Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wench!

I've made mention of my wench costume before. It's yet another costume I made some years ago that I can no longer wear.



I used this pattern:


which is out of print now. However, they seem to have re-released it, with a different picture on the front, as Simplicity 3809:


I don't see much difference, but maybe they've changed the instructions a bit. I recall there were some odd things with the bodice that I fixed, such as having raw edges poking in at the side seams even though the bodice is lined. (See my pattern review for all the details. )

As it no longer fits me (and never will again) I have no issues with making up a very similar costume for either the renaissance festival or the pirate festival. However, I'll be using natural materials this time around. This costume was made pretty much entirely in synthetics. The skirt was made of "100% Mixed Fibres" which is the fabric store's lingo for "we have no idea". It wrinkles really easily, however, and its behaviour reminds me of a dress I have that is a rayon-acetate blend, so I'm thinking those fibres are in it.


The bodice is made from upholstery material. Honestly. It's a thick, acrylic weave with a slight pile, and a rubbery back to it (It's lined, of course - but also with a polyester). However, I think that the heavy weight of it and the backing was probably what made the bodice so smooth and strong. It's a boned bodice (lightweight plastic boning, the same stuff that you can get at every fabric store) and I suspect that if the fabric had been any lighter, the fabric would have wrinkled around the waistline and the bones would have quickly developed a kink, distorting the silhouette.

Lesson learned: for future incarnations I'll be using coutil and steel bones (probably spiral steel).

The reason I ended up picking such contrasting colours for the costume was that the bodice fabric actually does have some deep red bits in it, as you can sort of see in this picture (you may have to enlarge it to see properly):



I should note that the one exception to the "all synthetics" rule in this costume is the blouse. It's made from a very nice cotton batiste that was in my stash at the time and I have never found again. I'm going to have to take the elastic out of the neckline and replace it with a longer length, because it could still fit me nicely if I do that. I used it for my gypsy costume as well. In both cases I needed to tack it to my bra in a few places to keep it from riding up over my shoulders as I move.


Another lesson learned is to always dye my hair before a photoshoot.

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