Tag Archives: Red Shot Taffeta Sottana

My Facebook Albums Made Public

Hello out there! I am very, very bad at keeping this blog up to date, especially when it comes to posting construction details after the fact. However, I have just made all of my Facebook albums public so anyone can view them.

I also sorted through my sottane photos, and realized I have only made 8 sottane, including the Golden Seamstress group project. Wow, it feels like so many more.

Here are the albums of my sottane, in order of construction:

#1 Orange Linen Sottana
#2 Red Shot Sottana
#3 Orange Silk Sottana
#4 Yellow & Black Sottana
#5 Teal Sottana
#6 Cheryl’s Red Sottana
#7 Golden Seamstress Sottana
#8 Pink Cottom Sottana

Other noteworthy albums include:

Construction Techniques

Apprenticeship Ceremony

On January 25th, 2014, at Market Day at Birka in Manchester, NH, I became apprenticed to Mistress Vienna de la Mer. Below are pictures of the event, taken by Cateline la Broderesse.

The Shot Taffetta Sottana – FINISHED!!!

It’s done! Well, mostly. I finished the shot taffeta sottana to the point of wearable for East Kingdom’s 12th Night event. It looked great and I received many compliments, but my Laurel has not seen it in action yet, so I will be wearing it at Birka, a big event at the end of the month, where we will formally enter an apprenticeship-Laurel relationship. By then, I have to finish one sleeve cap, which I worked on last night and is nearly finished, and sew another row of velvet ribbon to the hem. The trim is all hand sewn (the gown uses some machine sewing, where it is hidden from sight), and I was only able to sew down one ribbon of 6 yards, by hand, in time for 12th Night.

This dress will also be entered into our King and Queen’s Arts & Sciences competition in February. I will post my documentation following the event, as well as the results of my entry.

original sleeve trim

The original plan for the sleeve trim… I ended up doing only three lines, because the 5 would have looked weird on the underside.

finish sleeve

One finished sleeve & sleeve cap

unhemmed gown

Unhemmed gown without the bottom trim

finished gown

Finished gown at 12th Night

12th night gown

Gown at 12th Night

gown back

And a nice shot of the cartridge pleating in the back

You may also notice in the above photos that I am wearing the whiteworked partlet that I started over a year ago. It is unfinished, but I hope to complete that, also, by K&Q A&S.

Florentine Partlet

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I decided to make a new partlet with the handkerchief weight linen I purchased recently. This was my second foray into using this fabric, the first being a little handkerchief. Searching for inspiration, I found a portrait of a Florentine Noblewoman located at the San Diego Muesum of Art. The style was perfect for the pattern I have, Margo Anderson’s free partlet pattern, and I wanted to try out the whitework embroidery.

Florentine Noblewoman

Florentine Noblewoman

I handstitched the partlet, using polyester thread (oh my!) because that’s all I owned. I have since remedied the thread situation for my next project. I followed the instructions of this GREAT tutorial on sewing a rolled hem and successfully hemmed the edges of the partlet. I then used a french seam for the shoulder seam, gathered the ruffle and put the collar together, all according to Margo’s instructions. My first trial showed that the partlet did not sit open as in the above portrait, so I cut off an inch from the front opening and re-hemmed those sides. A slight adjustment to the shoulder seam angle and I had the look I wanted.

I reached out to my teacher, Vienna de la Mer, for help with the embroidery pattern. She drafted a simple pattern similar to the inspiration portrait for my first embroidery project. For the past two days, I have been hard at work on the embroidery and have completed almost TWO lines of the many, many lines required.

Shot Taffeta Sottana, update

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My new sottana is well on it’s way. The bodice is complete, the skirt is complete and it is currently partially attached. I’ve started the trim, but I have a long way to go there. I compromised and used the machine for much of this dress, with an attempt to hide all machine stitching. Several parts of the bodice had to be finished by hand because of the curves and corners, etc, but it looks good and I don’t *think* it looks overtly machine sewn.


I had to piece a small insertion into the shoulder strap as it was sitting a touch too high overall, then I moved on to the skirt.

Cartridge pleated back

Cartridge pleated back

Pleats stitched to bodice

Pleats stitched to bodice

Exterior view of pleats

Exterior view of pleats


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In my idle viewing of other crafter’s awesomeness, I decided it was time to make my zibellino. I bought two weasel furs off of etsy for $20, used some sculpey I had on hand and a bunch of crystals and voila!

In order to shape the head, I wrapped plastic wrap around the head of the weasel, then tightly wrapped a layer or two of masking tape. I then added sculpey clay directly over the :mask” and molded the basic shape. A cooking in the oven hardened the clay (and melted the plastic wrap). I then pulled the masking tape and melted plastic out of the sculpey shell. At this point, I had a head that fits over the head of my weasel and a base to shape and design the head with. I added more sculpey and added some features, including the bridge of the snout and the ears. I picked up a bunch of swarovski crystals and beads and bejeweled the heck out of the head using Quickhold craft glue.The head is glued permanently in place on the fur.

Shot Taffeta Sottana

I am beginning the planning for my second sottana. I received feedback on my orange sottana to go for more luxury feeling fabrics if I want more upper class garments. Another judge recommended making another sottana to improve on the techniques learned with the orange sottana. Lastly, someone mentioned that it’s easier to get a feel for how close my dress is with a specific inspiration picture. So, I think I’m going to go with the below picture by Cristofano dell’Altissimo. The second picture from Giovanni Battista shows a shot silk similar to the one I have on hand and will be using for this sottana, however, the portrait is not Florentine so I will not be using it for the primary inspiration, rather as evidence of two tone fabric.

Clarice Ridolfi Altoviti

1500s Cristofano dell’Altissimo – Clarice Ridolfi Altovit (Moda)

Giovanni Batista Moroni Lady in Red

1557-1560 Giovanni Batista Moroni – Lady in Red

UPDATE: The inspiration picture was later changed to Agnolo Bronzino’s Portrait of a Lady (1550), because I liked the velvet ribbon against the taffeta!

1550 Lady Bronzino

Agnolo Bronzino, Portrait of a Lady, 1550