Organized and compiled by BJ Kuehl for the and newsgroups.
Please email BJ directly with additions or corrections to the FAQ.

Medieval and Renaissance Theme Wedding FAQ: Questions about Attire

3.1: Those who were married in a medieval-style ceremony, what did your wedding party and guests wear?

3.2: Any ideas on how I can encourage my guests to dress in period clothing, too?

3.3: HELP! My fiance wants a medieval-style wedding but I don't know the first thing about that time period, much less about the clothes they wore.

3.4: My wife is desperately in need of a source of patterns for medieval/Renaissance wedding clothing for the bride, groom, and all of the wedding party. Where can we get such patterns?

3.5: I can't sew on a button. Where can I buy medieval clothing?

3.6: Does anybody know of a catalog which offers readymade but affordable period clothes? I can't possibly sew for everyone!

3.7: Does anyone know of good Web sites regarding medieval clothing?

3.8: My fiance has informed me that he hates tuxes and would prefer to get married in a robe rather like the ones worn by Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons. Anyone have a clue where I would find such a beast?

3.9: Does anyone know where I could get a velvet cape? I am thinking about an evening wedding and an off the shoulder gown, and I get cold easily (Plus I just love them!!).

Medieval and Renaissance Theme Wedding FAQ: Questions about

(c) The Medieval and Renaissance Theme Wedding FAQ was compiled
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3.1:  Those who were married in a medieval-style ceremony, what
    did your wedding party and guests wear?

