Author Topic: 1st-time garber, thinking out loud...  (Read 1520 times)

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Offline CecilyWilkins

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1st-time garber, thinking out loud...
« on: October 25, 2011, 11:56:00 AM »
I've spent the past few days poring over the internet, feeling out my options, learning the ranges of price and quality, reading tips, etc. Most helpful has been the exhaustive list of websites provided in this forum--huge thanks to all those who contributed to that compilation! What a tremendous help it has been.

Bear with me as I do a bit of "thinking out loud", hopefully with any feedback, suggestions, tips, and opinions that any of you would be willing to proffer!

I've definitely decided on a lower-class look. I'm too poor for any noble garb of quality, and, most importantly, I am young and inexperienced and fear I would never be able to play the part! So for now it's a commoner's lot for me--or at best the yeomanry.

1. The bodice is the most important part of the costume to me, so I've decided to get that first, and then color coordinate my skirts around it. Since I am not dead set on any one color yet, this seems like the best way to keep my options open and get the best quality for what I can afford. I have found many affordable skirt resources or could realistically make my own, so those colors can follow later.

My dilemma on getting a bodice is this: online or at Faire? I would LOVE to do all my purchasing online so that I can wear it all the next time I set foot in a Faire, but I am paranoid that it won't fit properly or won't look good on me, etc. How can I tell from an online picture if it is of good quality? Advice / opinions?  ???

2. My other question regards the chemise. Those are easily found, and I am avoiding any synthetic blends like the plague for my own comfort if not historical accuracy. Buying a chemise seems straight-forward enough, but...
There are some REALLY really pretty ones out there! Haha! and I am terribly conflicted regarding where to draw the line between representing my "class" somewhat realistically or getting a fancier one simply because it's fun, and fun is what Faire is all about!

I have found things like this (ignore for now the fact that this one is a cotton/poly blend  :P ): http://www.museumreplicas.com/p-1272-peasant-blouse.aspx
...which I think is wonderful, but perhaps a bit "above my birth," as it were.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 11:57:25 AM by CecilyWilkins »

Offline isabelladangelo

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Re: 1st-time garber, thinking out loud...
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2011, 12:35:17 PM »
Welcome!   Please, always feel free to ask questions.

First:

I've definitely decided on a lower-class look. I'm too poor for any noble garb of quality, and, most importantly, I am young and inexperienced and fear I would never be able to play the part! So for now it's a commoner's lot for me--or at best the yeomanry.

No, no, no, no.   I've sewn an entire noble set of garb -chemise, gown, and trims- for under $25.   If you sew things yourself, you will save a bundle of money quickly.   Even if you can't sew right now, there are a ton of simple patterns that anyone can figure out (like a skirt, even the chemise is very simple) and you can start on.   Buy the bodice if you want but sew everything else yourself.   

Okay, that being said:

I'd say to get it at faire.   Most good garb dealers have a changing room that you can change into the rest of your outfit at while trying on the bodice.   Now, if you are pretty normally built (not too short or long waisted), then online can work.  Just make sure you know your actual bust and waist measurements (fullest part of the bust and wear you bend for the waist).  Any good bodice should be a couple inches tinier than you are.   A good bodice should lift you up without looking like a shelf.  You should never need to wear a bra with your bodice.  Ask any seller online that, if it doesn't fit, if you can send it back and get a smaller/larger one.

As for the chemise, the one you have linked to is fantasy -which is fine but if you are going to do fantasy why bother with worrying about commoner/noble?  I wouldn't worry about it at all if you are going fantasy -instead focus on what you like.   If you are going to eventually go h/a or try to keep closer to h/a, then go with something like a simple Elizabethan Smock.  If you have the proper elements -a bodice w/sleeves and skirt- the smock won't be that visible anyway.  It's like worrying about your shell rather than about the jacket and skirt to go over it.   You might want to look up Mary of Scots' smock : http://www.flickr.com/photos/10130172@N02/4893437924/  It's very simple with lace around the neckline.  Yet, it looks very elegant because of the semi sheer linen it's made out of. 

I hope that helps!   Again, questions are good.


Offline CecilyWilkins

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Re: 1st-time garber, thinking out loud...
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2011, 04:13:39 PM »
Now, if you are pretty normally built (not too short or long waisted), then online can work.

Ah, well that quite definitively pushes me in the direction I was leaning--I will definitely buy at Faire. I'm inordinately long in the torso for a woman, and it can make buying shirts a bit tricky, depending on what kinds of styles are dominating the market.

