Sewing Family Costumes for Our Visit to the Renaissance Festival

I have a very special “Spring Hobby”, for 11 years I have been sewing costumes for myself, my son and my daughter to go to the Georgia Renaissance Festival, (my husband wears his bibs, t-shirt and straw hat).

The Georgia Renaissance Festival comes to Fairburn, Georgia in April of each year. My year starts by figuring which costumes to sew for that year. When sewing the costumes, we have to take into consideration everything that was important about the Renaissance Festival. Such as, we ask our questions like “what will the weather during the week-end of our visit?” Some years in Georgia, the weather in April is very hot, some years the weather is cold, rainy and windy. “Should we also wear capes that year?” “How heavy should my dress, my daughter’s dress or her costume be, (one year she dress as a ‘Lady Pirate’)?” “How many layers should we (the Ladies) wear?” “How heavy should my son’s jacket, Doublet or vest be?”

Also, when sewing for the Renaissance Festival, you need to be aware of the different colors that can be worn or ‘should not’ be worn as far as status. ‘Status’ means your “Persona” or what/who you are portraying: be it a Peasant, Commoner, Royalty, or Knight. NEVER wear purple, since this is completely for the King and Queen only! Black is for a ‘High Courtly’ status. Red is considered ‘High Religious’ status. Blues, browns and greens are fine colors to use, since these are common colors in nature. Yellow though is considered a color most used for prostitutes or unfortunately at a time to mark the Jewish people in Germany years ago.

Using historically accurate patterns are more enjoyable at the Renaissance Festival. There are many patterns that are somewhat easy to sew, but there are others that go into very strong details that are more difficult to sew. Check-out patterns in; McCall’s Patterns, Simplicity Patterns, and Butterick Patterns. There are patterns for Ladies dresses, Ladies Corsets, Men’s shirts and pants, Ladies and Men’s hats, Ladies and Men’s Underclothes, pouches, belts, wrist bracers.

When choosing your material, be very careful not to choose colors that are ‘Modern’, such as: Neon or bright. Patterned material that is also ‘Modern’ is a No-No and don’t use material that is ‘Modern’ like ‘Corduroy’ or any other that is like that.

Remember, that at the Renaissance Festival, Children can dress-up like “Fairies” and there are many Fairy costume patterns out there (again, check McCall’s and Simplicity for these types of patterns). Have fun with making a child’s Fairy costume, they are allowed to enjoy the Renaissance Festival in these gorgeous costumes and they can be made in many different color too. One of the best things about the Festival is a lot of the shows are “Audience Participation”. They do enjoy involving children on stage too. Be aware though, that there are some shows that are “Adults Only”, please check your programs for that.

Each year I get a new pattern to sew that challenges me and my sewing skills. I love sewing and love learning something new each year, I always have fun with it in the end at the Renaissance Festival.

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