Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Summer is coming and so are the Renaissance Fairs!

Why do they call them Renaissance Fairs when most people are dressed in Elizabethan era clothing? Of course, that's not always true...I have seen people wearing victorian era corsets with quasi-Medieval sleeves and skirts, Harry Potter Hogswarts robes and of course the ever popular fairy wings. So technically, they should be called "Fantasy Fairs"....but I digress...

My sons want to attend the Sterling Renaissance Fair this summer, which is about a 2-hour drive from us. Elizabethan era is not usually my favorite, but I decided that as long as I was going to the fair, I may as well be dressed properly. Yes, yes, I know my ADCD is kicking in once again (Attention Deficit Costume Disorder), and yes, I am still going to finish the 18th century jacket I started, but I have started to create an Elizabethan ensemble that I figure if I start it now, counting on my attention span, I should have it finished by the time of the fair.

As always, I start at the foundation with a "payre of bodies" and a shift - although I made the bodies first and am now working on the shift. At first I was going to try using one of the patterns in "The Tudor Tailor", but then I decided to use my Simplicity 2621 pattern, as it is a pretty good commercial pattern version of an Elizabethan pair of bodies, and it was easier for me to tweak that pattern than trying to enlarge and tweak the pattern from "The Tudor Tailor".

I always have to shorten everything because I have a VERY short waist...I ran into an issue when I had everything together and I tried it on - the top was too close together, and the bottom was too far apart, so I had to put a "piece" in the back (which you can kind of see here). It seemed to work out okay, and I'm sure it was a period practice if someone needed more room in their pair of bodies.

The lining is red linen. The outside is some kind of brocade that is either a silk blend or a silk look-alike. The binding is silk, lacing eyelets are cotton embroidery thread, and the whole thing is hand sewn.

The busk in the front is a paint stick, LOL! Eventually I will make one out of hardwood once the weather gets warmer and I can get out to the garage and my power tools!

The finished bodies on Alma, over an 18th century shift. I'll take more pictures once I finish the proper shift.


Anonymous said...

They turned out beautifully! I also have this pattern and a short torso. :P
This is just the boost I needed to get to work on my own Elizabethan undergarments. Are you using the Simplicity pattern for the shift as well, or a seperate design?

Joan said...

My apologies for having taken so long to respond to your post! I actually used the smock generator from to make the shift. I first made a long-sleeved, low, square-necked shift, and it came out nicely. Then I decided I wanted one with a high neck and ruffle, and puffier sleeves with ruffles at the end, so I made a second one :-)

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