Thanks for all your other advice! I see what you mean about the chemise and trying to reconcile a fantasy element with h/a. Those fancy sleeves shot me right in the Achilles Heel! ;)

Another question, regarding making my own skirts: it would be amazingly cheap and easy to scout out bedsheets of any color imaginable from a thrift store and reshape them to my purposes. BUT...never having tried it, do skirts made from sheets tend to look good, or does it just look like you're wearing a dang sheet?  :P
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 04:14:04 PM by CecilyWilkins »

Offline raevyncait

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Re: 1st-time garber, thinking out loud...
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2011, 04:26:20 PM »
I would say DEFINITELY buy your first bodice at faire, AFTER you've tried on a few different styles from different vendors.  My favorite bodices are my Moresca Max (I have 2).  I think I'd like the Max 2 simply because their picadills add a little visual length, to them, making them excellent for my longer waist.  I LOVED the length & line of my Moresca Pirate, but alas, the girls are a bit much to be contained properly by the cut of either the Pirate or the Faerie.

Another bodice consideration is whether or not you will have assistance getting in or out of it, thus the decision between front, back, or side lace, or a combination of those.

As for skirts out of sheets, I've never made one, though the $5 flat sheets from Walmart are AWESOME for chemises... Two nights before a friend's faire-themed wedding (in the park, before we all went to faire afterward), we learned that the "friend" who was supposed to make a chemise for the bride's daughter had not gotten around to it. Off to WalMart, and in less than an hour I had the whole thing done, using Red Dawn's pattern, and no hemming was necessary  on the sleeves or bottom, though I did do a rolled hem on the neckline. I think 3 of us had sheet chemises, actually.
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Offline CecilyWilkins

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Re: 1st-time garber, thinking out loud...
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2011, 06:16:57 PM »
As for skirts out of sheets, I've never made one, though the $5 flat sheets from Walmart are AWESOME for chemises... Two nights before a friend's faire-themed wedding (in the park, before we all went to faire afterward), we learned that the "friend" who was supposed to make a chemise for the bride's daughter had not gotten around to it. Off to WalMart, and in less than an hour I had the whole thing done, using Red Dawn's pattern, and no hemming was necessary  on the sleeves or bottom, though I did do a rolled hem on the neckline. I think 3 of us had sheet chemises, actually.

Now that is impressive!  :D Do you have any photos of the finished products, or perhaps a photo online that is pretty comparable? I'd love to see.  :)

I would imagine sheet material would be really comfortable against the skin--especially in hot weather!
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 06:18:33 PM by CecilyWilkins »

Offline isabelladangelo

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Re: 1st-time garber, thinking out loud...
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2011, 07:23:06 PM »
It...depends on what the sheet looked like.  I would suggest muslin for the chemise if you want to go cheap -muslin is super cheap.   For skirts, use a plain solid fabric or a plaid.  Ebay often has some wonderful linen for extremely cheap.   I've recently gotten some lovely teal, red, gray, and mustard colored linen fabrics -each piece about 4 yards- for a total of $30.  Remember, light colors can be dyed and dye is pretty cheap.   

 

Offline raevyncait

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Re: 1st-time garber, thinking out loud...
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2011, 07:36:48 PM »
The actual pattern is here: http://www.reddawn.net/costume/chemise.htm, and the trick is in making sure that you cut your pieces so that the hems of the sleeves and the bottom hem of the chemise are along the finished edges of the sheets.
  that's me on the far right, I added an elastic up near the elbow by running a channel of ribbon and putting elastic in.

daughter and mother of the bride didn't want elastic, so their sleeves are loose and open.

also, ALWAYS use cotton or mostly cotton blends
Raevyn
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Offline Lady Renee Buchanan

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Re: 1st-time garber, thinking out loud...
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2011, 09:05:20 PM »
I have used tablecloths to make skirts and dresses & even a brocade chemise.  You can look for them at Goodwill, or else I usually buy the clearance ones at Bed Bath & Beyond for around $10.  Make sure you get the longest rectangle so you have enough fabric for the chemise or dress. 

What is your home faire?  That way, maybe some of us who are familiar with that faire can tell you what garb merchants are there.  I love my 3 Morescas, and my 2 Pendragons, but I have to admit, the first time I bought them, I tried them on at faire.  Once I knew my size, I was then able to buy online without worry.

One note:  I know lots of people love linen, but I hate to iron - yes, HATE to iron - and linen wrinkles a lot and needs to be ironed.  As does 100% cotton.  So I usually buy fabric that is a cotton blend for my skirts, and if I do need to iron (oh, that 4 letter word again!), it's usually a quick touch up after I take them from the dryer.  And Bristol, in Wisconsin, can be up over 100 degrees in the summer, and while the poly cotton blend doesn't breathe as well as linen or 100% cotton, for the skirts, it hasn't really made a difference to me. 
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Offline CecilyWilkins

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Re: 1st-time garber, thinking out loud...
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2011, 11:10:27 PM »
Lady Renee--Bristol was the first Faire I ever went to, just last year. It was so fantastic, but yes, it was HOTTT! (and humid) the first weekend I went! Whew! My home faire now that I've moved will be Arizona. :)

Raevyncait--I am truly impressed! Those came out just lovely. The whole wedding party looks awesome, and I love the elastic you added to your sleeves. Well done. :)

 

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