Costume Corner – Renaissance Wedding, Part 4

Welcome to the fourth and final post on my Renaissance wedding.  Today, I am talking about what the groom, groomsmen, guests and the minister were wearing.


McCalls 2802

McCalls #2802

Cap’s mom made his tunic from McCalls pattern #2802.  It’s the style shown in blue and white in the picture on the right.  Let’s talk about that picture though,  kind of  ridiculous, right?   I mean, what is with that hat?  I’ve never seen any Renaissance costume with a hat like that.  Obviously, we skipped the hat but we also skipped the jaunty vest that they refer to as a surcoat.

CC RW 4aCap’s tunic is was made from blue velvet.  If you’ve never worked with velvet, it can be really difficult.  When sewing you have to pin the velvet every inch or so because it slides like crazy.  It sews pretty well once you have it pinned down, you just want to make sure that it’s all lined up.  There’s nothing worse than finishing a long seam only to find that there’s a puckered spot midway through the section.  Velvet is really heavy as well, so the seams need to be strong.

GroomsmenCC RW 4b

The tunics the groomsmen wore were also from McCalls #2802, in a black velveteen.  Cap’s mom sewed those as well, the shirts were made from white broadcloth from the same pattern.  We cheated with the pants and just bought leggings since they would be tucked into the lace up boots.  I matched the cording for each groomsmen and bridesmaid pairing, only because I am kind of dorky like that.   The guys said that the tunic and pants were very comfortable.


I made my father the same tunic, shirt and pants as the groomsmen.  Originally, I wanted to make him something a bit more fun and interesting but since Cap’s father was his best man I didn’t want to do anything offset the balance there.  It was a good decision because he looked great with my mom in her black velvet dress.


CC RW 4c


Butterick 5656
Butterick #5656


My brother and my nephew used Butterick pattern #5656. They looked great in their tunics and capes.

Here is a pic of the flagbearers, my brother’s oldest, my niece and nephew.  So happy that they could be there and part of the wedding.



We found a great minister, he was a friend of a friend and he was awesome.  He was happy to work with us and wasCC RW 4d quite accomodating with our less than traditional wedding.  When we talked about the wedding and what he would wear I offered to make him a costume.  He was very pleased.  I honestly can’t remember if I made him the cassock type robe underneath or if that was his already.  I did so much sewing during those six months and especially in the last month that I just don’t remember.   If I did, the robe would have been made out of white muslin and just made to slip over his head.


Princess bride priest1

I modeled his robe off the of the bishop’s robe in The Princess Bride.  It was much simpler and less ornate but I was really pleased with how it turned out.   I used a rectangular piece of fabric, I believe I used party taffeta, mostly because it has a stiffness to it without being very heavy.  In the front I added a panel connecting the two edges, I embellished it with gold fabric and trim. CC RW 4e I appliqued a large stylized Celtic cross to the back.   The back of the robe was long enough to trail behind him a foot or two.  There is a picture somewhere of him walking away with his robe flowing out behind him but I’ve looked through our photos about five times trying to find it but it is nowhere to be found.  I’ll update this post though it if shows up.



All in all, the wedding was a lot of work but it was so much fun and I love that instead of spending money on renting tuxes and horrid bridesmaid dresses that would never be worn again, I provided a costume that they could wear whenever they wanted.  It was definitely worth the work and since I did so much creatively; sewing, bouquets, vows,  the wedding really was uniquely mine.

I will leave you with my absolute favorite pic from the wedding.  We had just signed the marriage certificate and we had a moment to ourselves before pictures started.

CC RW 4f

Next week, I’ll be talking about costumes for kids.

Costume Corner will be cross-posted at Cap’s blog, The Geek Registry.


Costume Corner – Renaissance Wedding, Part 2

Last week, I talked about where I got the ideas that inspired the attire for my Renaissance wedding.  In this post, I am going to try to connect those original ideas with the actual garments.

