Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Medieval Gown - Orange / Red Ensemble

Well, it’s not much of a dress anymore. I did make a dress, out of orange cotton polyester fabric. However, I am not completely happy with how it turned out. For a start it was supposed to have a certain style of sleeve, but I did not have enough fabric when I was cutting it out even though I bought the correct amount as per the instructions on the back of the packet. Anyway, I made it with a straight sleeve, but it really needs some more work done to it.

But moving on, I decided to keep that dress for improvements (maybe for next year as I have tonnes of time to work on it now) and move to a new outfit instead. Not a dress this time. I am using the shirt from my puss in boots costume as it is from a robin hood style pattern (appropriate to the time period). And I made a boned vest to go over it. I deviated from the original pattern, I believe it was a gypsy style, by sewing it with 3 layers; exterior, shapewell interfacing and lining fabric. I put it together like you would with a corset, by sewing the panels together with wrong sides together. I then trimmed the seam down and stitched bias binding tape as a casing for boning over the top of the seam. I used black as a nice contrast to the red of the fabric and to match my puss shirt which is black with red ties for the forearm. I did have to make a few adjustments like cutting away the seam allowance on the straps as I would jut be using bias binding to finish the edges. The next step was to create the back of the bodice as I wanted it to lace up instead of using a zip. I cut this down to remove the seam allowance and folded it over to create a self-facing piece which I covered the stitching of with another piece of boning casing. I then bound around the armhole and neckline with the bias binding. I stitched the shoulder seams in place and added the binding to cover the seam. I then added a lovely 26 black hole eyelets down the back.

I then added some little black buttons sewn where the shoulder strap meets the bodice to cover my dodgy sewing mix up. I should have used the binding on the angle to make it neater, but did not at the time. I also intend to use the buttons in the future as a place to have a cape attached to the bodice without being strangled by ties. I will just sew little button holes to fit on the cape itself and the will hook over the buttons.

I finished the bodice off by stuffing boning into the casings I made. I used heavy duty boning (the strongest plastic stuff I can get) over the bust line and down the back, and the regular boning (from Spotlight – also plastic) in side seams and the back panel seams. This will help to create a nice line when wearing the outfit, so that the bodice will not crease and bend in the wrong places. I then bound the bottom edge of the vest with the black bias binding, and black ribbon cording to lace up the back. This I did the same as you would with a corset: ie. Two laces meeting in the middle. It makes it much easier to lace up as you can even out the lacing tightness easier.

To complete the outfit, I will be wearing black pants and my boots. They’re not really historically accurate boots, but I want to be comfortable and that is the best thing that I have. I was thinking about adding my musketeer sword, but that will just annoy me all day.
So happy with how this finally turned out. I probably could have put a bit more effort into making the vest, but I thought that I was running out time and tried to hurry it along (big mistake). But now I can go back and fix it for the next time. Basically ¾ pants, puss in boots shirt, vest and stockings. My footwear became sneakers (for comfort) instead of boots, but I was comfortable. (If only I had someone who could lace it for me properly.)

As I mentioned before, I wanted to be comfortable for the day, so I just pulled my hair back with a piece of ribbon to keep it out of my face and food for the whole day. Note to self – next year prepare a hat or parasol of some kind. I got a little bit sunburnt sitting out and watching the tournaments and the jousts.

We saw many amazing costumes, so I am already staring to think of outfits for next year. But aside from that it was amazing. There is always something for you to do. Aside from the market stalls (I did spend quite a bit on honey mead – 18% alcohol and jewellery) there is always something to watch. From dancing lessons to medieval games, fencing, music, jousts and tournaments. The stalls were also amazing. Huge range of weaponry (for the men) and me, as well as jewellery, food and leatherwork. Plus heaps more stuff to see. And everything is set up to look exactly like the period. The stallholders and re-enactors even camp there and have whole tents set up. I cannot wait until next year.  

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