Dress Diary: La Schiavona

In the SCA, my “persona”, Orelia Hortensa Contalini, lives in Venice around 1490 – 1510. Her mother was of Ottoman Empire descent and her family often kept ties with those to the east.

Many of the most popular sites for Italian dresses focus either on the late 1500s – we’re talking 1560-1590, or they focus too heavily on Florence. I specifically wanted to focus Orelia on Venice for my persona and that made finding great resources rather difficult. Venice’s spirit intrigues me more than Florence and the trade ties with the Ottoman Empire allows me to play with a few things on the side that interest me. I originally was thinking Persian for my persona – now, instead of having a second wardrobe – I can just pull bits and pieces into my Venetian!

Sigil is currently in the middle of making my first one for me to keep my life a little simple. We’re basing the design on the Campi paintings even though they don’t EXACTLY line up with my period: 


These paintings are closer to 1560s so I won’t be making too many of them. She put together an awesome grey dress for me to wear under my camicia I’m making (see this post). Unfortunately, I lost about 2″ around my middle in a week (between the day she made it and the event at which I needed to wear it) so she currently is in the middle of taking it in for me. Oops!

In the SCA, all members were of high-enough standing that they could become royalty or some mumbo jumbo like that. Once I receive an Award of Arms (AoA) I can also start going by “Lady” Orelia Hortensa Contalini. This means I will regularly be attending court and HELLOOoOOoOO I cannot just go to court in my sweaty linen.

Therefore, I need a court dress!

Titian’s La Schianova features a beautiful dress that I think is within the realm of possibilities for my skillset! I’ll use the pattern that Sigil made for my grey dress and modify it just a little for the neckline here.


To break this down, I’ll need:

  • A silk dress
  • A new camicia (thinner and fluffier than my current one)
  • Silk waistband
  • Snood
  • Thin gold chains
  • Whatever that thin shawl thing is

I’m starting with the dress itself. I can wear it over my existing camicias (Verena gave me one!) for events until I’m ready to finish the entire outfit.

By my calculations per Sigil and Verena I am going to need 4 yards of silk for the skirt, 1.5 yards for the bodice, and a yard per sleeve for a total of 7.5 yards of fabric. They also think that the small strip at the top is fur dyed to match which is interesting.

JUNE 2019

I’ve ordered this fabric from Dharma Trading for the body of the dress. To color it, I’m going to use Jacquard Silk Colors (Green Label) in Scarlet and Digital. I’ve seen a copy of this painting in a MUCH brighter rendering than the photo above so there’s some play in color but if the color is too off, Verena has some extra dye I can probably pop into the mix.

JULY 2019

… to come soon!


(post image source)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s