I feel like I should start this off with mentioning that historical accuracy wasn’t really in the forefront of my thought process.  It was my wedding; I wanted to look pretty, I wanted to be comfortable and I wanted people to have fun.  I definitely wanted a Renaissance look, but, honestly, those three things were my main criteria.

My Wedding Dress

CC RW 2a

*Funny moment

As you’ve seen in the previous Costume Corner post, I incorporated a lot of blue into my dress.  This happened for a number of reasons, the most important being that blue is my favorite color.  The particular color I chose had to do with my engagement ring.  Weirdly enough, I am not a huge fan of diamonds, I think they look great on other people but they’re just not that exciting to me.  Sapphire and blue topaz have always caught my eye and thankfully Cap was an amazing listener.  When he proposed he presented me with a beautiful ring, an oval cut blue topaz set on a white gold and yellow gold band.  It was beautiful and perfect and I still love it fourteen years later.  I’d post a picture but I lack the ability to take a good photo of the ring, and if I post a pic I want it to look as beautiful as possible.  Also, no one needs to see my hands today, I was painting earlier and there are still some traces of Star Shine evident.  No need to worry, all of my rings were removed earlier and are safe on my ring holder.



Blue fabric

Glitter organza – Silkessence

So, I knew that I wanted blue topaz in my dress, I also knew that the main part of the dress should be kind of bridal looking.  I didn’t necessarily think it needed to be bright white but I didn’t rule it out either.  I went through several ideas, a white dress with a sheer white overlay, a blue dress with a white underskirt, a white dress with a detachable train, a white dress with a blue cape, blue dress with a snowy white cape, white dress with a blue train, and probably twenty other ideas that I don’t remember at this point.  When I came across the Simplicity #8735 pattern I began to really see what I wanted to do.  I had found the Silkessence and the Glitter organza in the perfect shade of blue.  All I needed to do at this point was find fabric that would go with the blue.  I wandered through several fabric stores armed with some sample pieces of my blue fabric, finally I found something that caught my eye.


Dress brocadeI found this cream brocade at a large fabric store.  I bought what was left on the roll which I believe came to about 20 yards.  I knew I wanted a long train and since I wasn’t sure of the specifics it seemed smarter to buy it right then rather than needing to go back and hoping it would still be there.

I posted two photos to show both the pattern and the sheen, which clearly changes depending on how the light hits it.  The cream colored floral pattern is raised with the champagne colored shiny background.  The pattern and color seemed elegant and regal, which was perfect for the theme.   I loved it, still do, and it went well with the blue.

Sewing notes –

I already mentioned that I used the bodice from McCall’s pattern #2308, I should also mention that I modified it so that it clasped in the front.  I could have done grommets and lace it up in the back like the bridesmaids dresses or added a zipper, which I believe was part of the actual pattern instructions.  The overskirt was going to be open in the front so I thought it just made sense to have the bodice clasp in the front.   Also, I love how the grommets and lacing look but they can be a pain to work with, add that to the weight of the fabric and the front closure just seemed like an even better idea.  I cut the pattern pieces out of muslin first to test my idea out.  I followed the pattern until I got to the middle part where the pattern piece would normally sit on the edge.  Before I started cutting I had set the pattern about six inches from the edge, I stopped cutting the diagonal with about 5 inches left and cut straight across to the edge of the fabric.  I cut out a one piece back piece and sewed the two together to make a mock up bodice.  With the help of my mom and sister, we pinned the muslin until it fit the way that I wanted.  I turned the muslin into a pattern for the actual bodice for my dress.

Hook and bar closure

I used two hook and bar closures in the front,  one at the ‘V’ where the front met and the second, slightly lower at the seamline where the bodice met the skirt.  The two clasps worked perfectly with the heavy fabric and there was no worry that if I shifted that the front would open accidentally.



hooks and eyes

My train was made up of three panels of fabric, 54 inches wide and four yards long.  At the top, I gathered it into large pleats and hand stitched them into place.  Originally, the train was going to attach at the waist but the weight of the train pulled straight down making the front of the dress all scatterwhoppy (yes, that is the technical term).  My mother suggested attaching it at the shoulders, which kind of satisfied my wish for a cape.  I used large hook and eye closures, I sewed two eyes on each shoulder of my dress and matching hooks at the top of each side of the train.  It attached and detached easily and didn’t cause the front of the dress to shift.  There was some pulling during the ceremony when we turned to face each other and no one thought to rearrange the train behind me but it was a minor thing.


