Ren Faire 2012 costume

I should have known that as soon as I said I wouldn’t begin any more big projects before the move, I would inevitably think up a big project that I just can’t wait to begin.  so here it is.  I’m planning to hit the Ren Faire this year, since I haven’t been in quite a few years, so naturally I have to dress up.

(love my crappy Skitch sketches, don’t you?)

the concept is not complicated: a shift, stays, and a bodiced gown.  as it will very likely be well over 90 degrees when I go, I opted for the lightest linen I could find at a reasonable price, instead of the more historically accurate wool.  the gown will be a mustard-yellow linen, a colour I just love, although I really wanted to make it in the green that I have pictured above – I just couldn’t find it.  I happened to find just under a yard of it in the remnants bin, however, so I decided I’ll just use it for the outer layer of my stays.  it will show a bit beneath the gown, which I like (though I just realized that I’m going to look like a medieval Packers fan with the green and gold… eurgh.)
the gown is pretty simple, nothing fancy – I don’t see the point in making a fabulous costume when it’s going to be hotter than the armpit of hell and will more than likely be covered in mud, horseshit, beer, and other Ren Faire effluvia by the end of the day.  I styled it after Danielle De Barbarac’s green work gown in Ever After, a movie I adore.  (I really, really wanted to replicate the gown down to the colour, but alas, JoAnn’s, no green linen.  sigh.)  a simple bodiced top, A-line skirt with pleats in the back, and tie-on sleeves.  (I’m going to be outdated a bit, as the Faire this year is set 1570’s, but oh well.)
I drew up the pattern myself from an image I found somewhere (I don’t know, it’s been saved on my desktop for-like-ever,) that I liked.  I pilfered a bunch of this tissue stuff from the garbage at work (after JoAnn’s, it’s my go-to for costuming supplies :p) because I thought it might be good for making patterns, and wow!  I don’t know what it is; it moves and drapes like fabric, but cuts like tissue, is transparent, and really strong.  it’s super-thin but doesn’t tear without making a cut first.  I just love it.  it comes as packing in the boxes of ink ribbon we get for our packing machine.  it’s fabulous.
I made the pattern a bit bigger than I thought I’d need, since it’s always easier to cut something down than it is to make it bigger, and because I’m planning on using cording for these stays instead of boning, so I figure that’ll take up a bit of volume.  since my costume is rather lower-class, I don’t really need that stiff cylindrical torso, and did I mention 90 degrees?  so yeah, no boning.
close-up of the tracing.  (can you tell I haven’t washed my fabric yet?  I know, I know, but I can’t use the laundry at night or the neighbors get pissed off, and I really wanted to get started, so I said screw it.  I really hope that won’t come back to bite me in the ass…)  this was my first successful go at using a tracing wheel, which up until now I had thought one of the most useless things in my sewing kit.  did I mention my pattern paper is strong?  yeah, I went over these pieces three or four times most of them (I kept tracing the wrong sides, ugh,) and that pattern is in great shape.  I began sewing the channels but I’d barely got started before the guy downstairs started banging on the ceiling, so that’s as far as I got today.  then I started on a bit of the cording, just to kind of get a feel for it and see how it will look, and I’m pleased.  I think it’s going to turn out nice.