Ren Faire 2012 costume – yes, finally!

what?  it’s only been like three months since I updated this thing?! who knew?!

this summer completely got away from me.  in my defense, I’ve been so absurdly busy these past few months that I actually haven’t been working on my ren faire costume, therefore the lack of updates on that front is kind of legit.  I’ve been doing a lot of other stuff, though, so the lack of updates on the whole is just me being lazy and forgetful.

well, the faire is on saturday (yes, in two days,) and I’m nearly finished with my costume.  most of what I’ve accomplished has been over the past two weekends, because I’m a procrastinator like that and I always leave things to the last minute.


some pictures from construction, back in May.



the bodice on my dressform.  it fits on me much better than it does on the dressform, although it still is a bit too small – I tried to account for boob when I was drafting the pattern, but evidently I still underestimated.  still, I can squish myself into it, and it’s not uncomfortable – in fact, quite the opposite.  I’m glad I went with cording; the support is surprisingly comfy.

for some reason, it looks much more uneven on the dressform than it does on me (though it is a bit uneven.)


here’s the picture that will haunt me with shame.  ignore the awful half-assed lacing job and focus on the glaring unevenness.  now, I finished constructing this bodice sometime back in May, for the most part, and tried it on a number of times along the way to make sure everything was fitting okay.  and somehow, it wasn’t until this week, when I actually put the finished bodice on and laced it up, that I realized what (somehow) happened.  I don’t know where I went wrong.  the fit is still excellent and, in my opinion, it doesn’t look nearly this bad when I actually have it on myself (except for that weird tab on the left side.)  but the fact that it’s so uneven makes me itch.  I just don’t have time to take it apart and redo.  no one will see it, but that’s not the point. >_>

you can see that I cut off the extra-long tabs for lacing that I included, from research, in my original pattern.  I imagine their purpose is better served if the bodice is made with stiff boning, but with the cording, it served no support purpose and really just looked like a weird tail on the back, so I nixed it.


bodice with petticoat, and the gown front and back.  the gown needs to be hemmed still, as you see.  as with everything, the pieces look a lot better on me than they do on my form.  my waist is three inches smaller than the minimum my dressform will go, so the petticoat gaps on the form, and the dress doesn’t quite close all the way.  the gown is very simple and was influenced greatly by the techniques I found at The Tudor Costume Page.  it looks quite plain because I had trimmed it and it didn’t look very good so I took it off.  at this point I’m not sure I have the time to re-trim so I may just wear it plain.  also, there are sleeves, a la the gown I designed it after, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to wear them to the faire… it’s broken 100 every day this week so far and the heat wave here isn’t looking to abate any time soon, so I may have to go without.

also included in the costume are the shift and a caul.  I don’t have period shoes or anything like, but I’m kind of working on some shoe covers that may or may not be done/wearable by saturday, so who knows what I’m going to end up wearing.  I’ll be sure to have plenty of pictures from the faire so you can see what the outfit looks like when it actually fits properly.

so excited 😀 Ren Faire, here I come!


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.