. You might need a friend to help you. This measurement will be x.

The pattern is below:

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Your selvages are down the left and right sides and the arrows point in the direction of any pattern/nap to the fabric.

The black lines show your cutting lines. The horizontal line is halfway down the fabric.  essentially you cut the fabric into two rectangles. With the first rectangle measure in from the top left a distance of x and from the bottom right a distance of x. Draw a straight line between the two and cut. With the second rectangle you do the opposite, measure in from the top right the distance from x and from the bottom left. This is very important not to cut them both the same way, if you don’t cut them as mirror images then you will get two right sides or left sides only of your garment!

If you are flatlining/interlining your fabric (which is a good idea if it’s a light weight fabric) then you’ll need to cut your lining the same size, tack or pin the lining to the fabric and treat them as one. Now you’ll arrange your pieces as follows below:

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you’ll be sewing the short seams together to form shoulders and the straight back seam(between the yellow and blue pieces) together. You can sew the straight front seam for a closed front giornea or leave it open. You’ll also need to mark a neckline which should be a ‘V’ shape front and back. I like to pin my pieces together, mark the neckline and then sew them. I like to mark my hemlines flat on the ground by drawing a smooth curve but if you have a helper you can have them pin your hem if you like.

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As the inside of this garment is usually visible, especially in the back, I recommend lining it using your prefered method which will hide the seams.

When you wear this you can sit the shoulder seems just to the back of your shoulder and belt the front. This will create a very slight train (more of a bit of a trail) at the back.

If you want a more substantial train then you have three choices.

Option one, for a fabric with a right and wrong side: work out how long you want the train to be, multiply that by two and add that to your starting length of fabric. This will add a train to the front AND back so you’ll need to cut it shorter in the front. Hopefully you can use the waste to make pouches or sleeves or something.

Option two, for a fabric without a right and wrong side: work out the length you want the train and add this WITHOUT multiplying it by two and add this to the initial length of fabric. When you cut your two rectangles one (lets say the blue/green rectangle in the first diagram) will be the shoulder to floor measurement and the other (red/yellow rectangle) will be the shoulder to floor plus train measurement. You will use the red/yellow pieces to form the back pieces and the blue/green to form the front. This means half of your dress will have the other side of the fabric showing so make SURE there isn’t a right or wrong side.

Option three is to come back when I’ve uploaded my other pattern. 🙂

As I said, this is a very basic pattern. A great alteration is to get a bit of extra fabric and put a gore in the centre back to add fullness. You can also put two half (or even full gores!) in the centre front.

If you have a very wide and/or stiff fabric that doesn’t drape well you may find this pattern is too wide across the back, especially if you are slender. If this is the case then cut down the top of the giornea at the sides a bit.

Cioppa

A lady would not go out in just her gamurra and there were many options of over dress for her to wear. A cioppa is one of these options. You can see the glossary page for Cioppa here.  There were many variations of this kind of dress but in general they had sleeves and were often open down the front.

Andre Parigi (Florence 1395-1475), San giorgio e il drago, 1435

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1485 Resurrection of the Boy

This cioppa is made of  wool silk blend and lined in linen. It is trimmed in rabbit fur salved from a 1960s fur coat.

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The sleeves are a little larger than was fashionable in 1480 but were a popular style 10 or 20 years earlier.

My pink wool cioppa has a fitted bodice and a skirt that has been pleated into the waist.

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It is open down the front and the sleeves are sewn in on the top but left open under the arm to give greater arm movement without excess fabric under the arms.

My blue and gold cioppa is made out of a brocade and lined in blue cotton velveteen

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It has a long train and gold work embroidery and pearls on the cuff.

I wish I had a nicer photo of this dress but it isn’t practical for the encampment so I don’t have many photo opportunities for this dress.

My green and gold cioppa is made from silk lined in cotton velveteen.

Green and Gold silk Milanese Cioppa from Cathelina's wardrobe.

It is based on imagery from Milan and has hanging sleeves slit in the front so I can put my arms through the split, thus showing off two pairs of sleeves at once. I can also tie the sleeves closed and wear my arms through the sleeves. The sleeves I am wearing under this dress are made from gold herringbone silk and I plan on making a cotta from the same fabric.

“The Marriage of Gioacchino and Anna” Milan, 1476, the Royal Library, Turin.

Gamurre

A gamurra is the layer worn over the camicia and were suitable for very informal situations such as wearing around your own home when you weren’t receiving visitors.

Gamurre were very tightly fitted and laced up the front. Occasionally you see side lacing which would be very beneficial for pregnancy. Sleeves could be sewn on or attached with pins or lacing ties.

Read about how I cut and sew my gamurre skirts here.

