In which eyelets and buttonholes are the devil, but we persevere.

It’s been a busy two months, and I’ve definitely been all over the place. I feel like I have a lot to sum up, so forgive me if this post is less coherent than usual.

Firstly, I did finish the sleeves on my Renaissance Faire gown. There were yet more eyelets involved. I wanted to throw things.

Lacing Eyelets

But I finished everything and it looked pretty, and then I got to wear it in the 85 degree weather, so I was happy, albeit slightly dead from the heat.





Once again I had people thinking I worked at the Faire. On the final weekend that I went with some friends I kept getting asked for directions while I stood outside shops with my tea while my friends looked at merchandise. It’s flattering in a so-good-you-fit-in kind of way.

I also finished a pirate outfit for my dad, so I dressed up as a pirate with him for the Pirate themed weekend of the Faire.


Looking at the photos, I feel like the fit of his outfit is off, though it’s not as obvious in person as it looks in the photos. I used the Simplicity Jack Sparrow pattern, and the vest sizing was basically for someone the size of The Rock, and while my dad is barrel-chested, The Rock he is not, so I had to fiddle with the vest quite a bit. I obviously need to practice menswear some more. The vest also involved buttonholes. I once again wanted to throw things.


He spent a good half an hour picking out this hat at the faire while I held his IPA and threatened to drink it on him.

After I finished those two things that had been on my plate for a while I wanted to take a break and do some less-intense projects (with less eyelets and buttonholes) so I started out by making a new dress with this awesome map fabric that I stumbled upon at JoAnn’s!



I get so many compliments on this dress when I wear it, even though I swear map-print dresses aren’t a new idea. I’ve definitely seem them somewhere before…

I also made a few ribbon cockades for some Faire people, and a sash to wear with an outfit for an alt-fashion conference this past weekend, but I didn’t get good photos of those.

The other project I completed was a headdress inspired by medieval icon paintings, and ones that I’ve seen on the runway. I made this out of a headband, some wooden dowels, gold spray paint, fake flowers, and lots of hot glue.



Turns out I wasn’t the only one who wanted one of these saintly crowns, because I saw at least two other people at the conference with similar headdresses. They must be in this season.

I think that’s most of what’s been going on for the past two months. It’s probably going to be another two months before I post again, because I’m going away for a week in November, and of course the holidays are right after, but I usually get a lot of sewing done around the holidays since I’m off work, so hopefully afterwards I’ll have something good to post! I hope to keep it to one project per post in the future.

For now I leave you with a photo of some of the supplies I picked up at the Rev War reenactment back in August. Can’t wait to play with these soon!


Court Gown Update: It’s Wearable…

A year later (and several projects in between) I’ve been able to get my Elizabethan court gown in complete enough condition to wear it to the first Faire of the season.

I finally finished sewing the cartridge pleated skirt onto the waistband and added closures.

Cartridge Pleats

I put eyelets in the bodice using an awl, and had a bit of trouble since the fabric is polyester (gasp!) and the bodice is several layers.


I intended to add wings on the shoulders temporarily until I can get my shoulder rolls figured out, but I just started getting burned out, so I left the shoulder straps bare for the time being. I did have to add a privacy panel in the back, because somehow my bodice shrank as I sewed it. I swear it was just the right size when I first started this project (I’ve gained a little bit of weight, but no inches on my waist, so shrinkage is the only explanation).


I also desperately needed a hat, and felt that if I didn’t have one, there would be no point in wearing the gown, since without a hat the outfit would look even more incomplete than it already is without the sleeves and shoulder rolls. So two days before the Faire, I drafted up a pattern using the Elizabethan bonnet instructions in The Tudor Tailor.


I used the same fabric as the front panel of my skirt, and lined it in a heavy twill, as well as adding interfacing in the brim. I finished it off with a burgundy braid around the band, and an ostrich feather I’ve had hanging around waiting to go on an Elizabethan hat. Somehow I got the math wrong and the band came out shorter than the inside circumference of the brim. I didn’t have the time or energy to remake the brim, so I sort of forced it to fit, making the brim a little wavy in the back. Maybe I will redo it for the next Faire…

hat3Then it was wearing time!



We had nasty storms the night before the Faire, so when we showed up there were scary mud puddles everywhere. Luckily the sun was out and it quickly dried the puddles. I had just enough time to be grateful before the heat set in and I started to regret wearing a dress entirely made of polyester.

Trying to stay cool in the shade.

Trying to stay cool in the shade.

But we got to watch the always enchanting Vixens en Garde, take in the joust, watch a pirate brawl, and listen to Three Pints Shy before I tossed in the hat, surrendered to the heat, and sent my driver for the car so that we could limp home in the air conditioning.

Bonus photos!

I was the victim of severe derp face.

I was the victim of severe derp face.

When you get home from the Faire, and two minutes later you're like...

When you get home from the Faire, and two minutes later you’re like…

Hopefully I will have sleeves and shoulder rolls for the next Faire in August!

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 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.

Fitted English Gown outfit WIP

Fitted English Gown outfit WIP

I wore this to a brand-new local Renaissance Festival. This outfit still needs a proper kirtle and sleeves, and possibly a different hat, but I wanted to test it out and see how I liked it. It’s really very comfortable and I got a ton of compliments! Again, the fabric on this isn’t accurate for the period of the gown, but I take my historical costuming with a touch of whimsy, and I just love the overall effect. I’m thinking though, that I want to make the kirtle a dark green. I’m still unsure what to do about the sleeves, though.