Tuesday, January 10, 2012
The cut of my camicia is based on an extant piece held in the Victoria and Albert Museum in the UK. I based my pattern off Dorothy Burnham's examination of it in her book Cut My Cote with additional information provided by Annabelle Wake in her article "How to Sew a Venetian Camicia" I also consulted Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 4 where several Italian camicias are discussed. Because I am quite a bit taller and larger than women in 16th century Italy I chose to be much more generous with my widths of fabric, rather than following Ms. Wake or Ms. Burnaham's recommendations.
As my last camicia was a rather fancy one with a lot of lace inserts, I made this one very plain. It is also in keeping with the portrait I chose to base my ensemble on. The portrait has a plain camicia with integral pleated ruffle at the neck and cuffs. I followed the instructions at Realm of Venus for a gather pleated neckline, pleating and then backstitching over the pleats. In period fine linen would have been used. I also used a lightweight white linen fabric, but it is not of the fineness of linen in period as modern commercial linen does not approach the thread count of fabrics from the 16th century. Assembly was a combination of machine and hand work. I finished each panel and the gussets with machine hems, but did the insertion stitches to connect them by hand and hand pleated the neck and cuffs. After wearing it once I decided that the backstitch I did over the pleats to secure them needed extra reinforcement and did a decorative machine stitch over the top of the pleating.