Costume | My Blog | Renaissance Festival | Sewing

Elizabethan Whovian- The Sleeves

May 3, 2017



It’s been a while since I talked about my Elizabethan Whovian so I thought I’d talk about part of the costume I finished, the sleeves!

I was waiting until I posted the photos I took on Time Traveler’s Weekend at the Renaissance festival to talk about the costume. My original plan was to make the costume and wear it to the festival. I was also planning on participating in the Time Traveler Costume Contest that Sunday. In order to keep myself on track, I created a schedule to help me work on the costume. (Finish the sleeves three weeks before the festival, work on the hat and draft the gown’s bodice pattern for three days, ect.) Unfortunately, the stomach flu I had in February threw my schedule off so badly I couldn’t get back on track. So, the costume was unfinished on Time Traveler’s Weekend.

Even though I was upset about not finishing the costume, I went to the festival anyway and was soon thankful I wasn’t wearing a whole entire Elizabethan costume. It was unseasonably hot that weekend and I’m sure I would not have made it more than a few hours fully dressed in my Elizabethan costume. (I was having a very bad time with my seasonal allergies so I was not feeling very great.)

Even though I didn’t finish the costume when I wanted to wear it, I still decided to finish it. The progress on it has slowed because I was also making clothes for normal wear. And when it comes to making normal clothes or a costume, normal clothes take top priority. Still, I wanted to work on the costume and the easier parts of the costume I wanted to work on was the sleeves.

After my chiffon undershirt idea failed as an undershirt, I began looking up ideas on how to make the sleeves for the costume. I originally wanted to use the sleeves in the Simplicity pattern, but I really don’t like the way the sleeves in the pattern look or fit. After searching the internet, I found Elizabethan Sleeve Pattern 1, Spiral Paned Sleeves Sewing Pattern by Lynn McMcaster. I never worked with a pattern just for sleeves, but I have worked with Lynn McMcaster’s Elizabethan hat pattern and like it. So, I decided to give the pattern a try and ordered it.

After I got the pattern and bought almost all the supplies I needed to make the sleeves, I got the stomach flu. I ended up staying in bed, reading the instructions so I know what exactly what I’m doing when I recovered and began work on the sleeves.

My original idea was to make view B but instead of using ribbon for the slashes in the sleeves, I wanted to use strips of fabric. I chose white and grey polyester satin for the sleeve because at that time I was in a hurry to finish my sleeve for Time Traveler’s Weekend and that was all I had in my fabric stash I thought would look good for my costume.

Yes, I used my Eevee slipper as a pattern weight. It worked pretty decently as a pattern weight too! XD

The method of using strips of fabric on the sleeves worked out well and once I was finished, the sleeves looked like this…

I’m not going to lie, I hated the way the sleeves looked. I think they’d look super nice if I used better fabric for the slashes, but at that time I couldn’t find anything better at the fabric stores. Grrr. So, I instead bought ribbon and sewed in onto the sleeves the same way I sewed the fabric onto the sleeves.

The ribbon I decided to use was a polyester organza ribbon with a satin edge and silver trim. I seriously doubt think this kind of ribbon is historically accurate, and if it is I don’t think they’d use organza for sleeves in Elizabethan times, but I like it anyway. It was also on sale and there was enough for both sleeves. So, it was perfect!

After I bought the ribbon, I re-cut the lining fabric out of white polyester satin, laid the ribbon on top of the lining, and then sewed it and the pearls down.

After that, I sewed the seam of the sleeves closed so now they look like this…

The last thing I need to do is sew ribbon onto the top of the sleeves so I can attach them to the gown. The sleeves in the pattern are tie-on sleeves, so I don’t need to make an undershirt or worry about the lacing on the sides of the gown distorting the way the sleeves look. Since the gown is not finished, I cannot sew on the ties yet. :)

That’s all for now! Thank you for reading and being patent with me and this dress! It’s so much harder than I anticipated, and finding supplies is worse than I ever imagined. :/

Thank you for reading!