My blue gamurra was the first I made

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I based my brown gamurra on this portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci by Leonardo da Vinci

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The skirt panels on this dress are rectangles and it is double box pleated.

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My yellow gamurra has a slightly lower neckline and higher waist and was inspired by some of the Venetian styles. You can read about the construction here.

1470 The Meeting of Jephthah and his Daughter BENVENUTO DI GIOVANNI

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My fabric was a very pale pink so I dyed it in the bath with some fibre reactive dyes. It turned out a beautiful yellow.

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The finished dress.

My orange gamurra has been nicknamed the jaffa dress as it is lined in brown linen. If you’re not familiar with it, a jaffa is a lolly that has a chocolate centre and is coated in an orange candy coating. You can read about the construction of the jaffa dress here.

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This has a higher neck and a lower waistline than my yellow gamurra.

My red gamurra is made out of a beautiful, light-weight wool.

You can read about its construction here.

Red Wool Gamurra from Cathelina's Wardrobe

Red Wool Gamurra from Cathelina’s Wardrobe

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Maniche

Many garments had attached sleeves as you find in clothing today, but there was also the option to have detachable sleeves that were tied, pinned or sewn into onto the dress when it was to be worn.

Different types of sleeves. Part of the research from Cathelina di Alessandri's reproduction 1480 wardrobe

I have many types of seeves. Some are more practical, some are more pretty.  Sleeves are a fantastic accessory. A pair of decorative sleeves can really enrich an oufit with a small outlay in time and cost. A simple pair can keep your arms warm while providing enough movement to do common tasks around the campfire.

My blue sleeves pin on at the shoulder.

1486-90 Domenico Ghirlandaio Birth of St John the Baptist detail Sleeve detail from a gamurra in Cathelina di Alessandri's 1480 wardrobe

The seam on the lower arm is only sewn every few inches, allowing the camicia to show through.

My pink sleeves are sewn on at the top of the sleeves. This leaves the underarm open allowing greater movement with a fitted sleeve.

Sleeve detail from a cioppa in Cathelina di Alessandri's 1480 wardrobe post 1480 Portrait of a Young Woman BOTTICELLI, Sandro

My blue sleeves are very fitted. They are made in two parts and sewn together on the inside elbow which helps aid arm movement. The embroidery on the cuff is done in silk thread.

1488 ghirlandaio_tornabuoni Sleeve detail from a gamurra in Cathelina di Alessandri's 1480 wardrobe

Because these sleeves are so fitted I will often wear them on cold days as I can fit them underneath the seeves of my warm woolen gowns.
They tie on at the shoulder with single loop bows.

1495 depredis  Sleeve detail from a gamurra in Cathelina di Alessandri's 1480 wardrobe. Fingerlooped silk ties in a single loop bow.

My burgundy sleeves are decorated with gold silk thread and amber beads.

Embroidery detail on sleeves Cathelina di Alessandri's 1480 wardrobe

My green sleeves are are fuller in the sleeve cap and the fullness is taken up with cartridge pleates giving a nice shape to the upper arm.

1465 Portrait of a Young Woman Sleeve detail from a gamurra in Cathelina di Alessandri's 1480 wardrobe

The cuffs are decorated in goldwork embroidery.

Camicia

A camicia is the undermost layer a lady would have worn. They were usually made out of linen and were designed to be comfotable against the body as well as absorbing sweat and oils from the body to keep the outer garments clean.

As it is underwear, it can be tricky to find images of the camicia but there are some.

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The first picture is a detail from  the Allegory of April (1476-84) by  Francesco del Cossa and the next two are details from The Vintage and Drunkenness of Noah (1469-1484) by Benozzo Gozzoli.

 

I developed the pattern from that used in “Nockert Type 1” kirtles, with the exception of leaving out the front and back gores as I don’t need the fullness. In absence of an extant camica matching what I see in portraits with archaeological finds of items found prior to my time period is as close as I can get. This pattern is easily cut in a way to minimise waste of cloth.

I choose this simpler style of Camica as the gathered and pleated ones start appearing in portraits of the nobility in the late 1480s when we see them peeking out of sleeves and bodice fronts.  The simpler one is more versatile as I can wear it for a variety of classes and locations from 1460-1480.

 Camicia from Cathelina di Alessandri's 1480 wardrobe

My camica is made from linen. I’ve hemmed the edges then whipstitched them together.

This is a method I learned from Archaeological Sewing.

Detail of interior stitching on th camicia from Cathelina di Alessandri's 1480 wardrobe

This finishes off the raw edges nicely but also makes a very firm seam. If I ever need to replace a piece (such as the underarm gussets) then I can remove that piece and insert a new one without having to unpick anything else.

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