Dawn's Historic Costume Guide


cos·tume

n. A style of dress, including garments, accessories, and hairstyle, especially as characteristic of a particular country, period, or people.

So. Here you are.

You're looking for a historic costume you can make for the Renaissance Fair, or your friend's SCA wedding. You don't do a lot of sewing, or maybe you do, but not like this. You're a student with no cash or a mom who just found out your kid needs a costume for history class next Monday. All the costume books in the library are checked out, or were written before you were born. Hopefully this site will meet your needs.

With this site I aim to provide simple patterns and instructions you can follow in order to create a first outfit for the RenFaire, or an SCA event, or a decent Robin Hood costume for the school play. I am not trying to be the final authority on historic clothing (though I do prefer a historical basis for my patterns) or get you involved in a lot of expensive costuming details. The object here is to get you into costume quickly and inexpensively, while providing you with good foundation garments for later expansion if you want a fancier wardrobe. You will get an occasional history lesson as I describe a garment, and some of the patterns do take time to complete. However, most of them you can finish over a weekend, or less.

Where do I come off telling you this stuff anyway?

I was a student for a long time. I play SCA and RenFaire, and have been to my share of Halloween parties and costumed more than one school play. I know what it's like to try to put together something that won't get laughed at or fall apart at an inopportune moment. I've looked at a lot of pictures in costume and history books trying to figure out what year that stunning gown on the cover of the latest fantasy novel is supposed to be from. I learned the hard way. You don't have to.

I will tell you this up front, the stuff I will show you how to make will be honest-to-goodness wearable clothing. If you are going to be in it all day (and night) outside at a period event, or night after night on stage, it will have to hold up just like modern clothes (or better). You'll find no glue, iron-on tape or felt being used in these instructions.

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All text and artwork copyright 1990 - 2013 D. Duperault. NOTHING on this site may be reproduced or distributed by any means without my written permission. This information offered in good faith, and worth only what you paid for it.

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