I did make quite a few garments for this year’s Faire Season. The following one of  three costumes started in March and completed in time for our home faire in July. It was also one of the most complicated projects I’ve worked on, to date. It currently totals seven pieces, in six colors and three different different fabrics.


Meet Demetrius the Griffin

Demetrius is a friend of a guild member, who I first met at a Renaissance Faire gone Baroque Piracy, last March. I gave him one of my business cards and the emails began.

His goal was to dress as a Traveling Merchant of the Renaissance Era. He had many ideas and 3 concept drawings, which he sent copies of. Two of which are shown below.


Concept Sketch


Full Color Concept Drawing of Demetrius the Merchant

Through emails we planned the minimum pieces he needed , that I could make. One robe with vents for the wings and tail, pants, shirt, a faux shirt or dicky, a hat and a coin pouch.

We then met for measurement taking and fabric selection. The original idea was to dress him in neutral tones of brown and grey. After some discussion we broadened the color palette, to a light grey shirt, light brown or tan pants, a dark blue robe with gold linen trim, a tan hat with gold trim, and a gold coin pouch with a blue rolled hem.

In this post I will discuss 2 of these pieces, the pouch and the hat.


Coin Pouch

The simplest item to make was finished first. This was the coin pouch. Two pieces of gold heavy weight linen trimmed with a blue woolly nylon rolled hem, and  a casing stitched for the draw string.

The hat was the second item of this project to be completed. It is a cone shaped hat From a Victorian Santa Claus Pattern, that I modified.

In the drawing the hat would sit between the ears and drape over the back of the head. The color would match the robe and be trimmed in grey faux fur. We changed it to be the same color of heavy weight Ginger colored Linen. and trimmed with a wide band of Autumn Gold heavy weight linen. The band was doubly interface to ensure it wound stand up.and the cone was lined to give it more fullness in draping.


The Hat is Finished with a Gold Colored Feather

As you can see the completed hat does not sit between the ears. We could not find a way to hold the hat in place without using bobby pins or something else that would pull out Demetrius’ fur, or require attempting to pin it to the mask, which could stap the head within, or pull out fur, in the pulling out the pin.

For now at least,  the hat sits on one ear, with a feather in the band.


New Photo Post: http://ift.tt/1pDxMd9


Warning – spoilers below the jump.

I would be remiss if i didn’t mention last Sunday’s first season 3 episode of Downton Abbey. The whole cast is back for more drama, a wedding, (more…)

Delightful serendipity! Yesterday I found a post about a strange Victorian hat-fitting device – The Conformateur. I had never heard of such a thing before, but the Victorians did come up with some fascinatingly innovative (though not always practical / functional) devices. Essentially, you place a piece of paper in the top of the device and place it on your head. “Fingers” in the device press to the shape or your head and make pin marks in the paper, late allowing the milliner to replicate the shape for a custom-fit hat.

Lots of pics on the originating site, including detailed shots of the workings and original diagrams. Here is another post about another conformateur owner who used 3D printed parts used to repair their device.

(Both posts were originally found on BoingBoing)

Thoughts on construction of the hat frame for the 1912 Project’s March Challenge Pattern, the Mad March Hat:
  • The provided diagram is misleading. It makes it appear that everything is round. This cannot be accurate as your head is oval. So you have an oval in a round shape. This also means that when the pattern measurements say that the width or the part that sits on your head is 2 5/8″, that will be at different angles at front, back and sides. This differs from most hats you might make today in that the headsize opening is usually the inside of the brim that you see, leading out to the edge of  the brim. This had has a headsize opening burried up and inside the sides of the hat. The inside frame could almost be free floating, but this would affect the tilt of the hat, which would probably look better at a static point.
  • I made a very rough frame (sorry, no pics, that would have required a third hand and Zaphod Beeblebrox I am not) to get an idea of the scale of the hat and how it would look with my face shape. (more…)
(When searching for a nice period Toque photo to show everyone, I happened to find this Titanic Hat via Wikipedia! “Mrs. J.J. “Molly” Brown presenting trophy cup award to Capt. Arthur Henry Rostron, for his service in the rescue of the Titanic. That’s the Unsinkable Molly Brown.)
When I think of hats of the Titanic era, I think of the giant brimmed picture hats, but of course, that was not the only hat worn. The 1912 Project has given us a March Challenge Pattern of a Spring Hat for Mature Women, which I’ve decided to dub The Mad March Hat.
In Alison Gernsheim’s book, “Victorian and Edwardian Fashion: A Photographic Survey” (Dover Books), we find an image of an older woman (more…)

The 1912 Project is about to start with 400 Test Sewers! We’ve been broken up into groups and patterns should be coming our way any day now. The official blog for the project can be found here. We will be starting with patterns from the April 1912 issue, as this is the closest to the sinking of the Titanic, then going back and working our way through the entire year.

What I really want to show you are some of the illustrations from La Mode Illustree 1912, issue #3:

The three items show are:

  1. Ladies Taffeta Dress (#0158) – blue taffeta trimmed in satin bias binding of the same color with plastron and under cuffs of pleated white tulle.
  2. Ladies Coat (#0168) –  gray velvet with white stripes with black velvet cuffs and lapels.
  3. Ladies Jacket (#0169) – a ladies wool coat with silk lining and velvet cuffs. I want this! I love the large lapels and the way the lining shows. This looks like it would lend itself well to having a hood, though I doubt the original did.

I can’t wait to see what pattern comes to the rogues first! And oh just look at those glorious hats!