Monday, April 21, 2014

Renaissance Faire!

On Sunday my friends and I went to the Southern California Pleasure Faire and had a blast. There was an Easter parade for the kids, and we spent more time watching shows than we had in previous years. I wore a costume I made up quickly and quietly a few months ago, my Vik-torian costume.

The inspiration with a comment by a friend about trying to mix Viking and Victorian components in a steampunk-ish style. I had trouble with the design at first, until I realized that the bunad, the national costume of Norway, came into being in the 1800s. My mother is Norwegian, and what better why to progress the Viking aesthetic into the Victorian era than by looking at the clothes of the people in Scandinavia.  I pulled together ideas like these:
Pattern available here
This is similar to the cutting layout I used
This men's shirt pattern is how I made my shift
The modern inspiration came from this bunad from the Telemark region of Norway
I also altered the shirt to reflect the modern bunad blouse
And the resulting outfit:
The close-up
The shift/shirt is linen, stitched in the viking style with a keyhole neckline, but with modern cuffs. The neck is bound in store-bought bias tape and some fancy store bought trim circles the neck and cuffs. My tortoise brooches are slotted spoons with the handles broken off, wrapped in wire, with a safety pin on the underside. The double strand of beads are a collection of various bits, the belt was a blank one a stained dark and added a buckle. On the right side you can see my drinking horn (which I totally drank mead out of. Like a Viking.) The apron dress is black wool that I bought on clearance, and the under-bust corset bodice is red wool, with cotton canvas for strength and zip-ties for boning. A different trim goes around the top.
The lacing eyelets are jewellery clasps I bought, and it is laced with suede cord.
The the bottom of the apron dress has a different trim, and the bracers are scrap leather with metal grommets for lacing. I painted Viking sigils on them, the left prevents you from getting lost at sea and the right strikes fear in your opponents in battle. I also sewed on some fake fur trim, because a google search of Viking costumes will tell you that you're not a Viking unless you have fur on.
The costume was surprisingly comfortable, I was expecting worse considering I was wearing wool when the temperature was in the mid-80s. But the fabric was thin, the linen helped keep me comfortable, and the fact that I made the outfit knee length meant a had good air flow. I did have to let the corset out a bit, after lunch, but that was easy. I was particularly happy that I got to use my relic bag.
I knitted it a while ago out of a wool/bamboo blend, based off of this actual Renaissance bag:
My pattern in based off of the description of the Chur Purse. Note: although the gauge for the original is listed as 7 stitches per inch, they mean 7 stitches per centimeter. My bag is 7 stitches per inch.
So there you have it, Vik-torian costume at the Renaissance Faire. Now to get ready for my trip tomorrow, but one more pic before I go. Here is my cat, Ali, helping me draft of 18th century stays:
If the internet has taught me anything, it's that every sewing blog should have at least one photo of your cat "helping" you.

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