My veil was essentially the same as the train.  I hand sewed three panels together, then gathered the top edges to the width that I wanted.  I had a pretty but simple gold tiara, I wrapped ribbon around the ends, feeding it throughCC RW 2b the spaces between the comb teeth.  I sewed snaps onto the ribbon and to the top veil edges, making the veil detachable for the reception.  I added flowers to camouflage the gathers and turn the tiara into a flower crown.

Gold oval bead

The bottom edge of the veil was lined with gold oval beads.  I hand sewed the beads on the veil and around the hem and  front edges of my dress.   The beads were strung on thread and then hand sewn onto the hem and the veil.  I spent a lot of time hand sewing while watching TV those last several months before the wedding.



Fairly good view of my train and veil.

Fairly good view of my train and veil.


My Renaissance wedding was supposed to be one post but apparently I have a lot to say about it.  Next week, I’ll be talking about dresses; bridesmaids, attendants and a few others.  See you next week!

Costume Corner will be cross-posted at Cap’s blog, The Geek Registry.


* We were laughing in this photo because the minister began our ceremony with the ‘Maiwwage’ monologue from ‘The Princess Bride’.  It was awesome and perfect, a great start to what we wanted to feel like a big party rather than a boring wedding.

Costume Corner – Renaissance Wedding, Part 1

Way back in 1999, I met my husband, Cap.  We were both working in a large chain bookstore, in between school and permanent career type employment.  We first started talking about marriage on the road trip back from Disneyland.  I mentioned that I thought a Renaissance themed wedding would be fun and Cap agreed.  I knew he was a keeper.

I started doing some research on different styles and began narrowing down my preferences.  I came back to some movies that had started my interest in the time period.   There’s more than likely some historical inaccuracies in many or all of these but that wasn’t really a primary concern at the time.  I loved the Old Hollywood swashbucklers like ‘Robin Hood’ with Errol Flynn and the 70’s version of the Musketeer movies with Michael York and Raquel Welch.  In the 90’s, I enjoyed ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ and ‘The Three Musketeers’ with Kiefer Sutherland and Gabrielle Anwar.  My absolute favorites were ‘The Princess Bride’ and ‘Ever After’, the movies came out ten years apart, fall of 1987 and summer of 1998, respectively.  Both films influenced a great deal of the planning of our wedding.


The Princess Bride

Princess Bride trio KC

Buttercup’s dresses were beautiful, I loved the flowy sleeves and the trains from the shoulder.  I especially loved the color and fabric of the blue dress.


Ever After

EverAfter Trio KC

Danielle’s dresses were beautiful too, especially the split front overdress that added so much fluidity to the bottom of the dress.  I also liked the overlay of the necklines on the overdress and underskirt in both the gold dress and the ball dress.

My final result incorporated elements from both movies.


I am addicted to buying costume patterns, so, I own almost every Renaissance pattern that has been available at Joann Crafts in the last fifteen years.

Simplicity 8735

Simplicity 8735

For the bridesmaids, I used the style in the lower right hand corner of Simplicity 8735*.

The main modification to this dress, is making a separate underskirt.  I used silkessence for the underskirt, cutting a new pattern that eliminated a front seam and added a rounded elastic neckline.   The sleeves were made from sparkly sheer material that I believe was called ‘glitter organza’.

The bridesmaids were able to pick any color for their dress except blue.  They also were able to pick any appropriate fabric.  I sewed a purple brocade, a deep red damask, hunter green velvet and a goldenrod shangtung.

Bridal dress

I combined the Simplicity 8735 pattern with the McCalls P477** for my dress.

McCalls 2806

McCalls 2806

I used the bodice of the overdress with the V- neckline from the McCall’s and made the underskirt using the Simplicity.

