Ren Fest Costumes

My friends and I got together for a day at the Renaissance Fair. This should be a fun sewing opportuity  for me, but I have to admit, it drives me crazy. Half of me wants to study the period it’s set in and go Historically Accurate, the other half wants to go full out fantasy.  Que internal battling, dozens of hours on pinterest trying to decide, several calls into the bff and one extremely stressed out me. I do this every freaking time. This usually leaves me with a week to a few days to get my costume together.

Of course, I’d volunteered to dress my friends too, so here’s what we all eventually decided on.

Dragon knight

To match the theme of the helmet she bought last year, I made a knight’s tabard. To mimic chainmaile I used this old cloak that my mom had bought from party city eons ago. It was made of this strange, silvery, meshy, stretchy material and the cloak itself was torn and old. I squeezed out just enough and I think it got the point across!

081085(This is my favorite shot! I love the sun bleeding though)

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Poisoned Rose Corset

This is the first part of what will eventually be a full costume, but all we had time for was the corset. Made of a rose pattered green jacquard and boned with steel, my friend paired it with faux leather pants and a lovely black shirt.

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Dragon Queen

This is what I finally decided on (obviously I went with fantasy in the end) Floor length sleeves mimic wings and the shoulders and top of the bodice are adorned with dozens of black scales and dripping silver chains. I cut out the scales individually out of some sturdy black satin then ran the edges above a candle flame to seal it. The stomach is designed to look like a dragons chest and stomach scales.

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I really wanted to get pictures that looked more, I dunno, Fierce? You know to fit the whole dragon queen idea of the dress. Sigh, it can really suck to have such a baby face. Last night I was running a quick Irish dance show at a pub that just opened. I walk in and greet the owner. She say’s “oh! The dancers! Great I was just looking for you!” and walks right past me and goes to my mother. I am twenty four years old, darn it, my mom was only there because she and my dad enjoy getting out and having a drink at these events, and half the time no one believes I’m in charge because they assume I’m sixteen or so.

Anyway, that little anecdote out of the way, I’d like to find a new setting to shoot some more pictures of this dress. I don’t *love* it, but I put so much work into that I think it deserves some better pictures. Anyone have a dragon I could borrow for a photo shoot? Please? I’ll return it, I swear. Maybe.

Some of my Favorite Resources For Medieval/Fantasy Writers

Since I’m currently reworking my main manuscript I’ve been critiquing every aspect of the world I’ve created, trying to give it the edge of accuracy. Much of my world is (like the majority of fantasy) based on Medieval Europe precepts (but, you know, with Demons… =D ) Obviously I have worked hard to make this a unique land with its own cultures and customs but the historical accuracy nerd inside me won’t be content until I make some of this worlds’ aspects line up with their real world counterparts.

My main concern is hierarchy, both in a court/castle setting and in the military. I’m still struggling with Medieval military rankings, from my reasearch it seems like one hot mess! Might be time to create my own army ranks and structure, after all, fantasy writer!

But for everything else I have come across these sites that offer a ton of fantastic information.

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This site offers a description of dozens of Medieval characters, raging from nobility, gentry peasants, clergy, etc. with an explanation of their place in things. Honestly wish I had found this one sooner!

Medieval People, Titles, Positions, Trades & Classes

http://www.lscacamp.org/Portals/0/Medieval%20People.pdf

Compiled by Tammie Pattie

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This one is great for understanding how titles work

A Quick And Dirty Guide To Feudal Nobility

http://dankoboldt.com/feudal-nobility-guide/

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Dictionary of Medieval Words

Tired of every medieval-based character carrying a boring old sword? Pick out one of the more interesting named weapons from this list of ‘Medieval Words’. It also includes the parts of a castle and of knights armor.

http://medieval.stormthecastle.com/medieval-words.htm

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Ye Olde Medieval English Terms

And to finish off, I’ve always loved old-fashioned slang (Though my favorite is Victorian!) So here is well put together list of Medieval slang, sure to bring color to any manuscript!

http://www.citrus.k12.fl.us/staffdev/Social%20Studies/PDF/Medieval%20English.pdf

 

Well, now that we have all this knowledge, what are you waiting for?

Hahaha!!!!:

 

Evil Queen Photo Shoot

A week or so ago, my friend stopped by with the Evil Queen Regina dress that I had made her for her birthday/Halloween. It’s first outing had been at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party which unfortunately rained us out pretty good so we never got great pictures.

We took advantage of a sudden cold spell to run to a nearby park and snapped some great pictures!

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 I’m still thrilled with how it came out, though I wish I had made it just a little longer. There was a reason for its length though, since this was debuted at Disney I didn’t want it to drag the ground or, worse, get caught in any rides!

Christmas Photo Shoot

After a sudden idea and a quick frenzy of sewing I got two of my friends together and held a small Christmas themed photo shoot. I had different ideas for each costume; mine was traditional. A Victorian bustle dress in the seasonal colors. The second was also a Victorian (inspired) gown but with a more Steampunk twist, my colors inspiration for this one was cinnamon; crimsons, browns, and coppers. The third costume was more fantasy, inspired by Yule and the older celebrations of winter. I called it Evergreen, the Spirit of the Winter solstice. This was done in black and green with a collar of ivy on the cloak and a matching headdress.

 

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And what costume would be complete without a matching one for the dog?

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And some of the behind the scenes pictures!

