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.
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.
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:
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!