Ladies' Renaissance Gowns
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Until recently, I had only 1 'normal' sized dress form to display my outfits. 'Normal' as defined by those strange people who think everyone wears a size 2! That made it difficult to properly display items of different sizes. And now of course, I have the men's line, so I have a male mannequin. Although I will say that even that isn't a great size. I do cheat on all of my models, I pad where I can, and I have been known to use the corset on myself and occasionally, on a couple of pillows when I couldn't find anything else to use for an outfit. The lovely black gown is an example of the wonders of pillows, corsets, wooden hangers and the odd IV pole. I will use anything I can to display my gowns in the best possible way. I would like to point out that on a smaller mannequin, the torso is much too short, therefore the bodice of a larger size will not display properly. Now, thankfully, I have several dress forms of various sizes and a couple of different sizes of full mannequins, including one that I consider to be sized 'normal'.
These next photos are of some gowns I did for a theme Renaissance wedding. The gold gown (you might think it looks like the black velvet and satin gown in the first picture, because it is modeled on that gown) is the Maid of Honor, and the Navy and Burgundy gowns (there were 2 of each) were Bridesmaids. I did not do the Bride's gown, but the photos of it were absolutely gorgeous! The styling of the gold gown (and the bride's as well) was French or British renaissance, while the bridesmaids were Italian renaissance. Yes, you can mix the styles at a theme wedding if you wish. The styles did overlap for a short period of time. Just like the Josephine styling era with the later French clothing in the 1800's.
These next 2 photos are what the bride wore for the wedding. It is a Mary's Bridal confection, and absolutely stunning! I did not make this gown. I cannot make a duplicate of it for any reasonable price. Please do not ask me to.
I was honored to be asked to make the attendants' gowns!
I am pleased and proud to announce that my first larger dress form came to me courtesy of my neighbors!! Thanks to my dear friends Alan and Cynthia Collier, I now am the delighted owner of an adjustable dress form. If you click on the photo of me in the gold gown above, on the new page with all of the photos, you will see that it is indeed, properly fitted! Thanks SO MUCH Alan and Cynthia!! Personally, I think they grew tired of laughing at me with the pins, and clothespins, and binder clips and what-not, trying to make due with the one smaller form. You can only laugh at the same routine so many times before it becomes boring...
I also now have a couple of full mannequins - both a smaller sized (the 'normal' sized mannequin you can readily buy), and what the industry calls a 'plus' size. I call it a 'reality' sized mannequin. I actually make very few size 2 to 4 outfits. I make many more that are sized 12-14. I prefer the 'larger' sized mannequins.
I also have a few new outfits to display. One of them is the current 'Special' sale, and I have a new outfit for myself to show. Somehow, I never seem to have anything for myself. I make something, wear it once to show it off, and then sell it. Whoops! There are also a couple of new pictures on the Men's page of my Lord Husband in his new outfit (gee, do you think he's getting into this, too? He actually asked me to make him a new one!!). His reasoning was that the other outfit would be too warm for this spring weather, what with the fur, silk, velvet and all. OK, sure baby. Please check out the Men's page as well.
These next gowns are an older 'elven' style, followed by a newer 'elven' gown I did that you can find on the Special Sale pages. You will note a similarity of style, but they are only similar. The base design IS different, and the sleeves are distinctly different. Personally, I prefer the older style better, but believe it or not, I can't find the pattern I used for it again!
The newer dress has an extremely difficult (unnecessarily so) sleeve gusset/underarm construction. Any commissions in the future based on this particular style will NOT encompass that facet of the design. I see no reason to not use a standard sleeve design for this gown. The newer dress style also has the back lacing for size adjustment and a small train. Both styles appeal to the 'Elvish' crowd, and have garnished quite a bit of attention. I am currently making the newer style for a young military wife who wishes to renew her vows when her hubby returns from the Gulf. May the Bright Lady look over him while he is in harm's way! And all of our brave men and women serving our country, where ever they may be stationed, or which ever branch of the service they might serve: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard! We are proud of you all!! Stand tall.
Here are 2 more gowns I have made. The first one I made to wear to a Kiwanis Club meeting, where I had been invited to speak on Renaissance Faires. I had been advised that 'normal' faire-wear might be a touch "revealing" for the members, and could I wear something a bit more modest... hmmm. So, I made an outfit that wasn't quite so low in the front. I dashed it off in a bit of a rush (I was in the middle of about 3 other projects at the time), so I hadn't made a proper pattern for myself. While it turned out nicely, it didn't fit me well. So instead of keeping it to wear later, I sold it. The fabric I used to make this outfit is a really lovely cotton brocade in rose and old gold. The weave is such that either side of the fabric could have been used. I then paired it up with a lively rosy-gold satin. They went very well together - the gold satin had just enough rose in it to really set off the brocade. For decoration, I used some faux-pearl drop trim, similar to Brandy's tea gown above. I put the trim on the neckline, around the sleeve openings and on the matching purse. All in all, I thought it turned out quite well!
The other 'new' gown I made was for RavenCon 08. This was my "Dream Gown". I'm sure you know what I mean. You have an idea in mind - your 'perfect' gown. Well, I had the fabric that I wanted to make the outfit from - a glorious blue and silver/gray silk brocade. I was going to use my old 'standard' style, and make it to FIT ME! I looked through my patterns, and decided to use a different pattern for the bodice, but the same general idea. Underskirt of satin, overskirt of brocade, sleeves that were brocade and lined with the satin... I even made a hat to go with the gown. It turned out great! Fit like a dream, looked fabulous - what could go wrong? Easy, someone bought it! I had it on display at 'Faire, and had too many requests for it - the last one from a lady who wanted it as her wedding gown. How could I refuse that??? Damn. Now I'll have to start over, and a different design, too - I will NOT duplicate an outfit, not even for myself [boo hoo!]. Anyway, here are the pictures of that one.
Remember how I said the above gown was my dream gown, and how much I missed it? Well. I had purchased an entire roll of the silk brocade from which I made that gown. I had more of it. Hmmm. Below is my latest gown (not finished yet. I'm just not happy with the sleeves) made of the same silk brocade, paired with navy silk duppioni and silver/grey peau de soie.
I really liked the split sleeve caps on the original gown, so I kept that feature. The new gown is not all separate pieces - the over skirt is attached to the bodice. This is only the second time I have made this type of dress for myself. I generally prefer that the bodice be a completely separate piece. More versatility, for one thing. With a lower class outfit, this is a very important feature. It means you can pair that bodice with different skirts - I also, almost always, make the merchant and peasant class bodices reversible. Even more looks from the same item. Much more economical for the buyer. The real advantage to the 1 piece overdress style is that you will never have to worry about the skirt(s) waist-bands showing - moving around does seem to have that affect on the multiple layers.
You can also find a page showing my progress making of this gown.A New Gown - During Construction
I do not duplicate any outfit without the express consent of the original purchaser. These pictures are for reference purposes. I can make you any gown you like in any fabric combination(s), simply email me for a quote.