Ever since about 9th grade, I had this silly idea kicking around in the back of my head that it would fun to dress up and be part of a Renaissance Fair. It was a fun thing to research when procrastinating homework. I never thought about it seriously until years later when my town got its first Faire! I got super pysched, signed up for volunteer positions, and was all set.
Now I just needed a costume.
I had done a small bit of sewing as a kid, and for the summer had access to a sewing machine. With a lot of enthusiasm and no clue what I was doing, I started to wander around the Internet. I decided to be a peasant, because it would be cheapest and also because Elizabethan clothing was definitely not designed to be worn in August in the American South.
The following posts will detail exactly how I put together my costume using mostly materials from Joanns and Hobby Lobby, with a few premade things like my fan, hat, and shoes bought online.
Here’s what it took to make the costume:
- 4.5 yards of green linen-look polyester rayon fabric at $6.99 apiece
- 1 yard blue cotton for lining at $4.99 apiece
- 1.5 yards bottomweight cotton for interlining at $8.99 apiece
- 4 yards rust-colored cotton at $4.99 apiece
- 3 yards 36”muslin at $2.99 apiece
- cable ties $5.00
- hat $12.00
- shoes $12.00
- belt $7.00
- jewelry-making supplies $8.00
- bias tape $1.99
- cream-colored cotton ½ yard at $3.99 a yard
- appropriate thread – 4 spools at $2.79 each
- awl to make holes – $8.99
- fan – $2.50
All in all, if you knew exactly what you were doing and followed the same methods I did, it would cost about $150 to recreate this costume. I paid a bit less than $100 more in supplies that I wasted on mistakes (such as my original kirtle fabric getting accidentally dyed pink instead of brown)or didn’t end up using because of changes in plans (rust-colored petticoat instead of a blue color that looked too much like medical-scrub-green, not trimming the kirtle with green bias tape, not making the partlet or cap).
compared to cost of costume components on Pearson’s Renaissance and FantasyLand Costumes:
- “Starter Wench package” of a bodice, skirt, and chemise: $165
- shoes $12
- hat $12
- Apron – $19
- belt – $7
So a comparable costume with all components purchased online would have cost over $210 ($265 if you wanted my double-skirt look) plus extra accessories, but of course taken much less time to make! it probably took me ~30 hours of work to fit, draft, and sew this costume.