Before the Great Plains Renaissance festival every fall and spring, the volunteers of the royal court get together for a series of meetings. Earlier in the summer at one such meeting the sorry state of the court pennants was brought up. One neat suggestion was floated that anyone who wanted to provide their own pennant could do so. My brain cells were activated!
Pennants are the flag version of a coat of arms that would appear on a surcoat or building denoting the family, royal or just high born. I researched my maiden name and kinda liked the design.
I researched my married last name and didn't so much like what I found, as the familial image was of a wild boar. No way to romanticize that. I went with my mother-in-law's maiden name instead.
And by special request from my husband the third pennant was to be a stylized wrestling mat.
With the maximum dimensions I sketched them out as above and checked color combinations. After some rough calculations I also had the approximate yardage for each color.
I found an online store that sold lightweight outdoor decorating fabric. It had good prices and everything I'd need except the blue fabric. Time to go with the alternate colors for the second pennant!
While sketching I made sure to start with a scale outline and fudged my original pencil drawings to standardize the measurements. This made blowing up each sketch simply a matter of following the measurements I'd already made.
Sadly I didn't take any pictures of the sewing process, but I can describe it here in case you're trying to make your own pennant.
I made a copy of each flag. One was kept as a master copy, the other cut apart for pattern making. I only cut a 1/4" to 1/8" seam allowance around each piece. Then overlap each piece by the seam allowance, pin, baste, and zig-zag to finish the edges. Cut away any overlap on the back.
I really was tempted to cut out each cross by hand and zig zag them on the above flag, but decided I'd try acrylic paint first. Thank goodness the paint worked so well. I wasn't looking forward to that much topstitching.
The lines in the middle of these crescents are zig zags, however. I like the way the alternate colors turned out too! I don't have pictures of the third pennant, but I promise it exists! Each flag was finished with two grommets at the top to thread rope to a pole.
I'll also have to wait until the next Faire to take a photo of the new penants in actions. They're easy enough to make I may supply the court with more in the coming Fairs.
As a librarian by day, I am no stranger to research and gathering information. As a successful post graduate I also know once you think you've plumbed the depths of current information a new source pops up.
So, it was little to no surprise that my first serious foray into researching actual costume construction (instead of cobbling together my sewing skills, Pinterest, and general thriftiness) yielded no less than 12 books to source. There was no way in heck I was paying $25-$50 for each book from Amazon, though that is where I did my initial research to find them. Inter-library loan to the rescue!
I've looked through 8 books so far, copied the pertinent pages, and even bought one that was particularly useful. Or at least it had shiny colorful pages:
Here are links to the others I've had the chance to look through and recommend:
Besides, I believe in my last blog post I said I would post sources for "L"'s actual purple dress. So, below is a complete list of where I got materials, patterns, and inspiration for that particular dress.
And believe it or not, that was the end of my inspiration online. The rest came as I was sewing. I really was copying another dress I had so it was pretty easy. And yes! The dress is done! I'll be doing a series of posts next on how that went. Hopefully after that comes updates on my husband's doublet. We've had illnesses and family deaths, so things are going a bit slower there. In the mean time, here's a preview of the purple dress reborn:
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!