From: (SUE)
At a used store I saw a bright blue cotton jacquard (brocade) 
dress in the exact style I wanted for $15. My fiance and I spent
the night using bleach and colour remover, and now it is a 
gorgeous shade of light blue/white (MOH happens to be wearing a 
navy blue medieval dress and my mother a royal blue queen 
costume). I am going to attach the ivory jacquard that I already
bought to the shoulders of the dress with snaps as a detachable 
train and put gold crochet ($15) over the area to cover the 
snaps when I take the train off.  I have bought ($8) unbleached 
cotton which I will starch and sew into a sort of crinoline/
lining under the dress. It is handmade by the looks of the sewing
and used as a bridesmaid dress I assume.  For a total of $75,
I will be a medieval princess.
>From (Lanfear)
My dress was upper-middle class, Spanish style in forest green
with mint green trim and pearls.  My husband wore garb from the
same green but his was trimmed in gold.
>From (Miche)
The bride wore a Renaissance style cartridge-pleated, side-laced
dress of purple, lilac and black satin. The groom wore Tudor
style gears like you see in the pictures of Henry VIII,
including codpiece.  The guests all wore their favourite garb.
The bride lent me a dress - Renaissance style back-laced dress
with plunging v-neck, in blue and silver, with a line of tiny
bells round the waist line.
>From Susan Carroll-Clark 
My husband and I wore ivory and gold Elizabethan garb (not so
much because these were wedding colours, but because they were
popular Elizabethan colours).  Another wedding I attended had
the male and female attendants in red and blue cotehardies,
while the bride and groom wore houppelandes.
From: (Renee Ann Byrd)
In a 1993 wedding I attended, the bride's attendants wore angel
dresses -- basically these were long tunics with tied around the
waist with a rope-like belt.
From: (Orilee Ireland-Delfs)
The bride wore a cream brocade dress (a bit of fantasy here - it
was modeled after one in the Princess Bride) with her hair
uncovered.  Her bridesmaids each wore a dress in a jewel tone to
match their own persona: one was in a deep red tudor, another in
emerald green cotehardie.  She also made matching outfits for
her parents and his parents (the fathers discovered how much fun
tights can be - we complimented them on their legs quite
regularly!)  Guests were encouraged to wear garb (although the
SCA guests wore garb as a matter of course).  The groom, being
Irish, wore a saffron yellow tunic with embroidery and went
barefoot most of the day.
From: (Jason L)
One of my cousins decided to do a Ren wedding on Twelfth Night
the same year we did ours. When I finally saw the pictures I was
quite disappointed in the quality of her "production". Not only
did she wear a white dress, the bridesmaids all wore the same
color and kind of dress. Both TOTALLY inappropriate for the
period. They were also more of an Arthurian fantasy style and
not authentic to the period.  However the groom did get to wear
a full suit of armour! (Way cool!)
From: Patricia D. Mooney
About half the guests dressed in costume, including the parents
and several newborns!  Although I had a regular, off-shoulder
wedding dress (ordered before we got this bright idea!) and
wreath, Alan wore tunic, tights, and sword.  The sword became
quite a prop for pictures -- my favorite photo is of all
costumed guests surrounding me as I knighted Alan.  After we'd
chosen our garb, we ran across the most beautiful medieval
wedding costumes in a shop -- but it was too late and the wrong
season.  (The costumes were appropriate for winter, not August.)
From: "John A. Resotko" 
I already have a good portion of my clothing (leggings,
knee-high hand-tooled moccassins from Bald Mountain Mocs, etc.)
since we frequent RenFests in the Michigan/Illinois/Ohio area.
I'll probably buy an exceptional quality shirt and a brocaded
jacket/vest to dress my usual garb up for the occasion.
From: (Amy E. Rottier)
My dress was made by a bridal shop that makes dresses in Takoma
Park, MD.  I found the perfect material after many weeks of
intensive searching - an ivory brocade with gold strewn through
it.  The fabric was $25 a yard.  I wanted the majority of the
dress made with this fabric, and the rest in an ivory antiqued
satin.  The way it ended up:  dropped waist gown with full
skirt, slim long sleeves, pointed.  Low neckline.  Plain
shoulders.  The brocade fabric was used everywhere except the
sleeves and a front placket that ran from neck to hem.  I had a
gold cord criss-crossed across the front of the bodice and tied
at the dropped waist.  Everyone said I sparkled in the sun.  I
felt so beautiful in that dress.  My then-fiance decided he
wanted to wear a cloak and tights, so tights they wore.  We had
the cloak made (reversible, in black and burgundy, with glorious
trim), found burgundy leggings in a clothing store, he made a
belt, and dyed his moccasin boots.  He wore a tunic of an ivory
color, with a stand-up collar.  He also wore leather bracelets
(the manly kind!). He was stunning.  Anyway, it turned out that
Mark's outfit cost as much as mine.  How's that for equality!
My bridesmaids wore a version of a dirndl pattern - a
floor-length skirt (in burgundy) with bodice-vested top (in
mauve).  The pattern also included a shirt, but we made the
sleeves from a muslin-type cotton (off-white and speckly) and
just attached them to the vest.  The guys wore a version of
Mark's outfit - black cloak (not as ornate, and not reversible),
black shirts with burgundy belts, burgundy tights, and black
ankle-high moccasin boots.
From: (June Petersen)
I suppose my dress was more like "fantasy Ren", two layers of
beige gauze skirt with lace, and a beige gauzy top with a
lace-up center (upon which were sewn pearls and brilliants).
I've always been a fiend for lace, so there was lots of it,
including a 5 foot lace "train" veil (carried by my "page").  We
bought the basic dress stuff (skirts, top) and embellished the
hell out of it.  It had detachable sleaves of lace, very big and
trailing at the bottom.  He wore breeches and boots, a loose
cotton shirt and a big cloak.  Our parents were also dressed in
Renaissance mode, as were my Mom's folks.  A lot of the guests
came in Ren or pseudo-Ren, which made it a lot of fun!
My fiance and I will be wearing traditional wedding clothes
(since he couldn't manage to talk his ushers into wering period
clothing!)  My dress is ivory, with a V-neck neckline and
brocade detailing on the bodice, with matching detail an inch
above the hemline. My fiance bought me the necklace I will be
wearing. It is a Medieval cross (purchased through Past Times),
even on all four sides (rather than a traditional cross, which
is longer at the bottom) with a garnet in the center. The four
"ends" are in the shape of Fleur de Lys, with a pearl on three
of them. It was believed back then that this type of medallion
was good luck.  The ushers will be wearing tuxedoes but not with
the traditional bowtie and cumberbund. Instead, it's the type of
tuxedo with an ascot (wide tie) and vest. Danny (the groom) will
wear tails, and the ushers will wear shorter jackets. The girls
will be wearing emerald green velvet dresses.
From: (Jason L)
The hardest thing to do was getting enough GOOD costumes for
everyone. It is much easier to do if you do peasant or lower
middle class dress, but we did a noble wedding which is harder
to pull off.  We used our costume colors in a dramatic way.
Andrea's family and attendants were dressed in yellows & browns,
while my side was predominately in blues & grays. We were both
dressed in green.  Andrea had gold trim, myself with blue. Even
though it was slightly 'theatrical' it represented a symbolic
merging of the families -- Andrea's family in Earth tones, my
own family in the colors of water and sky, and us in green, the
color of new growth and renewal. It turned out that the hardest
thing with the costumes was convincing both mothers that they
REALLY had to wear them.  Both fathers said "It sounds like

