Thursday, May 2, 2013

2013 Escondido Renaissance Faire Ensemble

In the faraway land of Escondido, California there came to be a Renaissance Faire held twice yearly for the fun and entertainment of all that chose to attend.   This is the story of a gown that went to Faire….

This ensemble may be a precursor piece to my Costume College “Cavalier” project.  I started with the Simplicity 1773 for my Overgown and then used the Burda 2493 for my Undergown. 

Starting with the Overgown, it was pretty easy overall, but time consuming for the slashed sleeves.   I made one big change, in that I hand set grommets down the front of the bodice instead of the called for ribbon, as I knew the fabric I was going to use needed grommets.  Also, I would suggest using your “fashion fabric” to line the slashed sleeves as well.

About five years ago I had commissioned a renaissance gown to be custom made.  I had seen some fabric used for a gown worn by “Anne Boleyn” on the Cable TV series “The Tudors” that I later actually found and purchased for this commissioned gown.  The skirt alone took six yards of this upholstery-weight tapestry brocade and it weighed a ton.  So much so, that it collapsed each of the three different hoop skirts I tried.  See, this is where I had to admit there are limitations to what fabric can do – while my imagination is limitless and all-possible, a twenty pound top skirt in this fabric just was not going to work.  (in fairness, AB’s skirt was not a hoop – they must have known something I learned later – lol)  So, I had packed this skirt away years ago, and it was that skirt that I used to make this new Overdress!   This Overdress is all one piece, where the bodice and skirt are attached.  It can probably be worn with a small hoop skirt or bumroll, if you added more fabric to the skirt, you can probably wear a larger hoopskirt.  My Underdress is also all one piece, but a separate chemise and underskirt will work just as well. 

Next, I needed something for the Undergown.  I decided that I could use a Regency era gown, and with a little tweaking, it should work for an elegant Undergown.   I wanted a fabric that was complimentary, but strongly contrasting, to the Overgown.  So, I decided on a dark teal shade in a textured gauze fabric.  I love gauze, I just do not like sewing with it.  To me, it’s like a wild animal; it is all over the place with a four-way stretch.  So, I used matching teal cotton sateen lining for body and structure.  Also, I lengthened the sleeves.  Where you see the ribbon is where the sleeves are suppose to end.  Lastly, it makes no allowance for larger cup sizes in the bodice if you wanted to wear traditional undergarments.   

This Regency gown (view B) is not period correct by design, but you can probably pull it that way if you opted to go with drawstrings instead of elastic, which is what I did for the bodice, but I did use elastic for the sleeves (oh my!).   This project was super easy even with the lining, which I added – start to finish was five hours.  The time consuming part was sewing in the drawstring/elastic casing.  Plus, I decided to make my own bias-cut double fold tape from the teal sateen for the neckline casing just so everything would match color-wise.  Two notations:  First, period correct undergarments will make this gown look much better.  Secondly, I would lengthen the sleeves.   Enjoy!