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mia's costume diaries

renfest costume

a not-very-accurate renaissance costume
started July 2007

Here in Minnesota, we have a very popular Renaissance Festival.  I've gone once a few years ago and enjoyed it, but have never gone in costume.  A group of friends and I have decided to go this year, but I want to experience it in costume.  So, the RenFest costume idea was born.
And, as always, I'm all about the doing-things-for-cheap!  So, my cost breakdown is at the bottom of this page.
I'm using Simplicity pattern 5582.  The picture of the one I'm making is below.


I will definitely not be doing it in those nightmarish colors.  I've chosen a tan/brown palette.  I found some cotton that will do just fine (even though cotton was not used very much back then...I don't have the money for linen, sue me). 

my diaries

Monday, September 17, 2007
I got annoyed with the shortness of my skirt, so I added some length today.  I also pre-washed the shirt and skirt to get a little more wear on them.  I go next weekend to the Fest, so I'm excited!  Now...what to do with my hair...
Saturday, August 4, 2007
I looked online for a good bag pattern.  I need something to cart stuff around and I don't have anything now that's suitable.  So, I wandered around the internet looking for fabric bag patterns.  I landed on this one and really liked how the tutorial was written and it looked like I had everything that was needed.  So, off I went.  I pulled some brown fabrics from my big fabric box.  I had a suede-y brown that I thought would do nicely for the outside fabric.  It didn't take me long to make and the end result is pretty good.  I'll put pictures up as soon as I can.  The only thing I didn't have was cording for the straps, so to get the effect, I just used some leftover bias tape I had.  But, I'll get to the store sometime this week and get cording to make it a bit more practical. 
Friday, August 3, 2007
Yay, I'm done!  Well, alright...I want to make a purse-like bag to be able to take things with me, but I'm done with the costume itself.  Today, I ripped out the waistband of both skirts (under and over) and sewed them together as one skirt.  So much better!  Now, I'm able to work with the fabric to put the bunches in the right places.  Yay!  I also tried covering the grommets today with thread, but it just created too small a hole for the cord I bought for the tie.  So, I scrapped that idea.  I hemmed up the skirt as short as I lands just above my ankle now.  Now when I'm wearing the outfit, I feel sort of Hobbit-ish.  :)  Pictures are below!


I think this a better representation of the actual color.

The vest with the shirt underneath

Full costume

Full Costume


Monday, July 30, 2007
Oh, the vest was going swimmingly, until I didn't have enough bias tape to finish the trim.  For some reason, the pattern didn't ask for enough, or I read the pattern wrong.  Oh, well...trip to the fabric store for me.  After getting the extra trim, I finished off the top in no time.  I put the grommets in and laced it up to try it on.  And the darts looked silly.  So, I ripped out a little bit to make them even.  That made it much better.  I might want to try covering the grommets...
I tried on the skirt again, now with the overskirt.  It's just too much bulk!  I look like I'm pregnant...and I'm not!  So, I cut out the lining I added and that helped...but the skirt isn't cooperating now.  I'll look at it later this week.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
I got the overskirt finished today.  And I started on the vest.  I'm really pleased with the look of the vest already.  I had that fabric in my stash and really like how it's looking. 
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Started work on the costume today...well, ok, last night.  I cut out all the fabric pieces last night so I could start sewing today.  I started with the shirt.  It went together very quickly and fit just fine.  I then started on the skirt.  I decided to try an inner petticoat lining.  I had some white muslin lying around, so I cut the skirt pattern out of that as well.  I sewed that and the underskirt together to make one double-layer skirt.  As soon as I tried it on, I realized that it wasn't going to work.  The bulk it created was just too much for my waist.  I want to at least look like I have some sort of waist...  But, I'll leave it in until I get the overskirt done.
Friday, July 27, 2007
I bought the pattern yesterday that I've been looking at for a few weeks now.  It looks to be pretty simple.  So, today, I headed back to my favorite fabric store and bought the fabric I needed.  I found some pretty nice quilting cotton that I think will do just fine for the blouse and two skirts.  I figure if I need another layer of skirt (for fullness/non-see-through-ness), I can use the muslin I have at home.  This is the first costume I've made that uses boning.  It's only used to stabilize the front lace-up part, but it'll be interesting to see how it works out.  My mom gave me some tapestry/jacquard fabric about a year ago that I've been wanting to do something with, and it'll work nicely for the vest here.  I'll be using a dark brown for the under skirt, a tan for the overskirt, an off-white for the blouse and that beige jacquard for the vest.  I didn't buy any lace for the blouse.  I wanted to make it pretty plain. 
While looking through some Renaissance costuming sites, I've discovered that a lot of people use what they call "Kung Fu" shoes for their footwear.  I discovered that those are the Chinese shoes that I've had in my wardrobe for years.  I have a pair of blue ones that I'll use for this costume if I can't get my hands on some plain ones before I wear it. 
So, I'll probably get started on this costume within the next few days. 

cost breakdown

Costume Part
What was used
Length/How many


short-sleeve shirt
natural (non-dyed) quilter's cotton
bias tape and elastic
2 1/2 yds
1 pkg each


lace-up vest
beige jacquard
bias tape trim
1 yd
2 yds
2 pkgs
10 grommets
2 yds


overskirt, underskirt
tan quilter's cotton
deep brown quilter's cotton
bias tape
3 1/2 yds
3 1/2 yds
1 pkg


blue velvet chinese mary-jane flats
1 pair


tan suede-y fabric
brown lining
1/2 yd
1/2 yd
2 grommets
4 yds


Total Cost
as of Sept 17, 2007


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