Those of you who have read my inaugural blog post about my Delphine skirt (if you haven’t then check it out here) will have read that I was planning to blog about some of my favourite makes since I started sewing just over a year ago. Well this is one of them….my Medieval dress. I have been really looking forward to blogging about it for 2 reasons:
1. I absolutely LOVE this dress!
2. I got to try it on again to take some better pictures of it!
Here’s a taster….
Now I do like fancy dress and also making fancy dress costumes. However, I don’t normally go to quite this amount of effort! I usually like to adapt things I have already or go and scour the local charity shops and do it ‘Blue Peter’ style. When I was invited to a medieval banquet at a castle to celebrate a friend’s birthday last September it was mentioned that dressing up in order to get in the spirit of the occasion was optional. Optional?…of course I would! Thoughts to my existing wardrobe….nothing medieval-like in there. Fancy dress hire….too expensive. Buy costume off internet….certainly an option but risk wearing something identical to someone else. So why not make something?!……!
At that point I had only sewn a few garments for myself – a couple of A-line skirts and a sleeveless top – nothing like this! Well I do like a challenge! I remember seeing historic costumes in the fancy dress sections in the back of the big pattern books but never had the reason to contemplate anything like this. So I went for a browse and found this pattern, Burda style 7468….
2 versions of medieval outfit to choose from….damsel (A) or princess (B). Hold on a second, let’s consider that again….did you say Princess? Of course I was going to go as a PRINCESS!!
Armed with the pattern, I went to the Rag market in Birmingham to choose my fabric. I was overwhelmed by the choice! I knew I wanted a brushed velour like fabric for the main piece and then some satin for the sleeves. I thought the plum/aubergine colour and the yellow/gold went beautifully together. I then chose the gold braid and the button/chain from a couple of other stalls. I can’t remember exactly how much it all came to but it was in the region of £18-20. Certainly comparable if not cheaper than buying a ready-to-wear one.
I didn’t find the fabrics themselves too difficult to work with, what I found challenging was the amount of fabric and the weight of it! The zip was 60 cm long. Sigh of relief when that bit was done!
The gold front piece is an ‘insert’ which is quite clever as it looks like a complete inner layer continuous with the sleeves but is in fact a smaller separate section sewn to the inner part of the front of the dress.
My favourite part of the dress! They are massive and really made me feel like a proper Princess!! The only downside….nightmare trying to wash your hands after going to the loo! Oh the life of a medieval Princess!
Here is a picture of me during the banquet night out – well when I say ‘during’ I mean at the end waiting for a taxi…making the most of those sleeves! I would have loved to have had a picture taken with the castle in the background but a) it was too dark and b) we were clearly having too much fun to remember to take scenic shots!
What I love about the sleeves apart from the sheer size of them is the fact that they are double layered so they are really silky to feel on the inside when you wear them. They are attached onto the lower part of the upper sleeve (the purple part) just below the braiding.
Dress centre front
The front of the dress consists of 2 main pattern pieces, joined together at a seam running down the centre. It is to this that the braiding is edge stitched in place. I worked hard to match the pattern on both sides of the braiding when they joined together and was really pleased with the resulting diamonds running down the centre of the dress.
Button and chain
I love this feature on the dress. It took me ages to choose the button as it is such a focal point of the dress, I wanted it to be right. I then bought some separate chain, cut it down, threaded it through the holes at the sides and hand stitched it in place. Both were snapped up from the Rag market in Birmingham.
A medieval princess definitely needs to have a bag to take her lip gloss and mobile phone with her! I had just enough time on the day of the banquet to quickly rustle up a matching little purse.
So there you have it… my medieval dress. What an achievement. Rather a challenging project for the relative novice that I was last year but so worth it! I was so proud when I got compliments about my dress and was able to say “I made it!”.
Medieval banquet anyone? Yes please!
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