Blue Bee Final
We're so close to being done (or as done as these things ever are) with the Blue Bee dresses!
We've also come to the thing that I have been dreading the most - hats. In the past, hats have been Rachel's thing, so it was kinda my turn now. We looked at so many pictures of hats, but mostly took our inspiration from hats like these:
I knew from the beginning that I wanted to start with a proper buckram frame from a milinry supply store. In the past, we've managed to make head pieces with what we already had, but for the crisp lines of the kinds of hats we'd been looking at, I knew the expense of a buckram hat frame would be worth it.
From there, making the pattern to cover the frame is not unlike making an upholstery pattern, just in miniature. I turned the hat upside down and carefully traced around the top edge, then went back and added seam allowance. For the sides, I found the dress trim to be almost perfect in width. I trimmed off the gold edges of the trim, then cut lining pieces for the top and sides out of the cream dupioni silk lining of the coat.
With the outer pieces sewn together, I whip stitched/basted the edges down, just covering the metal hat band in the bottom of the buckram frame and hiding most of my stitches in the edges of the gold trim on the outside. I didn't have to worry about it being too pretty inside, as it would be covered by the lining.
Being a Renaissance hat, I added a large grey ostrich feather from Rachel. I had been making the coif and hat at the same time, so you can see it here on Ms. Foame with the plain coif. I ended up covering the end of the feather with a large button made of blue linen and a tree-of-life charm, but alas I didn't get a good picture of it here.
One more thing was definitely needed to secure the hats - a hat pin. I searched online to see if there were ones I could purchase - and there were. Except they were art pieces, or set with precious gems, or antiques. So, kind of at the last minute, I ordered supplies to make my own. Plus - hey another place to have a bee! I used glass beads in blue and yellow, a bee charm, and bits and pieces left over from other jewelry projects, all secured with E6000 glue. I also added a little chain swag to the side of the hat, just for that little bit of extra oomph.
The pin up close. I think it turned out great!
Full disclosure - I put this on Ms. Foame after the faire to take a picture to add to the bottom of this post. The day of the faire, the court asked us to bling out our garb as much as possible, so Rachel and I threw on our tiaras from our green German dresses. And although I wouldn't have come up with it on my own, I do think it's just the right amount of theatricality. I can't wait for you to see the whole show that is the Blue Bee Dress all together in the next post!
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:
The scholar comes to life - part 4
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!