Sheena Pennell

History of the Beret

What if I told you the origin of the beret wasn’t entirely French?

The Eleonora Project, Part 7: The Death of Eleonora, as Told by her Gown

The clothing in which Eleonora di Toledo was buried reveals much about her later years and her death.

The Eleonora Project, Part 6: Selecting Materials for Re-Creating Historical Projects

Historical garments are often re-created as part of research into a specific time period or for participation in a period drama or historical reenactment. The author offers tips for considering the selection of materials for such a task.

The Eleonora Project, Part 5: Fashion, Art, and the Propaganda Machine

Sheena Pennell explores the role portrait artists played in public relations during the years that the House of Medici reigned in Florence.

The Eleonora Project, Part 4: The Lifecycle of Women’s Clothing

Clothing in the Eleonora di Toledo’s time was expensive. As a result, garments were worn for many years, then they were handed down, cut down, or repurposed.

The Eleonora Project, Part 3: Knitting Guilds and the Medici

What did it mean to be a member of a knitting guild during the 1500s? Who was responsible for crafting Eleonora di Toledo’s burial stockings?

The Eleonora Project, Part 2: Adventures in Forensic Knitting

Sometimes it takes determination and a whole lot of detective work before the first stitch is cast on.

The Eleonora Project-Part 1

Read about one author's mission to re-create and adapt several pieces of Eleonora di Toledo's wardrobe using a combination of modern technology and historical practices.

Why Man-Made Fibers May Make a Poor Choice for Heirloom Textiles

A textile conservationist makes a passionate case for using natural fibers for treasured knitted and crocheted projects.