Ahhhh, brocade. I really like the stuff as a way to get patterns into the fabric of my Renaissance outfits without a print.
Our patron "M" had asked for something red, with roses. We were under a huuuuuge time crunch. I first ordered some burgundy polyester, but it was the cheap stuff. In a rush I found a listing for this fabric on Etsy and it turned out PERFECT. A little texture, some weight to it, and a nice balance of a deep color that wasn't too red or purple.
The remaining two pieces to the scholar's outfit were a tabard/vest of some sort, and the necessary scholar's robes. The tabard was easy: it is a tent of an outfit with arm holes and neck holes. I opted to use the yoke pattern from a shirt for the front and a doublet pattern for the back, and do a simple v-neck cutout, and then have the sides lace up. That way there would be some interest to the garment if the robes were removed, but it would remain a simple cut to show off the brocade. To conserve fabric only the front was made of the fancy fabric, though the whole thing was lined.
And lastly the robes! At this point I really didn't even use a pattern. It was going to be a drop shoulder robe anyway; I just used the shoulder measurements for width, and guessed on the length.
Only the sleeves were fully lined with the brocade. The black fabric is a heavier weight linen. I added the big flap at the shoulders to give the robe a bit more of a tailored shape, which also let me add some fabric at the sides for better "swishability" when walking. The collar is just a strip of fabric.
Finished robe! If it looks a little like Harry Potter school uniforms, it should. A version of the scholar's uniform is still used in British private schools and in the US as graduation robes.
Unlike some other commissions, for this one Kate and I had a reference photo to work from. Our friend "M" found it on Pinterest and after some internet sleuthing I found a source.
We didn't get any fantastic pictures of our friend that weekend in costume. The weather was miserable. These were the best I could find in my archives:
One of our favorite parts of volunteering with the royal court at the Great Plains Renaissance Festival is hosting the Queen's Tea. The first year we did it, we just scooted chairs from the court closer to the thrones, and had the kids munch on cookies and sip punch while the queen and princess chatted with them.
As fun as that was, we wanted to make it more of a program - something returning fair-goers would look to year after year. So, we added story time. We chose books with a fairy tale theme, or a princess theme, and more recently a dragon theme. We had props, and tried to really engage our audience.
This last fair, we moved teatime to a separate area adjacent to the throne area and under its own sun-fly. But having the kids perch on adult sized chairs just wasn't cozy enough. The kids were wiggly, and wanted to see the pictures closer.
If you were a Girl Scout in the mid to late 1980's, you might remember making "sit upons" out of inexpensive vinyl table cloths and stuffing them with newspaper. These went with you to meetings and camp, so you never had to sit on the cold, damp ground or on bare floors.
Being a more formal occasion than a Girl Scout meeting, we upgraded to corduroy, upholstery fabric, and velvet scraps pieced together to make big squares. We still backed them with damp-resistant inexpensive vinyl tablecloths though, and stuffed them with plastic grocery bags that we collected over the months.
We made a wide variety of pillows (as we had a wide variety of scraps), and put tassels on the corner to add a small renaissance flavor. They've been far more popular with our younger guests than the chairs ever were.
Our scholar is really coming together! We've covered the pants, shirt, and ruff. Now for the coif and hat.
For being such a simple and small part of the costume, the head covering always seems to complete an authentic look in a way that the most accurate gown or outfit could never achieve on it's own.
For this part of the process I found ridiculously easy and FREE patterns online to follow.
Find the hat here.
Find the coif here.
The hat is made out of wool (or you can use something of similar thickness and stretch) and the coif is cotton. The lining on mine was made of a creamy colored silk, but you can use what is available as long as it is light weight.
Now here is a truly classical looking bust!
At this point I was getting pretty excited to see the whole costume come together!
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!