3.2:  Any ideas on how I can encourage my guests to dress in
     period clothing, too?

From: Moadeeb 
We are having a reasonably informal wedding with a renaissance/
fantasy theme (after all, I AM marrying my prince!) and would 
like as many of the guests as possible to dress appropriately.
However, I don't want anyone to be afraid of not coming just 
because they don't want to go through the expense/steps of 
finding proper attire.  I was thinking of putting something on 
the bottom of the invitation like "Medieval/Renaissance attire 
suggested but by no means required".
From: Debbie McCoy 
Treat it just like you would if you wanted them to know that 
your wedding was a semi-formal occasion. In that case, you'd put
"Black-Tie Optional" on the Reception Card -- not on the 
invitation itself. If I were you, I'd put "Renaissance/Medieval 
Attire Optional" on the Reception Card. This gives your guests 
the option of dressing-up. Those that want to, can, and those 
that don't want to, don't have to.
From: (SUE)
What we did was include a newsletter describing accomodations, 
sights to see, etc. and one subtitle was "Theme of the Wedding".
It read: "The theme will be a medieval romance.  The bridal 
party and parents will be in full medieval costume, and guests 
are invited to participate.  Simply wear your regular evening 
attire and add a dramatic touch such as a hat, pair of gloves 
or cape. Be creative!"
From: (Chris Petersen)
I attended my first SCA event last summer - as a guest at a
friend's wedding.  With each invitation, she included a small
SCA-published pamphlet that talked about how to quickly, cheaply
and easily make period dress for just such an event.  Many
people chose to follow this and some even wore towels clipped
together to form tabbards.  Others chose simply to come in
mundane clothing.
From: (Jason L)
We encouraged our guests to come in period attire, but did not
make it mandatory. I included a brouchure that I had bought at
the Southern (California) Faire about assembling an outfit that
would give a period look using clothing that most people might
already have or could get easily. We also included info about
where people could rent or purchase costumes in the area. About
half of our guests at least made an attempt to come in period
attire, the rest mostly wore traditional modern dress clothing.
At least they came, so I didn't mind that they were in modern
clothing. Also try to get a caterer, photograher and minister
who will dress in period clothing, and be prepared to get the
clothing for them. We interviewed a few before we found some
that would be willing to 'dress up' for our wedding.
From: (Trystan L. Bass)
The only way to get really period garb is to sew it yourself, of
course.  If you're going for a very early period &/or for
peasant classes, the clothes are pretty easy to make & you could
round up everyone you know & have sewing parties.  When doing
period events with non-costumer folk, it's always a good idea to
make it as easy & comfortable for them as possible.  You might
not want to stress historical accuracy if you're dealing with
people who rarely wear anything but jeans and sneakers!
From: (Jason L)
Try to get a minister who will dress in period clothing and be 
prepared to get the clothing for them. We interviewed a few 
before we found some that would be willing to 'dress up' for 
our wedding.
From: (Lanfear)
The gentleman that did our wedding was a personal friend but is 
on a referal list the Faire keeps of ordained clergy that will 
do weddings in period garb, style, etc.
Some friends of mine had a Renaissance-style wedding a couple of
years ago.  The reception was themed as a masked ball (so the
family and friends could wear any costume they wanted).  The
wearing of masks was prevalent throughout the 15th and 16th
centuries, especially during the Carnival season.  The film
"Much Ado About Nothing" (the Branagh version) has a very nice
masked party.  The Liz Taylor-Richard Burton version of Taming
of the Shrew has a Carnival procession wandering through Padua.
And of course, there's Zefirelli's Romeo and Juliet, where R&J
meet at a masked party.
From:  ????????????
For those guests who cannot come up with a suitable costume I
am making 'slip on' costumes -- tunics over pants for men,
dresses for women.

