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Renaissance Faire Garb element - ladies' chemise

Added Apr 28, 2010

by mitzisewzalot

Chapel Hill, Nor...






Every spring, there is a huge Renaissance Faire in the very next town over from me, and every year more and more people go and have a lovely time in the imaginary village. Plus they sell roasted turkey legs! So this year I determined to go.

Faires are set in different times and places, and the authentic clothing of that setting would be the most appropriate thing to wear. This particular faire is set in the late 1600s in England, so when researching clothing I stuck to that period. I chose to make peasant clothing because I only had about 2 weeks to make everything. I did all of my research online, although there are several very good books on the subject in print.

This page only covers the chemise, but the overall costume project consists of the following elements:

male biggins
female biggins
male shirt thing
shin wrappings
male hat

Needless to say the past few weeks have been a sew-fest, as the Faire is this coming weekend.

To our modern eyes, these are not the most becoming clothes in the world – they are not particularly fitted or body-conscious – an element of many folk patterns! The typical skirt of the time period for a peasant would have been as full as she could afford, gathered onto a waistband, without pockets. It would not have been floor length, but rather hit about mid calf. It would have been completely hand-sewn.

I did not make a full-on, museum quality reproduction garment, but one that would appear to a casual observer to be fairly authentic. The pattern pieces are all rectangular, and there are inset under-arm gussets. The cuffs close with a ribbon drawstring. The neck opening is bound with a strip of fabric and fits over the head.

Material Notes

unbleached fine linen is ideal, but I used unbleached muslin instead for cost control.




Garment Type
Bohemian, Romantic
Cotton, Linen, Silk

2 Comments Sign in to add a post

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    Aug 25, 2010, 03.34 PMby heatherhorsey1

    I would love it, if you would post your pattern and instructions on this one! Hope you had a wonderful time!

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    Apr 28, 2010, 06.24 PMby sewing-thread

    I realy like this one! (;

    1 Reply
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      Apr 29, 2010, 03.11 PMby mitzisewzalot

      Thank you! If you would like the instructions, I will put them up. Also a photograph of it on – it is really cute! It would also look precious in all sorts of non-period fabrics such as shirting, liberty cottons, batiste, small florals, etc. It has a sort of Joanna Newsome vibe.

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