The Finished Elizabethan Lady!

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Soooo…. this is what 66 hours of work on a costume looks like!

My final spending, only on items that went into the dress as shown in this photo, was ~220 dollars.

Even though I didn’t end up being able to add as much trim as I originally planned or being able to modify the sleeve poofs, I’m still thrilled with the results! The fabric did a lot of the work for me.

I survived the blazing hot first weekend of the Mid-South Renaissance Festival in style, with a lot of help from the Porta-Cool unit in the cast tent and a whole lot of frozen gatorade.

I also have awesome friends. From left to right is Whitney (costume mentor par extraordinaire), me, Lauren (cast director and milliner), and Lauren’s boyfriend Aaron (our brave Lord of the Court).

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So you want to be a Renaissance Faire Peasant…

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:

11949547_1654322888144631_7313132938453703449_nBudget (of materials that I actually used):

  • 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:

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.