Realm of Venus site. I actually used this painting as my inspiration for my 2011 entry in the Italian Renaissance Costume Challenge (now in it's 5th year). However there were a few things I really disliked about my dress and these have prevented me from wearing it. In fact, I have only worn this dress once for only a few hours and about an hour for pictures. Here are my original images of the dress. I feel this dress looks reasonably nice from 5 feet away, but some of the details make me unhappy.
Problem number 1, the bodice: I tried a new method of lacing this dress. I had previously used Jen Thompson's of Festive Attyre ladder lacing method (which I dont think is currently available on her site). Jen's method worked wonderfully, but there was some discussion at the time if rings or some other method might be more historically correct. So I tried rings. There are rings on each side of the bodice and the lacing is ladder lacing in 2 directions. I hate that the rings caused buckling and I hate that the ribbon shows running vertically between the rings. I am not sure what I will do to fix this but I need to fix it or I will never be happy wearing this dress.
Problem number 2, the sleeves: This is actually a set of problems. First, I love the sleeves but my guess at construction leaves something to be desired. I have done cut outs like the sleeves only 2 times. The first time was on a attempt at a replica of the costume worn by the evil stepmother in Sleepy Hallow. This dress was made with modern synthetic velvet. To make the cut outs in the velvet, I drew the design in fray check on the back of the fabric and then carefully cut the design out. This worked beautifully and the design was easy to stitch to the base fabric on the bodice. The fray check left the edges sealed enough that the stitching did not need to be super close together and could be very close to the edge since the fray check sealed the edges of the cut so well.
I am still waffling on making something completely new, but I would really love to get this dress to the point where I could actually enjoy wearing it.