Renaissance Fun!

By: Karen Peak



One of my husband Doug and my favorite things to do is to go to Renaissance Festivals and Scottish Festivals (I am of the Clan MacFarlane, recently, we found out that Doug's clan was considered part of my Clan).  We create out own costumes by sewing and buying from catalogs and vendors what we do not have the skills (or time with a toddler) to make.  When Connor was born, I began thinking about how to make him a costume. Children grow so fast I did not want to spend and exorbitant amount of money.  I also wanted to use an easy wear/wash fabric.  Here in Virginia, the Fair season can get quite hot so I also wanted something cool but that I could put warm clothes under if needed. I remembered an old friend of Doug's family and a woman who has become dear to me as well: Mrs. Nellie Patchell. Years ago, she made a sweatshirt jacket for me.  I still have it.  I took her concept and adapted it to Connor's costume.  With Fair season approaching, I would like to share this simple costume idea with you.




2 T-shirts - both must be oversized with one larger than the other, you want it a couple or more inches longer.  Get colors that contrast but compliment each other.  I used a light tan T-shirt for the under layer and black for t over.


1" wide ribbon. The lengths will depend on how big the shirts are. The outer shirt will be made into a jacket so you want enough ribbon to go up the front, around the collar and down as well as enough to line the sleeves holes with.  The under shirt you want enough to line the neck with. Add six to twelve inches to each measurement.  get fancy with the ribbon.  You can find many wonderful, Medieval looking stuff at you local craft or sewing store!


Sharp Scissors


Straight pins and Safety Pins




Cardboard to stretch the shirts onto.  Makes it easier to work with.




Cut off the sleeves and cut up the center of the front so you have what looks like a vest. Sew the ribbon up the front, around the collar and down.  Sew ribbon to the sleeve holes.




Cut down the collar a couple inches to make a V-neck. Fold excess under and trim off after you had added the ribbon.   Sew ribbon around the V and around the cuffs of the sleeve and bottom of the shirt if you wish.


By experimenting with folding the ribbon under at corners, You can eliminate having to cut the ribbon into pieces to make the pattern match.  




Gold, silver or black "frog" closures on the outershirt. Black tights for leggings. Sew on or use glitter fabric paint to add magical symbols.


We received many comments about how cute Connor looked and how elegant his costume was.  People were surprised to find out it was basically two T-shirts and fancy ribbon.


You can also make a little girl's dress. Use an over-sized long-sleeved T-shirt.  Use elastic at the sleeve cuffs and at the elbows to create that puffed sleeve. Or put one puff a few inches below the shoulder and trim the cuff in an elegant point. (Do not forget to gather up sleeve to get a puff). Add elastic at the waist.  Trim the collar with pretty ribbon and if you get 2" or wider ribbon, make a belt to go over the waist.  Use 1" elastic for comfort. Ass sequins, cute little lace flowers (available at sewing and craft shops), pewter buttons, etc. to add rich embellishment to the dress.


TIP: Before sewing, play around with pins and the elastic with the dress to get it how you wish. If you are going to try the dress on the child befroe sewing, use safety pins! Look at catalogs such as Meuseum Replicas or at vendors at fairs to get ideas.


If you really love to sew. Some pattern companies have come out with Medieval, Renaissance and Scottish patterns.



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