Elizabethan Whovian- Dress Design and Fabric

It’s that time of the year when the Arizona Renaissance Festival reopens! Although I’m very excited about the fair, I had so much going on in my life these past few years that I was unable to go to the festival more than one day and I was unable to make or finish any costumes to wear to it. This year, I’m able to work on a costume, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to go. Still, I’m going to try to make a new costume.

I made an Elizabethan style dress a few years ago (My Elizabeth I dress from Doctor Who), but I look at it now and wish I had waited a few more years to make it. There are so many things wrong with it construction wise I want to pretend it doesn’t exist. Despite this, I’m glad I made it because I wouldn’t know as much about sewing Elizabethan dresses if I didn’t make this dress in the first place. Last year, I decided to make a new Elizabethan style dress for the Renaissance Festival, but, instead of remaking the Elizabeth I dress, I decided to make an Elizabethan style dress with Doctor Who references in the details of it.

Before I continue, I would like to apologize for the blurry photos in this post. I’m still having camera problems and I wasn’t able to take the photos on anything better than my cell phone. :(

The dress went through a few revisions before I settled on this design…

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The dress is inspired by this painting of Leonora di Toledo of Florence from 1571. I’ve loved the dress and the color scheme of the dress in the painting ever since I saw it for the first time. I saw on Pintrest a while ago someone (I believe it was a museum) made a dress based off Leonora’s dress in the painting. I always thought that, if I had the chance, I’d like to make the dress for myself. Although my dress will not be the same as Leonora’s, I hope anyone familiar with the painting will see references to it in my dress.

The pattern I’m using for the dress is Simplicity’s 3782 pattern in view B…

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I have plans to modify the pattern, but I’ll talk about those modifications in future posts.

The main gown will be made out of a cobalt blue faux shantung dupioni silk that I found and purchased off Etsy…

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I love this fabric. It’s polyester, machine washable, and isn’t as thick as other fabric I was looking at to make the gown out of. Plus it wasn’t ridiculously expensive. :)

The front section of the petticoat will be made out of fabric I bought on Spoonflower…

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This fabric, called The Doctor’s Favorite Things- Brighter, was designed by Kdowning and is my favorite Doctor Who inspired fabric to date. I already used this fabric before in other projects and love the design very much. When I decided to make my Elizabethan Whovian dress, I couldn’t think of any other fabric to use for the petticoat. I had the design printed on cotton poplin ultra and cannot wait to see what it looks like under the blue gown.

In addition making the gown, I plan on making an undershirt to go with the costume. One of the modifications to the Simplicity pattern I plan on making is to make is to take the sleeves off and let the undershirt’s sleeves show, but I’ll go into the details of how I’m going to do that in another post.

I plan on making the undershirt out of polyester chiffon…

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The chiffon looks white in this photo, but it’s actually ivory. Normally I won’t buy or use an ivory colored fabric to make something for myself because it doesn’t look good against my skin tone, but I had a few yards of this ivory chiffon left over from something else I was working on. So, instead of buying new chiffon in white, I decided to use the ivory chiffon instead. :)

Although I have all the fabric purchased, I don’t have trim for the gown. Originally was not planning on using trim on the gown, but I’ve become open to the idea of using trim if I come across a trim that I really like. So far I didn’t find any so my gown will remain trim-less.

Well, that’s all I have to talk about for now! Next week I hope to be able to write a post about the chiffon undershirt. I’m not sure if I will because I’m still having problems with my cameras, which means taking progress photos will be hard. I’ll still try, but it’s a huge obstacle I have yet to figure out how to get around.

Thank you for reading!