Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Medieval Dress for Fair

Another project I finished early in the year, and worn in May to the local Medieval Fair.

Medieval Dress

Over the last year or so I've become a bit of a bargain shopper for fabric. I can blame mum for helping with the obsession: every time she visits an op-shop she always checks for fabric for me! Not that I'm completely unthankful, though! lol!
The time of the year for the Medieval Fair was sneaking up, and I wanted to attend again. Last year was my first time sewing a dress (blog post is here) so the urge to make another one took over!

This time around I didn't want a huge flashy dress, I wanted something simple. And preferably cheep.
Thankfully, my hoarding of bargain fabric and patterns came to the rescue!

I chose to use the same pattern as my Lady Amalthea dress as I really loved the simple shape and I wanted a train!

For fabric, I dug through my boxes of discount purchases. I instantly knew I wanted to use this beautiful green brocade mum and I had found on an op-shop trip for $3! But there was only just over 3 meters of it, so it couldn't make a full dress.
In the end I decided to make contrasting panels on the dress, as well as changing the sleeves to have the contrasting material on it too.
I chose a gold/mustard fabric I'd gotten at a sale for $2. It was a risk, as this fabric was stretch, and the brocade wasn't. But... I'm all about winging it when it comes to sewing. lol.

(Please ignore the mess in my room... I am a messy person...)

In the end I cut the brocade fabric as wide as I could at the bottom, and extended the train slightly, so it would be more full. I also widened the neck to make it sit further on the shoulders.
The train of the dress after the basic panels had been sewn together (minus the back seam)
I managed this in one evening, as it was pretty simple construction.
I did, however, realise how much I need an overlocker. The seams where the contrasting material met had to be done twice, as the gold/mustard fabric stretched enough to see the tread if there was only one stitch, even zig-zag. But I managed it somehow! Haha! (Whats that I said about winging it?)

Sleeves were next, which I decided to make it cap-sleeved with the left over green brocade I had. (The dress is in need of a steam, as the gold/mustard fabric wrinkled easily). I also used some brocade around the wrists.

Here you can see the brocade around the wrists, and the final corset lacing once I had sewn the seams on the train. I'm slowly getting better at adding corset panels!! Wee! I chose gold eyelets and lacing, as I wanted a warmer feel to this dress (comparing to my last medieval one).
The wrists weren't perfect, and I did consider re-doing them, but in the end couldn't be bothered. Lol!

I let the dress hang over night before hemming it.

(Here's where I failed to take more progress photos... sorry about that!)

I purchased a trim from etsy, and although when it arrived I didn't 100% like the look of it with my dress, I added it anyway. The trim went around the neck and was hand-sewn where the brocade met the contrast fabric on the sleeves. Although it wasn't exactly what I expected, it did kind of 'complete' the look of the dress.

The night before the fair, I also threw together a very basic under-skirt out of white cotton. It was a very simple shape: a rectangle for the front, and a longer rectangle curved at the bottom to match the train for the back. I gathered it at the waist, sewing the top in a small fold so I could slide a draw-string through it. There was a chance of rain at the fair, so I knew making the underskirt would be a good idea: hopefully it would take the brunt of mud or dirt my train would be exposed to! Then I could just throw it in the wash as it was cotton, or even bleach it if it was stained.

Anyway, here are some finished photos from the fair:

I wore my new corset underneath, however I am disappointed with it as it appears to be too big around my waist/hips and you can see it protruding from under the dress in a lot of photos.

And my favourite photo from the day, courtesy of TiMarsh Digital Imaging of Mikey and I together!
(Here you can JUST see my white under-skirt peaking out!)
We unintentionally kinda matched that day, haha!

I also won second-place in the costume competition, which was cool! There was a preference for those who had made their own costumes, so even though there were some incredible outfits entered (wayyy better than mine!) I was considered as a winner because I'd made it myself. It was a good feeling! I won a beautiful little note book.

Time to Complete:
This didn't take very long to complete, the longest thing to finish would've been the corset eyelets purely because my eyelet clamper was wonky and it took forever to do them all because my hand hurt so much! haha! I'm going to estimate about 3 days, including the underskirt.

This would have to be the cheapest dress I've made yet! The material cost a grand total of $5, the pattern I already had in my possession, and the only extras were the eyelets and trims, which probably made it up to $20. The underskirt I cant even remember what I paid for the cotton, as I'd had it stashed away for a while. In total, it was about $25! 

Final Thoughts:
This was a good 'practice' dress. I was able to use the things I had learnt from previous projects to finish this dress without much issue. Next time I would consider wearing a small crinoline petticoat underneath, as after adding extra fabric to the dress the fullness was lost in photos and walking around. I would also like to find a better-fitting corset! Haha!
But I was really proud to win second-place in the costume competition, and the dress held up really well in the slightly-muddy conditions (the under-skirt served its purpose! It got dirty but the dress didn't! Huzzah!).
It wasn't colours I would normally chose for a dress- I much prefer pinks, blues, whites and silvers- but the change in colour-scheme worked well for me this time! :)

Thanks for reading! <3

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