The Secret Project: Pink and Black Ren Faire Garb

I didn’t really mean to go so long between posts, but I was working on a project that was intended as a surprise to a friend, so I didn’t want to post anything about it.

Back in September a friend of mine mentioned as we were leaving the Faire that she thought it would be more fun to attend if she had an outfit to wear. Cue my brain thinking of all the pieces she had liked at the vendors and laughing maniacally over how much fun it would be to surprise her.

The finished outfit.

The finished outfit.

So I set out to make a three-piece outfit for her to wear to the next Faire (which at this point is still six months away, mind you, but one can never prepare too early for the Faire).

Back in November I accidentally found a pink and black damask fabric on sale at fabric.com that matched my friend’s aesthetic perfectly (I actually sent capital letter-ridden messages to my bf after I found it because I could not contain my excitement). The fabric is just a thin polyester satin, but the print is so spot-on that I didn’t care. I lined the bodice with two layers of a heavy cotton twill as well as interfacing to give it enough strength, and then the front panels are boned with zip ties from the hardware store–a trick I’ve been hearing about online. They work really well! They’re stronger than the plastic boning you buy at JoAnn’s, but less expensive than the metal boning from corset suppliers, and since this bodice is only meant to be snug, not shaping like a corset, they were a nice alternative.

Bodice close up.

Bodice close up.

The blouse is made of black gauze and the skirt is made of a black jacquard that unfortunately has a bit of a stretch, but again, the jacquard was exactly what I was looking for, so I grabbed it up. I figure Faire garb is about a look with a bit of fantasy and a bit of history mixed, so I wasn’t too concerned with fiber contents or weaving techniques.

For the blouse I altered the Simplicity 3809 pattern so that the sleeves are short and come to a point. For the bodice I used the Simplicity 9966 pattern, which, WARNING!, leaves four inches of ease, meaning your “fitted” bodice comes out four inches bigger than your actual measurements. I’m guessing that might be part of the reason that pattern is out of print now… The skirt is my own pattern that’s basically made of six sort of kite-shaped pieces to give it an uneven hem.

Outfit back.

Outfit back.

The finished outfit doesn’t look like much on my dress form, since my friend is a different size than I am, but it looks great on her! She was totally surprised, and she actually cried (which I couldn’t decide whether to feel guilty or happy about).

I also got to use my new eyelet pliers for the first time, which I’m going to do a more detailed post about later. The instructions that came on the card back with the pliers were not terribly explicit and included only vague illustrations, and the how-to posts I found online after a quick search were not much more illuminating. I thought it might be helpful to have a step-by-step illustrated post about using them.

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