I'm not even gonna lie, I adore the costumes from the Showtime series, The Borgias. Sure, they aren't super historically accurate, but the colors, fabrics, silhouettes, and hairstyles are so gorgeous that I couldn't help myself- this is where the inspiration started to convince me that I wanted one of these gowns. I started researching 1490s Italian clothing before I planned any outfit, as I knew the Borgias wasn't getting it quite right, and I didn't want to do the style incorrectly. This is not an area of fashion that I was already well-versed in. Here were some of my images I gathered for documentation:
Domenico Ghirlandaio. Announcement of Death to St Fina (detail), The Stories of St Fina at San Gimignano 1473-75.
Vittore Carpaccio, St.Ursula taking leave of her father, c.1500.
The Betrothal, Unknown Artist, 1490.
Francesco del Cossa, The Triumph of Minerva, March, from the Room of the Months, detail of the weavers, c.1467-70.
Vittore Carpaccio, Meeting of the Betrothed Couple (detail) Venice, 1495.
Young Lady by Sandro Botticelli, 1483-85.
Layers required included: a camicia (Italian term for "chemise" or "smock", the underwear layer), a gamurra (supportive underdress, like a kirtle), matching sleeves, and eventually a cioppa (overgown). I have completed and worn the camicia and gamurra, but the cioppa is going to have to wait until I wear the outfit again- I already have the fabrics and pattern ready to go.
For the camicia, I had yardage of an off-white linen with gold pinstripes that I purchased from Pastiche at Uprising a couple years ago. I already had a plain white camicia, but it is so voluminous and boring that I decided to make another one. This pattern of undergarment would also be appropriate for other European fashions of the late 15th century, and I plan to wear it with other styles, which is why there is a good amount of fabric in the body and sleeves but not a huge amount like most camicias you see. Also, I just don't like having all that fabric bunching around my torso and arms. This camicia is two body rectangles and two sleeve rectangles, gathered to a neckband and into cuffs.
The gamurra is made from a really neat silk dupioni (almost slubless) that is sapphire blue shot with orange, producing this gorgeous pinky-purple mauve. It was tough to thread match and find ribbon to match for lacing! It is completely lined with light gold silk, giving it a nice weight and swishy-ness.
The bodice is interlined with cotton duck cloth for strength, and has a few thin zip ties across the front to keep it from wrinkling. I first tried it with no boning to be more historically correct, but the small wrinkle under my bust drove me crazy and I had to bone it just a little. It is very supportive (and was without the boning, but I hated the wrinkle) and gives a soft, rounded bust shape that I hadn't achieved yet as most of my later period styles are very rigid. I have read other costumer's research that talks about cording the bodice, but I was too far along in the construction process to cord the entire thing- it was enough of a nightmare to add four zip ties!
Here are some more pictures of the gamurra being worn at 50 Year. I just used a black silk and tasseled girdle I already had, threaded through a metal buckle for decoration.