That's how the saying goes, right? By the title, you guessed it: I was asked to make a Renaissance dress, and I'll be getting paid for it! Woo hoo! I still don't count myself a professional...yet.
So here's the story: last fall at the Great Plains Renaissance Festival a new person started volunteering. She was "recruited" by her co-worker, one of the Festival Royal Court regulars. Kate wasn't volunteering last fall, so this introvert drudged up all her socializing skills and started a conversation. This new volunteer - code name "L" to protect the innocent - was wearing a borrowed dress which was all polyester. She couldn't come back the next day due to heat stroke and I thought that was the end of it.
But no - she was serious! And had talked to the resident court tailor, Lady Diane. Lady Diane has provided custom costumes to the royal court for years, and charges a fair rate for it, but this was sadly more than "L" could afford. Plus Lady Diane's son was marrying the daughter of the umbrella seller just one tent over (Yes, in real life. Yes, like a fairy tale!) and was busy making costumes for that wedding to take place in the spring.
I had assumed Liza found a costume to wear, but through the grape vine I got in contact with her after I learned Lady Diane was busy. "L" was looking at a listing on Etsy that, while beautiful, wouldn't have worn comfortably all day. And at around $350 I knew I could make one just as nice for much less in initial material cost.
I've collected free costume pattern sources that have worked for me over the years, but that's another blog post. Anyway, after tossing out a completed dress cost, I officially had a dress commission! I knew I wanted to use silk, so I had "L" pick out an Amazon listing right away, since the sellers take about a month to ship a sari from India. In the mean time, I had "L" narrow down her costume choices through some sketches. I am no artist.
Apparently I got my point across, because "L" came back the next day with choices made! I used some fairly crude skills in Microsoft Paint and Publisher and did a mock up of her style choices with the fabric she had chosen.
The fabric itself is silk, with white cotton underneath. To keep costs down I used the same trick for getting cheap silk as I did for the green/black dresses. "L" picked out the fabric she wanted right away, but it took nearly a month to arrive, which is about normal.
I'll go over sources for free online patterns, silk saris, cheap cotton, and all the other supplies that go into making a dress. Just not in this post. :)
So, in the near future, look for updates on this dress and that outfit for my husband. I'm still working on that one, even though he's tried to change his mind on the design more often than your classic pop diva. Sigh.
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!