Accessorizing the Elizabethan Lady

Coif: $$ cost: $5, time cost: one evening

Hat – $$ cost: $20 for fabric and trim, time cost: my awesome friend Lauren knows….

Bum roll – $$ cost: $5, time cost: one evening

Jewelry – $$ cost: $21, time cost: Evening 1 for belt, Evening 2 for necklace

Hoop slip/farthingale: $ 25 including shipping from Amazon

I made the coif out of two 11-inch diameter circles (one gold lace, one solid white), and a brim made out of a fabric sample of gold poly shantung. This strip of fabric for the brim ended up being 2.5 inches wide and 22 inches long.  I sewed a comb into the brim to keep it on my head.  The 11-inch diameter makes a good size for a coif that sits far on the back of the head and doesn’t contain too much hair. I have hair down to the middle of my back that I put up in a high braided bun, and it works OK. If I were to make one again, my circle would be at least 12 inches in diameter.

I was the lucky recipient of my friend Lauren’s experimental foray into millinery! She made me this darling small hat designed to perch on my head. I gave her 3/4 of a yard of blue micro-suede fabric and 2 yards of navy blue upholstery trim and she did magic with it.  I decorated it with a know of navy velvet ribbon, a button, and an ostrich feather. It as thread loops that I use to bobby-pin it to my head.


The bum roll is from the Simplicity 3782 pattern. It was simple to make up, fits well, and give a subtle version of the Elizabethan Shelf Butt ™ that poofs out all the cartridge pleats so well. If you want a more extreme Elizabethan Shelf Butt ™, you can just alter the crescent of the pattern piece to be fatter. I wear the bum roll over my hoop slip.


I strung alternating pearls and gold spacer beads onto beading monofilament to make the belt and the necklace. Both are detachable, and are attached to the bodice with loop-and-toggle closures. The necklace is tacked to the bodice with thread, as is a small brooch thing. The pendant around my neck is the cast pin.

I got the hoop slip from Amazon here.  It’s a good price and a give a nice shape under the dress, but I’m 5’4 and about as tall as you can be and not have the lowest hoop be way too high. Just something to keep in mind for the taller ladies out there.  I might adjust the top hoop to be just a little bit smaller.





No outfit is complete without accessories! Mine were a mixed of new, old, and borrowed.

Apron – I used a half-yard of fabric which ended up making a rather narrow apron, but it works on me because I’m built about like a telephone pole. If you’re normal-sized, try using ¾ of a yard instead. I might make a wider one in the future. After machine-sewing the hems and edges, I gathered it onto a length of matching double-fold bias tape that I hand-sewed shut.

  • thin brown leather belt from Target
  • straw hat from Fantasyland Costumes – a bit big, but if I cinch down the tie below my bun and pin it, it stays on. I decorated it with a feather and a small fake flower that I found in my craft bin.
  • A straw fan from Fantasyland Costumes helped me deal with August heat in far too many layers. This is a lifesaver, definitely worth the $2.50!
  • cotton kung-fu/china slippers from Fantasyland Costumes. I definitely got what I paid for with these, but they will basically function as foot coverings. They’re standing up remarkably well to the Faire, including mud.
  • “period” drinking vessel- my Dad’s old aluminum Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity tankard
  • medium-sized basket that’s been around since before I was born.
  • necklace – I bought some coral-colored beads at Joann’s and a simple clasp, and made a 1-strand necklace to add some more color to my outfit and matching earrings.
  • I didn’t bother to buy a leather pouch for my money, instead wearing a modern-day travel belt over my petticoat and under the kirtle – it’s accessible from the front slit in the kirtle, and the volume of the gathers keeps the lump from showing.
  • A true Elizabethan would have been scandalized by my lack of stockings. I really don’t care.