"No. More. PICTURES."

“No. More. PICTURES.”

"You said photo 'shoot' right?"

“You said photo ‘shoot’ right?”

Molly lost her nerve in the dark park and needed a little cuddling.

Molly lost her nerve in the dark park and needed a little cuddling.

 

Sadly our preparation took so long I didn’t get the pictures I really wanted in the park. We rushed out the door as the sun was sinking, certain we were going to be too late, as the parks close at sunset. But we had some luck! The park was open late for some game and we were able to take advantage of the forested area. This was perfect for the Evergreen photos but not really for the two Victorians. We certainly had fun though so that’s definitely what matters more.

The corset for the Evergreen costume will be for sale on my Etsy page shortly. Here are some close ups of the costumes!

006The Evergreen Corset, the color is washed out since I was too lazy to take a proper picture ;). It’s forest green and black the green lace panel is sewn over black taffeta so the black subtly shines through and the main fabric is green shot with black, very pretty! It’s steel boned and laces up in the back with silver grommets. Slightly larger that Sue here so it’s only pinned and thus looks loose.

001 I ended up leaving the bullet baldric off, I’d originally considered putting candy canes through the loops but never got around to buying them. This was cobbled together from several pieces, the only costume I didn’t make from scratch for the shoot. However, I loved how it went together! Definitely want to use this again.

 

And A few more shots of my dress; I admit it, I’m VERY proud of it. I need a proper bustle cage, here I simply used a bustle pad and after a while it just stopped working, (which, of course, made it more appropriate for the natural era style bodice I’m wearing, but HA wasn’t my main concern here, I just kinda did whatever I wanted!) but the dress itself made me extremely happy! Except those wrinkles on the green panels … I’m properly corseted and the jacket top is not even tight or pulling, WHY DOTH THOU WRINKLE??

I can’t help but be extremely critical of my work and as I get better I’ll probably look at this and gasp in horror that I wore it but whatever, I wish I had another reason to wear it!

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My bustle deflated after driving to and from the park.

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I’m grateful to my friends for being willing to help me with these silly projects, they endure pins I’ve left in the costumes, a burnt ear from the heated hair curlers, and being forced to stump around in the dark posing. Can’t believe they still talk to me, actually!

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“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a family possessing dogs will never again take a picture without a dog wandering into the scene.”

Fantasy Necklaces Photography Practice

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Photography. Some people make it look so easy.

 029Washed out and glare-y.

For me this is the hardest part of sewing or crafting, I struggle so much with getting good pictures that sometimes it doesn’t seem worth the bother!

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And here’s one with the old camera:

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Does anyone else struggle with taking good photos of their creations? I’m slowly getting better but this is definitely my least favorite part! All the necklaces shown above are for sale on my Etsy page https://www.etsy.com/shop/LadyShredsDesigns?ref=hdr_shop_menu

 

Elven Tunic Dress for Photoshoot

I’ve been lazy about posting pictures, sorry! A photoshoot is still in the works and I’ve finally managed to finish one of the costumes. This is an Elven Archer dress/tunic/thing and it will be for sale after the photo shoot.

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It is made of olive faux suede, it is fully lined and all but the side seams are boned (side seams are not boned for fitting adjustment purposes)

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the split three paneled skirt is sewn to the bodice and lined with brown cotton. I shouldn’t need to point out that it is intended to be worn with leggings.

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Lacing eyelets are handsewn. The darker fabric has a very color changing quality to it and depending on the lighting can look either dark green, brown, or even gray, a real cloth o’ the woods.

More details to follow.

 I’ve been doing a ton of sewing lately so check back!

Gothic Corset and the Page 100 Happy Dance

Normally after finishing one of those hectic spells of sewing I don’t even want to look at a sewing machine, much less turn it on and sew something. Not this time. I woke up on March 18th with the absolute need to sew something. With a mostly blank sewing schedule in front of me, I’ve decided to plan a proper photo shoot to properly document some of my costumes. I’ve recruited my friend who in turn talked to a photographer so now its up to me to provide some costumes.

For this shoot I’m mostly going to make two main, brand new costumes. I gave my friend the option to choose whatever she wanted to be as long as it was unique and fantastical. She chose vampire faery.

Ok.

I guess I can work with that.

The main piece will be the corset and the rest will be built up of ragged layers. I was glad to give my corsetry skills a bit of work, they needed it!

Fantasy corset, vaguely late Victorian.

Fantasy corset, vaguely late Victorian.

This is the third actual corset I’ve made and it’s a huge improvement from the first two. There’s still room for improvement but at least this is a sellable piece.

this may or may not be laced up with an old lace from my Irish Dance Ghillies.

this may or may not be laced up with an old lace from my Irish Dance Ghillies.

Note the handsewn eye holes for lacing. (I once swore that I would never do this and that you had to be insane to attempt it, now I won’t do it any other way)

We don’t have a date for the photo shoot yet but I’ll keep you updated on the costume progress.

On top of my sewing I’ve been making major headway in my current manuscript. I got bogged down for a while, then St. Patrick’s day shoved it aside. Now I’m back on top of it and I just passed page 100! A minor victory but I can’t help but congratulate myself whenever I hit a hundred pages. Somehow that just makes it more ‘real’ to me. ‘All right, If you’ve made it to 100 pages you can finish this. Look at how much you’ve already written and don’t be scared by how much you have left to write.’