J. was the first person to introduce me to the phenomena that is the Renaissance Faire. She left the faire circuit a few years ago, but recently decided to come back to it.

In coming back and joining our guild she decided that a whole new costume was needed. She also wanted it to double for both Peasant and Pirate.

We went with a Scottish style bodice pattern by Simplicity, that intentionally does not close all the way at the front. As she likes the more natural colors, we chose a chocolate-brown medium weight linen fabric. The inter-lining is a natural colored cotton duck cloth, and the lining is a similar colored cotton fabric.

The chemise is a natural muslin with cotton drawstring for the neckline and wrists.

The skirt is the same brown linen as the bodice. It is left open at the front and is tacked open for aa nice draping effect.

The pants or bloomers are a red and black mottled quilting fabric also of 100% cotton

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Our Puritan’s previous costume was damaged, when the garage it was stored in flooded 2 years ago. He attempted to salvage, and repair it, but it literally fell apart while preaching fire and brimstone to the masses. This unfortunate garb was made from a black, narrow-well corduroy fabric that did not breath well. As a result I offered to make a new costume for the following year.

I am currently obsessed with linen. In keeping with this obsession, I decided to make the long jerkin and the matching pants in a medium weight linen, which would breathe much better then the corduroy.

The shirt fabric was another find at the 99 cent fabric store. When I bought it, it was a light peach color. I attempted to lighten the color further using a RIT dye remover. This did not lighten the color so much as change it to a more vibrant light pink. This was, however, after the shirt had been made and had to be completed for that weekend. Lesson learned. Dye the fabric or remove the fabric dye, before you make the piece, in case it does not turn out the right color.

He does love the shirt regardless, and claims that it was washed by mistake with a harlot’s red petticoat.

Our sleepy peasant William likes to find shady trees to take his naps.

His Jerkin or vest is a thicker weave of 100% cotton osnaberg fabric hand dyed a dark green that has since faded. The edges are left with a raw edge to give it a more peasanty look.

His pants are of the same osnaberg, dyed brown. It has since faded as well.

The Lord Mayor

This costume (and our Sheriff’s) was all about designing everything I ever wanted into a man’s Elizabethan costume (as well as putting the man in said costume) without going overboard.

The requirements were:

  1. that he be comfortable (or as comfortable as potentially 95+ degree weather can let someone fully costumed for a 16th century English day be)
  2. that he look great and accurately up to his station (middle class), but not above it
  3. that I not break his bank account
  4. that we did not make him wear “pumpkin pants” (pansied slops, which are worn over canions)

Tristana suggested linen for its breath-ability, look and durability. We settled on dupioni silk for the slashes as a way to notch up his look without the ostentation and inappropriateness of something like velvet. We chose the cobalt medium weight linen from Fabrics-store.com for it’s great period color (any blue that denim fades to is usually acceptable at a ren faire) and a tea green silk for – well, because the Rogues like those colors and our Lord Mayor looks very nice in them. We were plagued by a series of silk setbacks, substitutions and near panic-attacks, but finally substituted a sort of olive-green that went perfectly with the brass buttons we chose.

The process for this costume started with research in books of period costume, period paintings (particularly the ones Fabrics-store.com just posted on their blog), and sketching out different color combinations, designs and details. We finally settled on a design that kept things pretty simple with a yoked doublet, slashed chest and sleeves. The hat was to be of the silk until I came to the realization that the slubby texture in the weave of the fabric would require that it be placed on the hat in a scued fashion and, while that might look great on a modern hat, I didn’t like it for a period effect. The hat was changed to linen. A deconstruction of the hat will be forthcoming.

The next step was an initial mock-up constructed on a basic block pattern, followed by adjustments, another mock-up, slight changes and finally a clean pattern. Small adjustments were made on the lining and interlining and a mockup of the standing collar, skirting and epaulets were added. Then the fun began with the cutting out of the actual linen and silk.

The Lord Mayor’s Sleeves, one tacked and one just turned

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In the past we’ve used the word peacocks to describe the men in our creations and this time is no exception. The Lord Mayor and Sheriff of the Central Coast Renaissance Faire, or SLO Faire (July 16 and 17, 2011), were preening, strutting and looking damn good, if I do say so myself, in their fyne new costumes.

The Lord Mayor of the Central Coast Renaissance Faire 2011

The Lord Mayor’s costume is a dark blue mid-weight linen doublet with yoke, sleeves and pants with a fine cotton flat-ruffed shirt.  The sleeves and doublet front are slashed with green dupioni silk and trimmed with blue-gray hand embroidery and antique brass buttons. His tall hat is made from the same linen and the hat band is hand made blue cotton trim.

The Sheriff the Central Coast Renaissance Faire 2011

Our Sheriff’s costume is a green doublet of mid-weight linen, heavy weight brown linen pants and a cotton flat-ruffed shirt. The doublet is yoked, as the Lord Mayor’s, but that portion is pleated and embroidered subtly with a vine pattern in brown thread. The buttons are antique brass. His tall hat is made of the brown linen with a green linen hat band with the same embroidery as the doublet.

The hat and doublet patterns are Rogues of Thread originals.

A special thank you to M for finding the time I had lost to make the Lord Mayor’s shirt. You saved me!

Related posts: The Lord Mayor – A Costume Autopsy

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