The Quest to Find Fabric for a 2020 Renaissance Festival Costume
February 27, 2020
It’s mid February and that means so many things, including the Arizona Renaissance Festival is open! I plan on going this year, but after years of illness and body weight/shape/size problems, none of my beloved costumes will fit me. I’m in the process of salvaging as many as I can, but to be honest I know I can’t save all of them. I plan to recycle the fabric I used to make the costumes I cannot save, but there are costumes I want to make but do not have enough fabric to make some of the costumes I want to make to wear to the festival.
Because of this, I decided to search for new fabric to make my new costume out of. And that turned out to be not as easy as I thought it would be.First, my requirements for fabric have changed. When I went to the festival ten years ago, I bought whatever fabric I liked, used a commercial sewing pattern to make the costume out of, and, even though it didn’t look perfect, it worked. Now, I want the fabric to be machine washable that will wear well under repeated abuse and sitting in the dirt and grass. I also discovered the fabric from ten years ago was thicker than the fabric that can be found today. This is especially true at JoAnn’s. Fabric selection in my area is not good and, even though I complained about this for many years, it’s getting worse every year. Because of this, I want thicker fabric (Similar weight to the kind found ten years ago) and I want to be able to see it in person before purchasing it.
Second, I need more fabric than I used to. I’m taller now and, even though there are women that are as tall as me and fit into my old dress size, I cannot. My body is just too curvy to fit into the old size I used to fit into. Because of this, I need more fabric to make the costume, especially if it’s a dress.
And finally, I have trouble using coupons for fabric. Hobby Lobby is still consistent with their coupons and what it works on, but JoAnn’s is not. They have exclusions that they didn’t used to have, such as no doorbusters or clearance priced items can be used with a certain coupon. Because of this, I don’t buy as much fabric for costumes like I once did and instead spend most of my fabric money on fabric I want to use to make normal clothes.
So, I’m fairly annoyed with all of this and I feel like I spend more time and money hunting down fabric than constructing the costume and wearing it. I want to make it easy on myself and buy some of the parts of the costume I want to make and wear to the festival, but, thanks to my longer torso and curves, I can’t fit into most of the costume pieces I find for sale at the festival. And, because I’m a little skittish when I talk about my weight online, loosing weight won’t help. It’s my body’s shape and length of my torso combined that make it hard to find any clothing, let alone costumes. So, I need to make myself the costumes I wear or else they’ll be too short on me.
The problems I face finding fabric (As well as finding clothing that fits me correctly or close enough and insecurities about my body and how it looks) made me want to give up costuming completely, but I’m forcing myself to make myself a costume. I already have a sewing pattern picked out and, yes, it will fit my torso. It’s not going to be historically accurate, but I don’t care. It fits my torso. And if I discover it doesn’t, it’s not a big problem because I have books about historically accurate costumes like it that explain how to make it fit me. And I have fabric…
The fabric is from JoAnn’s. Again, I’m not looking for historical accuracy, but something I can wear and enjoy wearing to the festival. The grey fabric are Supima Sateen Cotton and the flower fabric (The trim fabric and roses) are part of the Premium Cotton line. All the fabrics are machine washable. I love how the work together and cannot wait to turn them into something!
The only problem is I can’t figure out what I want to turn them into.
My original idea was to use a reprint of a non historically accurate 18th century Butterick costume pattern, but then I remembered I wanted to make McCall’s 7763 and Simplicity’s EA888101 from the Premium Print on Demand pattern line. So far EA888101 is beating the other two sewing patterns because I have a desire to make it. It was a pattern I fell in love with as a child when it first came out and now that I own the Print on Demand version, I can make the pattern. So, I’m leaning towards making that pattern instead of the other two. I have enough fabric to make EA888101, but not enough to make McCall’s 7763. As for the Butterick pattern, I’m still not sure how badly I want to make it right now. I know I’ll make it one day, but not right now.
So, that’s the progress I made in making the costume for the 2020 Arizona Renaissance Festival. I know I will need to work on the costume quickly before the festival is over, but it’s a job I’m ready to take on.