Blue "Renaissance" Dress

This dress was made from a combination of patterns and my own free interpretation. The basic idea was this dress from the movie "Thomas the Falconer" (A production from Slovakia called "Sokoliar Tomas" in its original language):


I liked the middle slash with the underdress poufing out, and the overall shape of the dress with the big pleats in the skirt. However, the fabric I had a t hand - 10 yards of a soft blue velvet that I was given as a leftover because the owners wanted new curtains^^- was a darker blue, and I needed the dress relatively quickly, so there was no time for greater embelishments. Besides, I don't like the contrast between the two necklines, one rounded and one square, and the heavy gold trim. So I decided to make a minimalist version. You can't always be the princess, eh?

For the top, I used one of Simplicity's many Renaissance patterns...9531 I believe:


Since the tops tend to be rather short and too high-waisted in these patterns, I lengthened mine a few inches so the seamline is not right underneath the bust but a bit above the natural waist.

The skirt was a freehand construction made of 3 panels each the width of the fabric (54'' I think) and my height taken as a general measurement for the length of each panel, plus a seam allowance of about 2''. I made several box pleats about 2,5'' wide, just playing with the look of them until I liked it, then connected the skirt to the top. There is a lacing in the back with 12 hand sewn eyelets.

The underdress that peeks out from the slash is fake though. I used a piece of puffed silk and sewed it on the inside, so you can pull it out as you like, just it's controlled by the stitches and won't get out of shape. The top was then lined with a layer of white silk crepe. For embelishments, I used a dark blue velvet ribbon that I placed about 1'' above the hemline, and a blue velvet trim with loops that went around the neckline. The only gold - and silver - is in the detachable tie-on sleeves.

The underdress is made of silk crepe and is basically just a rectangle with the neck opening cut out. It remained unfinished for over a year as I wanted to try out some sort of embroidery - blackwork for example - but then I needed an underdress for the blue one and just finished this one of with a trim and some pearls. I also want to make a real chemise with hand embroidered cuffs and neckline soon.

This dress is not a historical reproduction, however it'll do for any ren faire that isn't too strict concerning accuracy.


All original work is protected by intellectual property laws. No copyright infringement is intended - copyrighted images are being used for costume study purposes only. Site design and content is copyright © Ela unless otherwise indicated.