Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Preparing to go Medieval

So the costume for this year's Abbey Medieval Festival is UNDERWAY!

Not a costume I'll be able to enter in their costume competition, since it involves knit fabric and a serious lack of authenticity, but on the other hand I will be able to finish it in time, which is a very definite plus.

It is, in fact, last year's costume with alterations. The costume was originally made for a costume party I went to as Eowyn from The Two Towers - the white dress she wears when we first see her at Edoras. For the Eowyn version, the dress had a gold hip-belt, gold ribbon/cord down centre front, gold/jewel braid around the neckline and cord binding the upper sleeves. Worn with white shoes and a gold band across the forehead, it was pretty effective (the only real problem was the lack of long golden hair. Ah well).

Then for last year's Abbey I removed all the trimmings except for the neck-braid and pinned my hair up under a sheer white scarf draped across the front neck to look like a veil/wimple. I forget what shoes I wore, but I also had a wide-brimmed straw hat to keep the sun off.

This year I started by removing the braid trim, and then used Dylon Machine Dye in Navy to dye the dress. I tumble-dried it, which I was a bit worried about (being cotton) but it seems to have been ok. It's come out a nice dusty blue with just a hint of green - the original fabric was 'natural' rather than pure white, so had just a touch of yellow in. Colour-mixing rules apply to dyeing as per usual. I had suspected this would be the case, which was why I didn't dye it green in the first place - yellow-green not being my best colour, I didn't want to take the risk!

The plan now is to re-attach the braid around the neck, line the hanging parts of the sleeves (I'd hoped to do this last year but it didn't happen. Those visible seams really bugged me!) and edge the sleeves and hem with a contrasting fabric - partly for a historically accurate look, and partly because the white polycotton thread didn't dye and is rather obvious on those hems. I also want to make a pair of undersleeves so my arms aren't just showing everywhere in the hanging sleeves, as ladies of the time would most certainly have had another garment on under the outer dress.

Then there's the question of shoes, hat/head-dress, belt, accessories... and at least some of these will undoubtedly have to wait for another year, since I only have 10 days to do all of this!

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