3.3:  HELP!  My fiance wants a medieval-style wedding but I
     don't know the first thing about that time period, much
     less about the clothes they wore.

>From (Trystan L. Bass)
Go to the library and take a look at some historical costume
books and pick out a time frame that suits you.  Here are some
basic categories to help you decide:
  1. Royalty (the most formal and fanciest clothes from the era)
  2. Merchant class (good but not showy, modestly prosperous)
  3. Peasant (casual, carefree, outdoorsy, little decoration)
     A. Medieval (women in long, slim-fitting gowns; men in
        tights and tunics)
     B. Renaissance (women in tight bodices and full skirts; men
        in tights, breeches, pirate shirts, laced vests)
If you want your whole bridal party in period garb, think about
what styles everyone will be comfortable in.  Renaissance
peasants and Medieval clothing will probably be easiest to wear
for those not accustomed to heavy, confining, or unusual
clothing.  These are also the easiest styles to create!
From: Anne Reynolds 
For any given century, there was usually one or two "cultural
centers of the world."  Everyone else tried to imitate that
culture.  For example, the British Isles spent most of the
11th-13th century trying to imitate France.  In the late
14th-15th centuries, Italy was the place to imitate.  In the
16th and 17th centuries, Spain and then England were considered
cultural centers.  The cotehardie was *the* fashion for women in
the 12th - 13th centuries.  The best examples of the style are
in french books of hours.  Most of those books also show women
in houppelandes which was the second most popular fashion from
the 12th - mid 14th century.  The houppelande is a much
"bulkier", gathered dress that is also very lovely.  The main
style of clothing for most of the middle ages (popular from
Roman times through the 12th century) is the T-tunic.  It is
very simple to make but has millions of variations and can be
elaborately decorated.  You can decorate the sleeves, the hem,
the collar, the front, etc.  It can be as long or as short as
you please, the sides can flare out instead of being cut
straight down, and the side seams can be left open below the
hips for greater range of movement. The T-tunic was worn by
both men and women and it is cut like:

  -------------------\     /--------------------  <- on the fold
  |                   -----                    |
  |  _________                      _________  |
  | /        |                      |        \ |
  |/         |                      |         \|
  /          |                      |          \
             |                      |
             |                      |
             |                      |
             |                      |
             |                      |
             |                      |
             |                      |
             |                      |
             |                      |
             |                      |
             |                      |
             |                      |
             |                      |
             |                      |

3.4:  My wife is desperately in need of a source of patterns for
    medieval/Renaissance wedding clothing for the bride, groom,
    and all of the wedding party.  Where can we get such

