Curves: Renaissance

There are certain periods of history to which I am naturally attracted and then there are certain periods to which I couldn’t care less about. I find the Renaissance is not an era which I naturally am interested in, but there is a RenFaire (I’m not sure how to spell that, actually…) around here every year and though I haven’t yet gone to the Faire (apparently the added “e” is required) it got me thinking about Renaissance costume.



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Now, I admit I don’t know much about Renaissance clothing, but it’s a very interesting time because the first costume books were published in the late Renaissance- the second half of the sixteenth century to be precise. The most famous of these books was by Vecellio who described not just the fashionable clothing of Venice (where he was from and where the book was printed), but also all over Europe and the world.The book was titled Degli habiti antichi et moderni di viverse parti del mondo or in English “The clothing, ancient and modern, of various parts of the world” and it has just recently come out in full translation by Thames and Hudson. Unfortunately, the copy my library has was checked out, so I had to make do with John Peacocks The Chronicle of Western Costume which, though I have heard many complaints about it and I do have a few of my own, is an excellent general source. Both of these dresses come from Venice in the late 1400’s. The hair is my own attempt at a simple head-dress and the SCA reference is a nod to the highly likely lack of actual historical accuracy.

Any organization which calls themselves the Society of Creative Anachronism does not take itself too seriously and neither do my paper dolls.


  1. It stands for the Society of Creative Anachronism which is an organization that puts on RenFaires (still not sure of the spelling on that one…) along with some other stuff. I have a few friends who are active members and they suggested sticking it on her tank top, so I did.

  2. The SCA and Ren Faires are two different things, actually, and the SCA doesn’t “put on” any Ren Faires. You’ll actually find that many SCA members *do* take themselves very seriously and put a ton of research into historical accuracy *for their persona or the particular outfit they are recreating*…and teaching the history of and how to recreate the arts and sciences of the medieval era is how the SCA earned and keeps 501c3 status as an educational organization. The “creative anachronism” part comes in in the fact that at any event my husband could be sitting next to the fire in 10th Century Saxon garb with a person in a spot-on Elizabethean while I’m getting some snacks together in my 15th Century Venetian…we aren’t recreating a single period of pre-17th century history, so events are anachronistic from that point of view. Also, everyone at an SCA event is a participant. Ren Faires on the other hand are more fantasy, performance atmospheres. It’s the difference between dressing up to go see a performance of Rocky Horror (Ren Faire) and dressing up to go to a meeting of your improvisational performance club (SCA).

    The paper dolls are absolutely lovely, thank you for them 🙂 I’m going to be printing out copies of the historic pre-17th Century ones (and a couple of the fantasy bits) to use in packets for children at local SCA events.

    ~Baroness Jacomina Rizzardi of the Kingdom of Atenveldt, known in modern times as Sada 😉

    1. Before printing any of my paper dolls, please be sure to check the Terms of Use which outline what forms of use I permit and don’t permit. 🙂 Particularly before distributing them at any events. Thank you.

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