Renaissance Festival Outfit & Accessories (Round 2)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Renaissance outfits, as I mentioned before, are ever evolving.  When you go to the ren fest, there's no way you could afford every piece and every accessory that your heart desires all at once.  One thing I always notice when I go are the layers that are worn and how pretty every layer is.  At the ren fest an overskirt will set you back about $55.  I showed you before the double layered overskirt I made.  I also mentioned that I have another corset of my mom's.  This corset is deep purple lined with black (it's reversible, actually, but why would I ever choose black over purple?!).  We have a white blouse and skirt to go with it.  The white is kind of a stark contrast from the black and purple, so I decided to make another overskirt to go with this corset.

I started by doing some internet stalking research and checking out websites selling renaissance clothing.  I decided I wanted to do a lace overlay with gathers.  When I was having my wedding dress altered, I mentioned that I loved dresses that had swoopy gathers, so my seamstress took her needle and thread and gave me an immediate example.  The outcome was perfect.  Two years later, my brain churns up the memory of watching her do that and I figured I would apply the same technique to my overskirt.

I was worried that solid lace fabric would be expensive though.  So I checked out Joann's website and found crafter's lace which was only about $5/yard.  When I went there, I found BETTER lace for $13/yard.  Well, quality vs. quantity I guess.  Luckily I had a coupon (as always!) which brought it down to about $7.50/yard.  It was MUCH softer, drapier, and perfecter than the crafter's lace.  So I justified it figuring that I would use it for quite a long time so the quality was worth a couple extra bucks.
I figured I would take home a couple yards but there was only 1 3/4 left on the bolt.  So I took that.  I wasn't entirely sure what my plan was but winging it usually works out for me.  I also picked up 1" wide elastic for the waist band.  

I brought it home and paraded in front of the mirror to figure out exactly what I wanted to do.  I was going for a simple dirndl style (which is a rectangle gathered at the top) skirt, but the 1 3/4 yards wasn't really wide enough to make a nice shape to go over the underskirt.  Luckily the fabric was 57" wide, which is reeeeeally wide.  So I cut it in half lengthwise and that created plenty of width!  Obviously since lace is see through, I used french seams on the sides to make it look nice and tidy.  I hadn't done french seams before because for some reason they just didn't make sense to me.  I used Tasia's tutorial found here.  Tasia always makes everything nice and straight forward.  Easy peasy, and nice and tidy!

Still with me?  There are pictures at the end!
Then I sewed down a bit of the top to make a casing for the elastic.  On my other overskirt I didn't make a casing because I didn't have the length to spare.  The biggest challenge with this skirt was that the right and wrong side of the fabric was non-existent.  I used the seams to determine which side made it right/wrong and went from there.  Sometimes in sewing you just need to stop and think for a minute to make sure you're doing it right.  Then I sat back on the couch and proceeded to thread my elastic through the casing.  I put a safety pin on one end of the elastic to help do this.  It was slow work because the stretchy lace has lots of holes, so the edges of the elastic kept catching.  After about an hour I finally got it all the way through.  I tried it on to get the right length for the elastic, pinned it again, and cut the excess length.  I sewed the ends together, sewed down the hole I left in the casing for threading, and TADA!  I had a skirt.

Now for the gathers.  I went into the project thinking I wanted several gathers at different length, but I needed a model to figure out where the gathers would go.  Lily is too small, and I can't do it on myself, so I recruited Hubs.  Whatever, he was watching football anyway so be barely noticed.  I put the overskirt and underskirt on him and went to it.  I decided it might be nice just to have one gather like a slit in a dress.  I took my needle and thread and perfected the gather on him.  It really worked out nicely, I don't know how I would have got it so nice if it wasn't on a model.  He wouldn't let me take a picture of it so I had to model it myself.
pardon the crappy lighting
Looks pretty good!  Naturally I needed another matching purse to go with this outfit.  As I was wandering Joanns I found some satiny fabric that was shiny on one side and had a matte texture on the opposite side.  Since I bought 1/2 yard for my last purse and barely used any of it (1/4 of two different fabrics), I figured I could get a whole purse out of 1/4 yard of just one fabric and make use of the different sides.  It worked beautifully.  Since my fabric was a solid color I decided the purse needed to be fancied up.  I picked up some pretty black beaded trim and thought I would try my hand at adding trim.  I'm glad I did this on a tiny purse versus trying to add piping to an outfit.  It wasn't perfect.  This was partially due to the awkward angle and small space I had, plus my purse's opening wasn't wide enough to fit around my machine so I had to hand stitch it.  I didn't think I would like hand stitching, so tedious, but I do think it's pretty soothing.  I also get super proud because I did those stitches instead of some machine.

When I flipped the purse right side out I also decided to understitch the lining so it wouldn't poof out like my first purse.  I also used the understitching to help the beads lay on the outside of my purse.  Like my first purse, I also needed to hand stitch a channel for the drawstring ties to go through.  Once that was done I threaded my string through the channel, and TADA! a purse was born.

Now, finally, a couple pictures of the completed ensemble.


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