Born into the Geekery
I've posted a couple times before, but we have a baby in our lives now! He has no escape. He will be exposed to all things geeky and creative. I was itching to expose him, and at two months old we scheduled his first costumed appearance at the Great Plains Renaissance Festival.
My parents were watching him for the weekend anyway while we volunteered in costume. It made sense to present him at court. I wanted to be as historically accurate as possible, but primary sources for the dressing of infants under about 18 months is scarce.
The information I could find indicated infants were pretty much swaddled 24/7 until they were ready to learn to walk. Easier to keep an eye on them that way, I suppose. After that their dress resembled miniature versions of their parents' clothing.
I decided on a compromise. I would make a shirt/bag and a little vest. I made it about a month before the event, and based the sizing off some of the baby clothes I thought would be the right size.
The shirt is muslin. The vest is embroidered silk with a cotton lining.
They turned out soooo cute! And my baby was eating sooooooo much!
I ended up putting 2 inch side panels from arm to hem in the shirt and stretchy knit side panels in the vest. Crisis averted!
And now to introduce Xander! This is his first fitting for the outfit, right after I made it. I realized it was too small in this picture. He wasn't sure about this whole endeavor, but I love his expression of long-suffering here. I'm sure I'll see this expression much more in the coming years.
Xander's introduction at court went great. The Queen herself is expecting - and their son will be just a few months younger than Xander. I'm sure they'll get to know each other over the years.
Blue Bees 1
Strap in folks. This will be a long series.
Kate and I have the Green Germanic dresses, our Falling Leaves dresses, and the Always Winter Never Christmas Italian inspired dresses that have seen a few revisions. I wanted to tackle something more English inspired. This meant a more column like bodice, and a BUM ROLL.
I had experimented in this direction in my first ever Renaissance dress. That I made out of polyester. Big mistake. I've since then completely overhauled the dress, but don't wear it much because: polyester. Also, the bum roll is a stuffed cotton shape, and heavy on the waist/hips.
The end of summer brought a revelation: why not try a pool noodle strapped on my backside to get that shape? An evening with scissors, pins, ribbon, and a tube of E6000 glue brought me to this:
It did not look promising until I put a skirt over it. Then the traditional English Tudor shape started to appear! It might work! I just had to convince Kate this silhouette was the way to go. But, more on fabric choices and overall design in further posts...
And, while my enthusiasm and maternity leave/sleep deprived brain said I could get these dresses done by the upcoming fall Great Plains Renaissance Festival, Kate's more level head prevailed and we'll be debuting the dresses at the spring 2019 festival.
Always Winter Never Christmas
Serious rennies are a hardy bunch. Short of active tornado or blizzard warnings, we are out there - rain, shine, or in this case, snow!
We had been keeping an eye on the forecast for the spring faire. We knew it was going to be a cold, damp one. A couple of weekends before the Great Plains Renaissance Festival, the Little Apple Renaissance Festival was scheduled in Manhattan, KS. A perfect dry run for a few cold-weather modifications we'd made to our very first matching renaissance dresses.
The faux-turbans covered our ears well enough, and we found beautifully soft cashmere pashminas to match for our necks. But even with long underwear and the scarfs, we needed more.
Luckily, I still had a couple yards of the upholstery fabric we'd used for the bodices. And frankly, I'm not sure what else I would have used it on.
To add a little extra width, and also to have something soft and warm around the face (instead of the stiff, scratchy upholstery fabric), I bought some faux mink fur for a shawl collar and front opening. We trimmed the short capes in tassel fringe to match the dresses. They fit close and snug around the shoulders, and were really about as warm as a modern wool coat would have been.
The Little Apple Renaissance Festival ended up being rescheduled due to blizzard conditions, but not before we'd gotten all dressed up with no where to go. So, we took advantage of the wind-blocking and aesthetic properties of a mausoleum in the cemetery in Beloit, KS for a short photo shoot.
At the Great Plains Renaissance Festival a couple of weeks later, the weather wasn't quite as blizzard-like, but was still cold enough to warrant the use of the capes, and damp enough that our skirts were wet half-way up by the end of the day, and just about "an inch-deep in mud", to quote Jane Austen.
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!