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Venetian dress

Submitted by Eleanor Hall on February 21, 2012 - 7:43pm

Based on Titziano Vecellio (Titian)'s Portrait of a Lady in White, 1553, Venice

This is the start of a project blog that has been a long time coming!

About two years ago I managed to buy about 7 metres of a cream coloured silk satin from a bridal dressmaker who was selling the business, I really liked the silk as it's a very rich shade of cream and based on this I decided it needed to be made into a dress worthy of the material.

After some debate I decided on a dress based on Titziano Vecellio (Titian)'s Portrait of a Lady in White, 1553, Venice


Titziano Vecellio (Titian) (1528-1588)
Portrait of a Lady in White, 1553, Venice
Dresden, Germany

Image sourced from The Starlight Masquerade

The things that drew me to this particular image were:

  • the colour, it matched the silk I had, although I didn't start out intending to reproduce any specific dress, once I came across this image I was pretty set on it.
  • The style - I like this style and I think it is one that will suit my figure (i.e. I would not subject anyone to the image of me in a tightly fitted 14th cent outfit!)
  • the overall simplicity of the dress - the decoration is minimal but what is there is very effective.
  • I needed a pretty dress for court & dancing.

    Nicola Corset

I have spent the last wee while just collecting together materials and have previously started a corset to go with this dress. 

The corset is made from a light cream silk and interlined with heavy linen, it is boned with plastic cable ties and has a metal straight busk down the front (ok so it may have started it's life as a school ruler)  The corset is low at the bust so it does notshow under the dress and has a very deep point to fit the dress style , it also has intergral tabs for comfort.  The pattern was a blend of the Dorethea Sabina and the Elizabeth Effigy stays.  The corset was made some time ago and whilst it still fits me around the waist it doen't quite close higher up, this doesn't really affect it's functionality - I am just going to add extra eyelets to stop the bunching at the back.


The materials I am looking to use for this project are:

  • Find white linen for the chemise
  • Cream silk for the gown itself
  • Dark rose coloured silk for the lining
  • Heavy canvas for the interlining
  • Cream silk gauze for the partlet
  • Gold silk for a petticote.
  • Pearls and bits for embellishments.

Caterine is my 'Project manager' for this outfit as I am well known for being easily distracted, she is functioning in this role in exchange for a tablet woven brocade hat band that I will make her.  As well as bartering Caterine's management services  I have also bartered with Katherina who will make the lace for the sleeves (again in exchange for a hat band): I have previously aquired modern machine made pointed lace but I was never happy with it as it was clumpy and undefined.

I aim to have the gown completed by St Catherine's Faire in December this year.


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