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Topic: Ren Fest costume  (Read 2622 times)
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Aislynn
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« on: February 15, 2010 06:36:21 AM »

Hi, all!  So last year I made a Ren Fest costume for a friend of mine who was going for the first time.  I also threw together half of one for myself.  However, this year we're planning on going to Texas, and I want to make a new, complete costume for myself (and a second one for her, but we already know what we're doing for that one).  My problem is that I love the first one I made for her, and I was intending to do something similar for my new one.  However, it feels off.  The fabrics are a bit too rich for the style, and it's really costume-y.  I'm not shooting for SCA-level accuracy, but I want to be able to incorporate these pieces into outfits for others faires, as well.

I was going to try and re-use these patterns, but I don't mind getting a new one.  The trick is, I've got just over a yard of this gorgeous gold brocade I want to use for it (http://www.joann.com/joann/catalog/productdetail.jsp?pageName=search&flag=true&PRODID=xprd757847).  My original idea was to use the brocade for the bodice (and make it reversible, with black on the other side), and then do a two layered (reversible) skirt in red and green or blue.  And possibly a split over-skirt in black.  The skirts were all going to be cotton, linen, or twill.  My chemise is muslin.  And I was going to do sleeves in the two skirt colors.  I suppose I'm just asking if this seems like an okay way to go, or if I should look at other patterns, and try to do something else?

This is not the exact pattern we used, but my friend's outfit looks like the one with the green skirt (this is what we modeled it after).  I'll try and upload a picture of hers today.  http://www.simplicity.com/p-2022-costumes.aspx
« Last Edit: February 15, 2010 06:54:16 AM by Aislynn » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2010 02:31:54 PM »

I think if you want to be even slightly authentic, you have to decide what class you are (noble, merchant, or working) and stick to that.  So that might mean having to research which colors and fabrics the class would be likely to use, and either changing to a different class to suit your fabric (which might mean a different pattern) or changing your fabric (sad!   Sad  ).

sumptuary laws, rules of apparel:  http://www.elizabethan.org/sumptuary/index.html
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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2010 06:10:35 PM »

Thanks, Ludi!  I've read some of the sumptuary laws before, specifically the ones about colors (which I think you posted, too!)  I think the idea I have in my head (bodice, skirts, sleeves) will work for roughly merchant class.  I guess my biggest concern is the bodice.  What I've got a pattern for is a front lacing bodice with a peplum.  And what I'm seeing in reference photos is more of a side or back lacing bodice with a very square neck.  While the little kid in me wants the princess dress (front lacing) the grown-up is leaning towards the side-lacing.  I think I've accepted the fact that the brocade is in no way accurate, and it's a little rich for a merchant, but thankfully, the Elizabeth I at the local faire is benevolent, and doesn't mind people who step on her sumptuary toes.   Grin


This is the costume I made for my friend.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2010 06:11:02 PM by Aislynn » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2010 10:46:47 AM »

Not only what class you are, but also which country you want to be from (Hey, the Renissance wasn't just in England Wink ) My husband and I went to a Ren Fest lasy year and I made one based on the Italian Renissance and you would not believe how many people complimented me and it was a really simple pattern!
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« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2010 10:50:24 AM »

Heh, true!  Right now, my main focus is on England.  Though the second dress we're making for my friend is going to be Italian.  I'd also like to make an Irish dress, eventually.
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2010 07:58:47 PM »

Okay, it's official.  I'm switching to this bodice pattern:  http://mccallpattern.mccall.com/m4696-products-6556.php?page_id=493  I think I'm going to start off with the B sleeves, and make the C ones eventually.  I'm considering adding the little peplum-esque piece (not the actual peplum, the other thingy) from this one:  http://mccallpattern.mccall.com/m4107-products-1009.php?page_id=493 just because I have super wide hips, and while I'm going to be wearing a semi-full petticoat, I will not be wearing a farthingale.  Without that much volume, I tend to look matronly, which is not what I'm shooting for.

Off topic, I really dislike McCall's mannequin pictures.  The clothes always look poorly made because they're never fitted to the form.
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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2010 07:40:54 PM »

I can understand the long process of figuring out the exactness of your costume.  I've spent the past week thinking out my Elizabethan court gown, and have changed my color scheme and some of the bodice details several times.  Good luck with the new bodice patterns!
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2010 01:47:25 PM »

Thanks amazing_784!  After a lot of research, I've made a few decisions, and accepted a few limitations.

First, I'm going to be using McCall's 4696, but draft out the princess seams, and eliminate the back lacing.  I'm making the view B sleeves just for fun, though I know they're not accurate at all.  I'm also going to be making a very full reversible cotton skirt that's equally not accurate.  It's eventually, in the next season or two, going to become a petticoat, though.  And the decision has a lot to do with deference to the weather, which is usually broiling in TX/LA.  I think I'm going to go with my original decision, and make the bodice reversible brocade/black.  I don't know if I'll ever get around to making a full overskirt in that brocade, but it'll be a pretty dress-up piece by itself, and the black will definitely come in handy.  I'm working with a stupidly constricted budget, and materials I've already got, but my goal is to make pieces now that will either a) work as foundations for a more detailed/accurate costume later or b) be jumping off points for other, non-Elizabethan costumes.  Also, as much as I enjoy the research, and do strive for some level of accuracy, neither the TX nor LA fairs are really hardcore, and TX specifically encourages fantasy elements.  So I don't feel too constrained by venue.

My skirt/sleeve material (it'll match) was generously gifted me by a friend, and is dark red and burnt orange, respectively, for each side.
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« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2010 02:59:13 PM »

This site also has some great tips and explanations on proper dress for the 16th century:

http://www.elizabethancostume.net/index.html
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« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2010 05:33:11 PM »

Yes!  jmk3482, that site is the ENTIRE reason why I've decided to put the brocade on hold.
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