So lately a bunch of my friends have been posting photos of their very first costuming attempts to compare to their current work– I couldn’t help but think of my own first real attempt at a costume, which was prompted by my first outing to the Northern California Renaissance Faire at age 15. I’d gone with my family and was immediately entranced with the whole idea– I knew I wanted to go in costume the following year, so started looking for options.
It started with a satin bridesmaid’s dress that I bought on sale and decided to modify (starting a long tradition of upcycling clothes into costumes that I continue to this day). After consulting books of historical clothing designs and promptly throwing historical accuracy to the wind in favor of something that would look “pretty,” I sketched out a design and conscripted my mother into teaching me how to use her sewing machine so we could make this:
At the time I loved it. Even in retrospect it’s not *that* bad. Sure, the shiny bridal satin is glaring and I still cringe at how, not knowing any better, I mimicked slashed/paned sleeves by literally appliquéing leaf-shaped pieces of the pale blue brocade onto the sleeve puffs, but the brocade was nice, the gold trim was lovely (craft stores just don’t carry trim like that anymore!), and I put a ton of work into hand-stitching 500+ tiny plastic seed pearls onto it for effect. The hat was purchased that day at the faire, but before that I’d made a gold mesh caul for my hair that didn’t look half bad, even by my current standards.
The costume is still hanging in the closet of my old bedroom– I’m fairly sure it no longer fits, but in a few years my daughter may be able to use it to play dress-up!
23 years later, I haven’t made any more attempts at fancy Renaissance wear (the Faires here on the East Coast are mediocre at best), but I’ve done cosplay, fantasy, steampunk, and tons of historical stuff. Here’s an array of everything I can find pictures of so far:
And that’s all I’ve got right now! I’ll wear my next set of Regency outfits in a few weeks, so hopefully I’ll get some decent pictures then!