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Topic: Re-creating Renaissance dress...minus the velvet!  (Read 1786 times)
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« on: November 16, 2009 06:52:40 PM »

Hello all! I've decided that I want to make this lovely dress for next year's Renaissance Festival! But, the Faire is in August, and I live in Minnesota, so there's no way I'm making this out of velvet, which is what it looks like in the picture.


I would love some suggestions for fabric (the cooler the better!) and I'd also very much appreciate links to patterns/tutorials that you think would help. Thank you all so much! =D
« Last Edit: April 03, 2010 06:24:27 AM by photojenn - Reason: removed hotlinked image » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2009 07:45:04 PM »

It may not be what they used then, but you could try something like polished cotton (it's cotton with a finish on it to make it look a little shinier than plain, dull cotton.  If you go for a lighter color than the one you've linked to, even cotton velveteen might be reasonable (ok, I'm probably fooling myself with that idea, but it sounds nice, right?).  I would definitely pass on the navy blue (even though I really like all shades of blue, and have at least one solid navy dress in my closet) in favor of something that's not going to absorb as much heat (rose pink, steel blue, mint green, etc.).

Butterick tends to have some pretty decent costume patterns (http://www.butterick.com/item/B4571.htm?tab=list/costumes&page=all is pretty good except for the sleeves), and the lines on Simplicity 4092 look pretty good (view b: http://www.simplicity.com/p-2098-costumes.aspx ) though the skirt's a bit wider. Mccall 5731 is pretty good too : http://www.mccallpattern.com/item/M5731.htm?tab=list/costumes&page=all

Hope this helps, and good luck with your dress!


Where did all this fabric come from? I CAN'T have bought THAT much!
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2009 07:58:41 PM »

Thanks! Those patterns look pretty good, maybe I could try to combine some. And unfortunately, I want to get it as realistic as possible, so I think I may opt for a dark color despite the heat. With the style of this dress, only people who could afford dark colors (noblewomen) would wear it, and a light color would contradict that status. (wow, i hope that made sense!) I will definitely look into polished cotton though! Any clue where I could get it on the cheap? Smiley

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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2009 05:06:14 AM »

As an upper class person, you can wear yellow or gold.  Basically if you are upper class you can wear any color you like, though you will tend to avoid "common" colors such as brown, or the light blue from woad dye.

You're not strictly limited to dark colors.  This might give you a broader range of options in fabrics.


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« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2009 06:18:02 AM »

Crimson and white appear on the list as well.

I went looking for polished cotton last night, and didn't run across anything useful. You could also go for a brocade/damask/jacquard (fabrics with patterns worked into the weave of the fabric), like this: http://www.denverfabrics.com/catalog_itemdetail.aspx?ItmID=EEE604 though I don't know how prevalent they were in the Renaissance period.  Sites that tend to have decent prices for fabric include www.denverfabrics.com and www.fabricmartfabrics.com. There may be others I'm not aware of.


Where did all this fabric come from? I CAN'T have bought THAT much!
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2009 07:58:12 AM »

How about terrycloth? there's the kind with 2 sides--loopy and sheared. The sheared side will pass for velvet, and be much cooler.

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« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2009 11:15:04 AM »

Linen or Duopioni Silk.  Both are natural fiber, thus breathe very well.  I've made some mideival garb for the SCA.  Our events are days long and I've found that linen, even long sleeves with layers is the best.  I wear a long sleeved underdress from white linen, a short sleeved kirtle and sometimes a sideless surcoat and sure I'm warm, but not sweating profusely and as long as I stay in the shade, I'm fine. 

For that dress a Duopioni silk would probably work very well.  And I agree with the suggestion of gold or deep yellow or maybe even a medium purple.  i'd probably stay away from the fur cuffs.  good luck

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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2009 09:25:57 PM »

I would also say linen. Cotton at that time was expensive, so it would have actually been something the nobles would have worn. Wool was cheap at that time. Oh how times have changed.
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