The skirt part of my overdress had some issues, in a stressed moment I made the decision to cut straight panels for the skirt and just gather them at the waist where the skirt meets the bodice.  The fabric was so heavy and thick that gathering so much fabric at the waist wasn’t such a good idea.  Now that I know much more about sewing, I would have made flared pieces for the skirt.  Sections that would be thin at the waistline and then flair out as they extend down to the hem.  Live and learn though, right?

For my fabrics, I chose an ivory brocade with a champagne background for the overdress with blue topaz for the underskirt.  I also had a 15 foot train attached at my shoulders.

Here’s a picture of my father walking me down the aisle.  Two of my nieces helped carry my train as I walked.  They had to really hold on to the corners because it rained on and off before the ceremony.  If you look closely you can see that the brick is still wet.  You can also see that the little jog in the hemline closest to my dad.  Someone stepped on it while we were getting ready and it wasn’t noticed until right before we walked out the door.

CC RW 1a

I intended on getting into the planning and sewing part of things a little bit more but the internet is being dodgy due to construction and possibly some storm action.  Next week, I will try to share some more details.

Until then… have a great week!

Costume Corner will be cross-posted at Cap’s blog, The Geek Registry.


*I believe Simplicity 8735 is out of print.  I remember at some point seeing it under a different number but I haven’t seen it recently.

**McCall’s P477, was also released as #2806 but that seems to be out of print as well.

Costume Corner – an introduction

I’ve decided to start posting every Saturday about my adventures in costume making.  I will also be crossposting this on Cap’s blog, The Geek Registry.

Adventures in sewing…

Here’s the deal, I love costumes.  I don’t know if it’s because of my love of old movies, or all of the books I read when I was a kid, or maybe my interest in history or quite possibly something else entirely.  I am sure it’s the result of some crazy combination of things, whatever it is, I really enjoy making costumes.

I can sew pretty well, I am not the best ever but I am definitely not the worst either.  My mother was an amazing seamstress, a fact that I’ve just only begun to appreciate in the last several years.    My mother sewed for the holidays, costumes at Halloween and dresses and decorations at Christmas and Easter.  She made clothes for herself  and the rest of us, including swim suits.  She also did a lot of sewing around the house, like curtains, tablecloths, bedspreads, dust ruffles and anything else that was needed.  My favorite was an elegant set of scalloped, sheer roman shades for the formal dining room.

When I was young, probably 7 or 8 years old, my mother taught me how to sew.  I wanted to make presents for family members for Christmas.  She started me on straight stitches and then a little zig zag.  That year I made fabric pouches that held individual tissue packets for everyone in my family for Christmas.  I wish I had a picture so that I could post it here.  They were super simple but I was very proud of myself.

After that, my mother went over how to cut out a pattern and properly pin the pattern pieces onto the fabric.  She explained how to match up the different pieces following the various match points, and dots.  Then I learned about clipping edges, sewing darts and a bunch of other stuff.  After that she just let me venture out and work on my own projects.  After that I learned a lot just bumbling my way along, I suppose at some point I should have asked her for more lessons and pointers.  I have some blind spots, like zippers, I am still in the process of learning how to put in a zipper.  I am very proficient in adding snaps, hooks and velcro though, so that’s a good thing.

The silver lining to all of  the trial and error is that I developed really good problem solving skills.  I’ve learned I can tweek almost any pattern, and at this point they’re more like guidelines really.  It is not rare for me to combine one or more patterns to create one piece or outfit.  Sometimes I end up using tissue paper or muslin to create my own patterns.

My biggest sewing project was my wedding in 2000.  When we were first talking about getting married I suggested we have a Renaissance themed wedding.  Luckily enough, my then fiance/now husband was all for the idea.  I made my dress, all of the bridesmaid dresses, my Dad’s tunic, a robe for the minister, as well as six other dresses.    Next week, I’ll go more in depth about the wedding.  Here’s a pic though, to tide you over.

CC Intro

Costume Corner will be cross-posted at Cap’s blog, The Geek Registry.