A message from afar...
Well, darn it. I know it's a pandemic and we all must make sacrifices. But still.
Our beloved bi-annual Great Plains Renaissance Festival was cancelled for the spring due to pandemic concerns. I must admit I was secretly glad not to have to deal with the cockleburrs and sweaty heat in unfamiliar clothes, even if I did enjoy parading around in them.
The hubs and I felt the need to connect with our friends though, especially since we live geographically further away. I suggested a short video to post to our private Facebook group page the weekend of the cancelled fair. But Kate was sheltering with our parents, away from us and away from her usual stash of costumes...
Magically, she came up with something. There's a reason friends who have had garments sewn by Kate call her the "Fairy Katemother."
Ryan and I decided to wear our coordinating Blue Bees outfits. No agonizing decision there; they were in the front of the closet, honestly. Our story for our characters has always been that we hail from the city of "War-drobe" in the land of "Spare-oom." Narnia fans will get this reference pretty quickly!
Thanks to the magic of the internet, Ryan and I were able to record our portion of the video and send it to Kate, who edited it together. Her thrown together costume was explained by saying that she had been vacationing in the Lone Islands.
Anyway, here's our little video message:
And here is Kate's outfit in a still picture. From top to bottom:
The hat is vintage 1960s from our mom. The scarf is borrowed from her as well.
The Chemise and Corset are from an earlier green and orange dress that has since been recycled into other garments.
The overdress is from my 10th wedding anniversary celebration.
The blue skirt is from middle and high school days of volunteering at a living history museum. (1870s)
The walking stick was most recently purchased to go with the blue bees dresses.
Check out our archived projects page for photos of the chemise, corset, and overdress as they originally appeared.
Taylor, in Teal (part 1)
I had asked Kate to help with the pattern drafting, and after Taylor sent her measurements online a pattern was drafted. Kate could see right away that maybe not every measurement was accurate.
The bustline was way too high. Kate made her best guess based on standard pattern shapes.
The other change from previous patterns was the side seam. Taylor didn't want the bodice front lacing, but back lacing. In addition she indicated she wanted less of a column shape, but with English influences. The side seams were moved around to the back, and the lacing left at the center back.
And so we go from pattern to muslin! Even though this fabric mock up was made of leftover linen from a prior project. Kate also very wisely left heckin' huge seam allowances, with stitching lines where the original measurements indicated, and looser ones where she thought they might end up.
I had been in communication with Taylor about fabric choices in my stash of silk saris I bought online. Unsurprisingly to me, she liked the teal color best. However, it had a golden thread woven motif all over that didn't show up too well in pictures. I packed all of them, but Taylor remained steadfast in her choice. In addition I talked to her more about the design and we chose a secondary silk in grey with golden embroidery as an accent.
Last week we had a Royal Court photoshoot for photos to go on the website, and Kate and I were able to fit the muslin to Taylor. In addition to letting out the seams to the secondary larger option, the front was lengthened, the shoulders widened, the neckline lowered, and the armholes made bigger.
I am updating Taylor on Facebook with the important stuff. For this project instead of going from pattern making to finishing hems on each garment, I'm completing all the cutting first so my table can be free for construction from here on out. I took the above picture, but realized the piles of cut fabric only looked in order to me. So I labeled it. Here's to progress out of this chaos!
A new hat for an old dress
“Some hats can only be worn if you're willing to be jaunty, to set them at an angle and to walk beneath them with a spring in your stride as if you're only a step away from dancing. They demand a lot of you.”
― Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys
There's nothing like a new accessory to liven up an old outfit, and at The Great Plains Renaissance Festival this fall we planned to wear an old favorite - our Always Winter Never Christmas dresses. These dresses have an Italian/Venetian influence, and we've struggled since the beginning to find some kind of head-wear to go with the dresses.
As the September dates of the festival almost always bring the heat of the last gasp of summer saying "and another thing!" before Kansas's brief fall sets in, this was also an excuse to make a head piece that was a little lighter than the winter turbans. After consulting a few reference pictures, I sketched a design (spoiler - the design evolved before the project was done).
Historically, these hats would have been stuffed with wool or reed, but I opted for cushion foam, both because it's easier to use, and because it's what I had on hand. I used E6000 glue to glue the pieces to wide headbands, and then the leftover linen from H's Viking tunic to cover the foam. It was easier to sew the linen closed on the underside of the headband than glue it.
A post-script! We were surprised with the honor of receiving titles! We are now Barron and Baronesses of the court. What this means in practical terms is that we're allowed to wear a tiara/circlet (as long as it doesn't outshine our betters on the court), we can be addressed as Lord or Lady, and we can officially represent the crown by occupying the thrones while the Royals are out shopping or attending a joust.
Of course Rachel just happened to have ordered some tiaras direct from a Chinese distributor. They came broken, but she had pieced enough of them back into two tiaras to go with our outfits, just in case.
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!