From: (Barbara Jean Kuehl)
There are a number of different pattern companies that
specialize in historically-accurate period clothing.  Four that
I have heard of (and there may be others) are Folkwear Patterns,
Period Patterns (by Medieval Miscellanea), Past Patterns and
Fantasy Patterns.
From:  ???????????
Past Patterns makes 19th & early 20th century patterns,
historically accurate, often with historical info on the
patterns.  Folkwear Patterns is a large, popular company that 
makes patterns inspired by folk costume, ethnic clothing, and
historical fashions.  The patterns are historically accurate,
and include historical/ethnic/folkloric notes & ideas for
embellishment.  Many of the ethnic clothing patterns work for
Med/Ren styles, esp. peasant clothes, but the historical fashions
are mostly 19th & 20th century.  Medieval Miscellanea [makers of
Period Patterns} is one of the few makers of specifically Med/Ren
clothing patterns.  They have a lot of historical annotation but
can be hard to follow.
From: (Lori Iversen)
Both Folkwear and Medieval Miscellanea brands are available
through the Raiments catalog as well as Amazon Vinegar Pickling
Works and Drygoods Emporium [see catalog list], along with lots
of other pattern brands and costuming sundries.  I would
recommend getting catalogs from both places instead of just
asking for a particular pattern brand; that will give you a much
larger base to work from.
Fantasy Fashion patterns are in the Raiments catalog.
From: (Barbara Jean Kuehl)
Period Patterns, Fantasy Fashion Patterns and Folkwear Patterns
are also available through Chivalry Sports (see catalog list),
although their selection is very limited.  Period Patterns are
available through MacKenzie-Smith.
From: (Susan A. Ondrick)
I have Period Patterns No. 56, Late Tudor and Elizabethan Gowns.
Historical notes are included with the patterns.
I have ordered Folkwear patterns and have been very pleased with
them.  I have seen Folkwear patterns carried in specialty
pattern shops, but they carry a very limited selection.
From: (JJ)
Try Folkwear Patterns.  They have various enthnic patterns as
well as historical ones.  Not all fabric stores carry them. I'd
recommend sitting down with the yellow pages, looking up
"Fabrics" and calling every fabric store listed.  Talk to the
managers if you have to - if they don't carry Folkwear they
might know of places that do.  I've made several of the Folkwear
patterns.  Many of them are DIFFICULT (and I'm a *very*
experienced seamstress). Many of them are constructed in ways
that are close to the originals, which means odd pieces and
attachments. They also tend to have several sizes in the same
envelope. Proper body measurements are a must, and you need an
experienced seamstress to do it.  By the way, some of the
patterns are absolutely gorgeous - so they're worth the effort.
But not for the fainthearted!
From: (Trystan L. Bass)
If historical accuracy matters, I *highly* recommend buying the
Raiments catalog of historical patterns.  There are some very
easy to use patterns for men's & women's medieval and
Renaissance garments, plus they sell readymade corsets & hoops
(for noblewomen's costumes). If you aren't too concerned with
history, look through the pattern books at your local fabric
store.  The Halloween sections have many simple Robin Hood style
outfits, plus there are a few Christopher Columbus patterns
still out there.  You can also modify modern patterns by
extending hemlines, adding fullness to sleeves, cutting pants
into breeches, and making vests lace up instead of button.  The
books _Elizabethan Costuming_ and _After a Fashion_ both have
great tips on modifying modern patterns to create historical

Winter, Janet and Carolyn Savoy.  _Elizabethan Costuming for the
Years 1550-1580_  1987.  Other Times Productions, 386 Alcatraz
Ave., Oakland, CA 94618.  Available from the publisher and from
Raiments (see catalog list).  Includes pattern diagrams,
detailed instructions, and lots of helpful drawings.  Perfect
for beginners.

