Debuting new garb at a festival is always frought with what-ifs. Is the length ok? Will the bodice ride up or down? What about the weight of the garment? After repeatedly stressing over how hot we were going to be in our new multi-layer linen dresses, the weather turned out cool enough to warrant extra layers. And the fit of the dress turned out just fine.
But, everyone agreed we turned out looking awesome!
(Kate here) I was actually a little sorry we ended up wearing the full outfit all day. I hope in following years, we get to show off the dresses underneath more. And, while the dresses were great, I have to add that we seemed to have found the limit of our cheap hoop skirts. Both of us were popping hoops by the end.
For Ryan's new doublet, I literally traced over his most recent one - the green and brown doublet from the fall before - and added a few inches where necessary. The diagonal design comes from a costumed festival goer we had encountered in KC the season before, but the pants are being re used from another outfit.
I know, I know. I should have taken progress pictures of Ryan's doublet and the baby outfit. I ran out of time/inspiration.
Ryan's sleeves were from an earlier pattern as well, and I just replaced the centers with strips of ribbon. The underarm is still out of blue linen. The whole doublet is lined in the same stuff as the frock coat. And I ordered buttons to cover with blue linen, which Ryan thought was very close to magic.
The baby shift is secretly traced from a button up shirt I had for Easter, which will be in a few weeks. Almost every other baby shirt I could have traced was knit, which wouldn't do well if there was a sudden growth spurt. And in learning a lesson from my last baby outfit, I made knit side vents, which turned out to be unnecessary in this case.
(Kate again) We always seem to add things to our garb from the faire. This time, I found blue leather rabbit-trimmed fingerless gloves, and Rachel found tan velvet pouches that we strung from our bodice lacing. Perfect for hiding those modern things that you want to keep hidden but close to you, like a cell phone and wallet. Most importantly for tired feet, we added walking sticks. You'll have to imagine all these things until we can get a good picture up that includes these!
As a whole, the ensemble was a hit at the Festival! We ended up wearing the costumes both days, instead of switching out like we planned. I truly do not have any new outfits for myself planned for the Wichita Ren Fest this fall, but if time opens up this summer I may finish some costumes that have portions that have literally been in the making for around for 15 years.
The base dress has finally come together!
Skirts are always stupidly easy, once I get the pleating right. In this case the width of the skirt was determined by two things: the circumference of the largest hoop, and how much fabric I had left over after cutting out sleeves and bodice.
Pleats really are the way to go when reducing the circumference around the waistline. They're more secure than gathers, and don't add as much bulk, which is important when your fabric has thickness like the blue linen.
In this dress the skirt has a waistband that is stitched to the bodice, making the whole thing detachable for cleaning or refitting.
And here's the back and side view of the dress so you can see the flaps at the waist. They're really just decorative. Forgive my lack of ironing of this fabric - there is a lot of it! I may need to invest in a steamer in the future.
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.
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!