But I promised you a DIY renaissance festival princess dress and that you shall have, warts and all.
I started with a sketch after pouring over my favorite Elizabethan costuming books working backwards by buying the fabric first and coming up with a dress design second. I like to work the other way around.
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I started with the overskirt and underskirt (forepart) first. I attempted hand embroidering the brown velvet trim but didn’t liker my test pieces, not to mention that kind of hand embroidery means an extra year for construction I didn’t have.
That was all the motivation I needed to buy the Brother sewing and embroidery machine I’ve had my eye on for quire awhile. It was a good choice because I machine embroidered the trim by modifying one of the built in embroidery patterns. I also used it to sew the dress and I’m happy to say it sews heavy fabrics very well.
I’m going to remove the green gems, because they look cheap and feel out of place since I’m not playing royalty. Although gems or no, if you wear a noble dress at a Ren Faire, patrons will always ask if you are the Queen. Truth.
The pink roll is a hip pad (also called a bum roll) and is worn under the skirts to create the illusion of large child bearing hips that were oh so fashionable in Queen Elizabeth’s day.
This bodice is such a train wreck! I plan to remake it.
I used Alteryears Easy Noblemans/Noblewoman's Shirt Pattern to build the chemise and added gold trim to the collar and cuffs.
I hot glued new feathers to the top of my seen better days feather fan, and made the girdle (belt) by taking apart clearance rack statement necklaces and restring them with pearls. I’m not 100% happy with the result because I think the shiny gold looks cheap. Do you know how I can darken or antique it?
The easiest way to hide my hot pink hair was under a wig. This was an exercise in experimentation that worked. I used foam rollers to make hair pads and pinned costume jewelry into the wig as accents. As you can see the Elizabethans loved their pearls!
Like I said before, I’m not happy with the final costume because it makes me feel more like a Playtron than cast member even though it was approved for me to wear. Then again, this show has fantasy characters in the cast and they have a couple of theme weekends where patrons can wear whatever period, character, or cosplay they want (which is totally fine. You paid to get in and to have fun so rock on!)
I will use what I learned on this costuming project to make a new Elizabethan costume from a gorgeous remnant I just bought at Old Time Pottery when shopping for fabric Husband's new noble costume.
Follow me @condoblues on Instagram to see my project progress in real time!
Did I mention I have zero willpower when it comes to buying gorgeous costume fabric? Well I do.
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