November 19, 2015

Renaissance Gown

I made a Renaissance-style gown for myself.  I belong to a little group that plays for English country dancers (as seen at any ball you've seen in movies of Jane Austen novels).  When we play for the Christmas Madrigal feast at one of our member's churches, we go in costume.

When I make costumes, I always start with the internet.  I found some great illustrations for style inspiration.

Then I went resale shopping.  I decided to combine a maroon velvet jumper, a nicely patterned navy tablecloth, and a woven blue decorator fabric scrap for trim.  I much prefer having a base piece of clothing or two to start with than working totally from scratch.

I altered the neckline of the jumper.

I used a vintage, big-shoulder sleeve pattern as a starting point, altered it a bit, and added poufs at the shoulder (with gathered netting inside to help hold the shape).

I made an insert at the neckline.

And I added a gathered panel to lengthen the hem.

The effect I was going for is a navy underdress, but there wasn't enough fabric in the tablecloth to actually make a whole dress!

I also covered some large cording to make a circlet.  Someday, I may finish that by adding a fabric head covering and fall in the back, across the shoulders.

And here I am!  Finished, quite appropriately, on Halloween!


  1. How creative and you look gorgeous! My sewing To Do List has me sewing a Renaissance dress for a fair this summer but I bought the pattern.
    I love this blog!!!

    1. Thanks! Definitely send me a photo of you and your dress! :-) (And I apologize for responding so late - blog comments were not coming through to me for a while due to a glitch.)