The Italian Renaissance Costuming Competition finalists are even now being updated on the Realm of Venus website, with my own being one of the first up! My own entry can be seen here, and now that's it's over, and I have a little more time, I'm looking at it with a critical eye to think of how I could improve things for next time, though overall, I am happy with my costume. Plus, this is a nice excuse for a photo dump post :)
One of my biggest worries with this gown, especially as I was making up my own linen cardboard, so that it would wind up too stiff too be comfortable, or would chafe in all the wrong places. I have never been more delighted to be wrong. Sure, if doesn't fit in the way my regular day clothes fit, so it will take a little getting used to, but as the cardboard warms to my body, I anticipate it becoming even more comfortable. I couldn't get the lacing to come all the way closed for the photos, as the style should, so I'll have to see if another lacing strip is required, or if it will close further as the fit improves.
The hem of the veste gave me no end of trouble. I wanted to take it up enough that it wouldn't drag, as this is intended to be my "outdoors" garb, but it decided to fight back. After four different pinings I settled on a length and sewed a tuck into the skirt. This has the added advantage that when the end eventually does become too muddy to save, I can let down the tuck to form a new hem. It's just a shame I didn't remember to check and tuck the underskirt too, so that's one more sewing job I'm left with.
For the bag, I leaned heavily on the experience and details provided in this blog entry, on Bettina's pages. I adored the example she made, and would have loved to have had my bag a little more trimmed or adorned, but that's something I can work on as time goes on. As it is, the leather I choose for the bag is that of my personal device, and I'm tempted instead to decorate the bag with some embroidery pertinent to that. But we'll see how that goes.
This was my first attempt at an Italian style hat, so I shouldn't be too hard on myself. It fits, and it's unlikely to come off except in the stiffest of breezes, but it bothers me a little that the brim isn't lying as flat as it could. I think it's mostly a seam allowance issue, and I'll have to take care to cut out the brim pattern a little wider next time.
That's all I'd change though, just a few minor adjustments, so I think I've learned a lot this year about my time management, so maybe I'll get away with my ambitious ideas for next years competition...