Ooops, it's been a while since I posted an update, Sorry.
I have just been reading all of the comments everyone has made :) thank you so much, the feedback is just what I need to keep me motivated.
Not much direct progress to report, however I have bee working on a dress based on the Eleanora of Toledo burial gown for the Italian Renaissance Costume Challenge (look up the Realm of Venus website for some truly amazing dresses) for two reasons, firstly because life got in the way of my challenge entry last year and I was unable to complete it, and secondly the dress I am working on this year is based on the Eleanora of Toledo burial gown. So I get to test out the pattern I'm going to use for Eleanora.
I have also been listening to a presentation by Dr Sheila Barker from the Medici Archive Project about the portrait. I need to email her and get some more details, but from the presentation, I gather Dr Barker has been studying documents in the Medici archives and has found some really interesting information about the portrait, the dress and the politics around it.
Apparently it took six different weaving techniques to make the fabric, and the dress took three years to make. So I don't feel so bad about taking a while :) Ermine fur was sent via Rome to line the sleeves, I would never have guessed from looking at the portrait. Also the trim along the edge of the bodice and sleeve panes is not a cord or piping, but is a gold and silver ribbon, which was woven specifically for the gown.
Lots more information in the lecture, but I have to go back to my notes for further details. If you are interested in finding the presentation google The Medici Archives or look on YouTube for Sheila Barker and the Bronzino portrait. And finally, it has been suggested that I should Have a costume exhibition when I finish the dress....I haven't decided on that yet.