A Ren Faire We Will Go…

So the girls hit me up this summer with a request to go to a Renaissance Faire. We’d been once quite a few years ago, so they kind of knew the deal and informed me they would have to go in costume. Egads! Now I’m a kind-of sewer. I can make flannel PJ pants. I can make Halloween costumes out of felt (no hems and lots of forgiveness). Bridget's base dress

But I can’t make a major costume without a little help. I knew I’d have to start with a base of some sort. For B., we found it at a local bridal shop on the $10 clearance rack of bridesmaid dresses.

Ren Faire base dressM.’s $25 wedding dress came from Mel Trotter.

B.’s dress required no alterations, which made me very happy. M.’s was a different story. I needed to let out the waist, take in the chest, lose the rosette and bustle and hem it. A lot. She’s not very tall after all. Not wanting to cut the train off, the hem job was a real undertaking.

After that I proceeded to do the additions. For B., I did an off-the-shoulder Bridget in costumechemise-type shirt and an overskirt. I bought one pattern for both of those. Unfortunately, the shirt was a complete bust. I ended up winging it completely. I cut 2 squares and 2 rectangles, threw in some elastic, and called it good. The overskirt was a success. Here’s what she looked like when all of it came together. I know I should have altered the vest to put the lacing up the front, but I just wasn’t up to that.

M. wanted more of a noblewoman appearance, so we went with a fancy gold fabric for an Meg's dressoverskirt. Bad choice. It frayed and puckered. Then it would fray a little more. Did I mention it frayed? By the end I just hoped it would last the day. Throw in a tiara (because she wanted one, people!) and we called her good. Admire that hem job on the wedding dress as you go by, folks. I actually ended up shoving a needle under my fingernail while doing it!

In the past, this particular Ren Faire was always held in October, and it was darn chilly. So in preparation, I made each of the girls a cloak. Again, it was hem hell. But they turned out quite nicely.


Bridget's cloakphoto-5








The only issue? The Faire got moved up to September and it was 78 degrees out. The cloaks got taken back to the van shortly after we arrived. photo-6

So how was the Faire? We had a tremendous time! Here are the girls with a friend from school and The Doctor. Which Doctor? Doctor Who! Because he was there and he looked fabulous. He even had a sonic screwdriver.

By the end, we were all sunburned and exhausted!




Hand’s on at the Ren Faire.





photo-10It was clearly a success. I will admit there were times during the process that we all felt a bit like this. But it was worth it!

At this time, I need to send major thanks out to the Doctor of Phabric who walked me through the choice of the base dresses, Joselyn Vaughn who interpreted patterns for me by text, and Christine Allen-Riley who traded encouragement texts at midnight the night before between seams. Thanks to all of you, I did it!

So…maybe next year I’ll actually try makingΒ photo-11 myself a costume. Bridget has already chosen this pattern for next year. Egads! Here we go again.


How about your fall projects? Going well?

14 thoughts on “A Ren Faire We Will Go…

  1. Kate says:

    Whooo, you survived, and they look great! No shame in having the laces in the back — that just means she’s wealthy enough to have a lady’s maid to do it for her! Or a mom. πŸ˜‰

    Hem Club, unite!

    1. Tess Grant says:

      Ah…the maid! Wish I’d thought of that. πŸ™‚

      It was so funny that your post about bias came out just the other day. Those hems gave me fits, and then I saw you talking about your cloak. Aha!

  2. Gwen says:

    Amazing worky friend! I’m so impressed! I haven’t sewed more than a hem in years-more the gardening type these days. You are a wonderf mom and an inspiration! Happy Fall πŸ™‚

    1. Tess Grant says:

      I hadn’t sewed in about a year, so this brought on a little anxiety…I was pleasantly surprised to find I still had it in me. As for gardening, this was an awful gardening year. It may have been a self-fulfilling prophecy as I didn’t want to plant one this year at all.

  3. J.Q. Rose says:

    Fantastic! I am not a seamstress, nor do I ever want to be. I admire your creative spirit and determination to get those costumes done. I say, let them wear them again next year!!! Mom definitely needs one for the next fair. BTW, did they meet a knight in shining armor to bring home?

  4. dksalerni says:

    Wow! Those costumes look fabulous! And awesome pic with the Doctor. My girls would have stopped for a photo with him, too.

    My family went to the local Ren Faire last fall — not in costume, though, sadly. I don’t think our schedule will allow it this fall. Bummer.

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