Full Color Concept Drawing of Demetrius the Merchant

The Robe was an interesting challenge. Originally I was going to base it on a Victorian Santa Clause Costume, which I already had, but seems to be out of print now.

In shopping for some of the sewing notions for the costume, however, I found a Costume Pattern for the Dwarves in “The Hobbit”. This would require fewer modifications to match the image to the left and would require less fabric.

The Chosen Mock Up

Because the robe had to fit both Demetrius, and the person wearing the suit, I had taken the full measurements of both. As some of the measurements between the two varied as much as two inches, I made mock ups in two sizes, using old bed sheets for the material.

The smaller size was chosen, as it fit both my client and the Demetrius. I did have to shorten it as the mock up length reached below the mid-calf, and he wanted it to be about knee length. Another mock up was designed then fitted. The vents for the wings and the slit in the back seam were also added at this time. The sleeves were also shortened.

Lining of Robe

Demetrius wanted inside pockets to hold items like his phone and wallet and key cards for events like Conventions and Renaissance Faires. As he did not want to ruin the lines of the robe, I added lining to the facing  the at front of the robe.

We had another fitting to make sure the length was right and that the vents for the wings, the slit in the for the tail and sleeve length was correct. More modifications were made and applied to the the lining.

The lining was then pined to the shell with the seams, vent,

shell and lining pinned and ready for binding

edges, and arm holes carefully matched up.  The edges and hem were then pinned together. I then attached the contrasting gold fabric to bind the edges except at the hem.

The wing vents were an interesting challenge. I could bind them or something else. I chose some thing else. I attached a facing on the inside of the garment. It was partially interfaced. Once sewn on, I pulled it through the vent and carefully ironed it to lay flat then tucked under the edges.


Wing Vents with Pinned Facing

. I ironed it down again and pinned it. Then has stitches the folded edges down. I should have made the facings a bit longer as you can see in the picture to the right the tops and bottoms pucker a bit. I will keep that in mind for the next project he commissions. Yes, we have plans to add more pieces.

The next step were the sleeves. I stitched the lining and the sleeves together, and added the binding. I then attached the sleeves to the robe. We has one final fitting before sewing the binding onto the hem, to complete the Robe.


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.

Our local Renaissance Faire was this past July. I didn’t really sew anything for it this year, aside from adding some buttonholes to a jerkin and making our guild favors. You see, I made the mistake of poopooing the favors in progress. In return the task became mine.

What is a Favor, you ask? It’s a little bit of frippery, a token of affection, participation, award or just-because decoration to wear on your costume. Usually they have a pin stitched to the back or a boutonnière pin is used to secure it to your bodice, jerkin or hat. They’re often made of bits of ribbon, beads, buttons, bone, metal charms, feathers, leather, etc. Usually anything natural.

In the end I made something like 20-22 favors using wired ribbon, silky ribbon, grosgrain ribbon, ribbon woven with a Celtic knotwork pattern, fancy multicolored ribbon, brass and other metal charms, vintage buttons, and pin backings.

We pass them out to guild members for participation, project completion and general all around awesomeness. Here are the ones I photographed:

The outer ones are the fancy ones for the Order of the Nail (build crew). Metal charms, fancy ribbon and grosgrain ribbon. I think they look like steampunk military medals. The center is the basic favor, which I made about a dozen of for those who put in the work. Wired edge ribbon pleated in small groups with a vintage metal button.

It’s a little blurry, but this one is my favorite. It’s a special one for the Order of the Thimble (sewing group), for a young man who decided to learn to sew his own costume. And he did. It’s brass and sorta heavy, so that’s a brass lobster clasp at the top. Not very Renaissance, definitely more steampunk.

Special favor for the Order of the Thimble

The awards for gigging.

They’re a little hard to see in this photo, but I like them.

New Photo Post:

New Photo Post:

The countdown to SLO Faire is at 8 days and it’s our 30th year!

I still need to finish my new bodice (if I don’t want to be stuck in the one with the tight arm holes – and I really don’t), finish stitching the dags on the short sides of our new pavilion, make a tall hat for a Puritan, make a new pair of bloomers, stitch some eyelets. Oh, and locate the hanging’s for the Lord Mayor’s pavilion as well as pack. No pressure.

Faire is July 19 & 20, 2014 1585  at Laguna Lake Park in SLO. Come one, come all for meat pies, pasties (that’s pAsties you eat, not pasties you wear), jousting, stage shows, vendors, Queen Elizabeth and her court, as well as dirty peasants, constables, rogues, falconry and a good time.

For more info and to purchase tickets, visit the Central Coast Renaissance Faire.