The HSF ’14: Challenge #18: Poetry in Motion - A Venetian gown inspired by Veronica Franco

My Dangerous Beauty movie-inspired Venetian
“We danced our youth in a dreamed of city, Venice, paradise, proud and pretty, We lived for love and lust and beauty, Pleasure then our only duty. Floating them twixt heaven and Earth And drank on plenties blessed mirth We thought ourselves eternal then, Our glory sealed by God’s own pen. But paradise, we found is always frail, Against man’s fear will always fail. ” 
― Veronica Franco

Like many other costumers I fell in love with Venetian courtesan costumes when I saw the movie Dangerous Beauty about the famous courtesan and poet Veronica Franco.  Long ago I made a dress in homage to the costumes from that movie.

But I'd long wanted to make a more accurately cut version of a Venetian gown.   A while ago I'd modified Margo Anderson's  Elizabethan Lady's gown pattern to make my version of this but had gotten caught up in other projects and had never finished.  I'd loved the pink of the gown in this painting of Franco and when I found some pink damask in a similar color I snatched it up.

Veronica Franco

So with two foot surgeries looming on the horizon I got things as ready as I could and settled in to try and finish the hand sewing parts of the gown during my recuperation.

I only had a few yards and barely managed to squeak the bodice, skirt and sleeves out of it.  I have no idea if it's accurate but I made the skirt like an 18th C petticoat with the front part tying to the back and the back sewn to the bodice.

I've only managed to get the gown finished for the challenge - the sleeves, partlet and camica are still works in progress, I hope I can finish some of them while I recover and will post more pics of the whole ensemble then.

The Challenge: #18 Poetry in Motion - A Pink Venetian Gown Inspired by Veronica Franco's poem to Venice (at the top of the post) 

(Please ignore the blue lacing ribbon, it was all I had in the stash!  Also I'm a LOT squishier than my dress form so this fits me a lot better than it fits her.  ;)

Fabric: Cotton Damask lined with linen
Pattern: Modified version of Margo Anderson's Elizabethan Lady's Pattern  
Year: Mid 1500s
Notions: gold trim, cotton interlining, thread, metal and plastic boning, glass peals, tapes for ladder lacing a la Jen Thompson.
How historically accurate is it? Fairly accurate in silhouette but there is a fair amount of machine sewing and modern trim and boning.
Hours to complete:  Hard to say since this is a UFO, sorry!
First worn: I plan on wearing it to several of the SoCAL Renaissance Fairs once my feet heal
Total cost: The fabric was a bolt end I got on sale as were the lining and trims but all were purchased long ago so I don't remember, sorry!  I've been trying hard to work from my rather large stash which means a lot of prices of things have been lost in time.


  1. I love, love, love this color! You will look like a Goddess.

  2. I love the little pearls in the gold trim!


Post a Comment