I made this outfit back in the spring of 2011, but I lost weight after the bodice was patterned so it never really fit.I just recently re-worked the gamurra so I can wear it again.
Women’s public dress in late 15th century Florence consisted of three primary layers. The first layer was a camicia, or underdress, of fine white linen, cotton, or silk; over the camicia was worn a gown (gamurra) which was cut with a fitted bodice and full skirt; the third layer was a decorative overgown, of which several types were common (Frick 162-163). I chose to make the sleeveless, tabard-like giornea.
This ensemble consists of a camicia, gamurra and giornea. This style of outfit is depicted in many Florentine fresco images of young, marriageable – or recently married – women (224).
I used the camicia pattern from Thompson (Chemise). The camicia is white linen lawn. I chose to use larger gussets than the pattern (9” square) as my bust measurement is larger than the sample. I gathered the neckline and cuff and then attached a band of the same linen.
I chose burgundy tropical weight wool for the gamurra. According to Frick, gamurra for everyday wear were constructed of cotton, linen or thin wool, while dressier gamurra were constructed of silk or fine wool (162). I chose this particular fabric because is an appropriate fiber for this garment and because it contrasts nicely with the brocade I chose for the giornea.
The bodice of the gamurra was patterned by Mistress Caterucia Bice da Ghiacceto. The bodice is lined in white linen and interlined with canvas supported with Rigilene.
While the use of Rigilene is a modern method of support, it was recommended because it is fast and easy to work with (Morin). Lacing rings are seen on some illustrations of this style, including Ghirlandaio’s painting Portrait of a Woman. I decided to use lacing rings to add a decorative element to this very simple dress.
The sleeve pattern was created by drawing the openings on to a basic sleeve block – my fiance was kind enough to assist me with drawing in the sleeve openings. It took several adjustments before we achieved the look seen in the painting. The lining was attached to the fashion fabric using whip stitch.
The skirt consists of two 60” panels which were knife pleated into the bodice. This is less full than recommended (Morin), however I underestimated how much fabric was required to construct this type of dress.
I chose the brocade fabric for the giornea because I liked the color and motif, and it fit my price range. Unfortunately the fabric is a synthetic, however I decided this was a reasonable compromise for this project.
The giornea style is based on detail from Ghirlandaio’s Visitation. To create the giornea pattern, I draped muslin over my dress form and sketched out the neck and arm holes. The giornea is bag lined with white dupioni silk, and the neckline is finished by hand using whip stitch.
Frick, Carole Collier. Dressing Renaissance Florence. Johns Hopkins University Press; Baltimore, 2002.
Morin, Kerri (Mistress Caterucia Bice da Ghiacceto). Personal communication.
Thompson, Jennifer.” How to Make an Easy Italian Chemise”. http://www.festiveattyre.com/research/chemise.html