Grimble, Frances.  _After a Fashion:  How to Reproduce, Restore,
and Wear Vintage Styles_  1993.  Lavolta Press, 20 Meadowbrook
Dr., San Francisco, CA 94132.  Available from the publisher and
from Raiments (see catalog list).  Very useful overview of
historical styles, including Medieval and Renaissance.  Tons of
wonderful sewing, pattern modifying, and clothes re-modeling

Holkeboer, Kathleen.  _Patterns for Theatrical Costume_
Available in bookstores and from Raiments.  Scale-able grid
diagrams of patterns for historical costume from Ancient Egypt
through 20th century (men and women).  The Medieval and
Renaissance patterns are attractive and give options for several
different styles.
I highly recommend picking up a copy of "Elizabethan Costuming".
It is by far the best practical book for Elizabethan costuming
of all classes.  It includes info on dress, hair styles, and
head coverings.
From: Victoria (address unknown)
The best place to get authentic patterns for the 16th Century is
from a book by Janet Arnold - ["Patterns of Fashion", published
in 1985 by Macmillan London Limited].  What she does is take
REAL clothing from the period, carefully studies it and makes
actual patterns from the original garments.   In the book there
are a series of pattern drawings from her research.  Of course,
these are to scale, and you'd have to get your own pattern paper
(or butcher's paper) to redraw the patterns - but it includes a
number of mens and womens' and children's outfits - plus it has
photographs of the actual pieces - including some close-ups of
the insides...amazing detail information that will make any
costumer drool.

3.5:  I can't sew on a button.  Where can I buy medieval

From: (Trystan L. Bass)
Look in regular clothing stores for things with a Medieval or
Renaissance flair.  Women look for:  long velvet gowns with
fitted bodices, long sleeves, and full skirts; velvet or
tapestry vests (especially those that lace up the front),
peasant blouses, ruffled blouses, long skirts.  Men look for:
full pirate-style shirts, velvet tunics, velvet or tapestry or
leather vests, baggy trousers, boots.  For simple peasant
outfits, go to thrift and second-hand stores for gauzy peasant
blouses, pirate shirts, long cotton skirts, and leather boots
and belts.
From: (Larisa-Rose Skidmore)
I suggest Moresca.  They are based in New York and are merchants
at the renaissance faires at Maryland and Sterling.  If you can,
try to visit their shop, buy a catalog, and then visit their 
warehouse/reception hall.  You can buy authentic reproductions/
one-of-a-kind clothing from them, and they just expanded their 
warehouse to include a reception hall that is said to be in 
keeping with the traditional style of the times.  They have 
patterns for all sorts of clothing from doublets, the juliet 
style dresses, and can make them in nearly every color and style,
from plain and serviceable to elegant.  Give them a look, I'm 
sure you won't be disappointed!
From: (Anne Reynolds)
For about the past eight years, I've KNOWN what I wanted my
wedding dress to be like.  If you look in french books of hours,
you see it all over the place - it's sort of an A-line dress
except much more fitted in the chest/rib cage area, scoop
neckline, fitted sleeves, huge skirt and train.  Then, while
flipping through some bridal magazines, I saw this one
bridesmaid's dress, and I just kept coming back to it.  So
finally I said to myself, "if you don't go try on that dress,
you'll never be happy with any other dress, not even your dream
dress."  So I went to a store and tried it on - just that one
and no other.  I just about cried at how pretty I FELT when I
put it on.  Especially when the saleslady pulled out *the
perfect veil* to wear with it.  It was THE DRESS after all.  As
an added plus, since it was labelled as a bridesmaid's dress, it
was cheap compared to most wedding gowns.  I paid about $400 for
the dress and veil which was less than I had planned to spend
making my original dream dress.
From: (Trystan L. Bass)
Check out local costume rental shops -- this way bridal party
members & guests don't have to pay for whole outfits they'll
never wear again.  Also, take a look through thrift shops for
accessories like belts, cups, jewelry, etc.  BTW, a decent
costume shop will be as "approximately period" as any of the
readymade supposedly period clothes I've ever seen for sale!)
Some stores will even sell you the costumes, if you want to keep
them or make alterations.  One warning -- do not expect to be
able to do this in October.  Costume shops are swamped in
October (for Halloween), so prices go up and selection goes
>From Tina Schutte ( (Lee Spires)
I think I may have found a gown!  There's a costume shop here
that supplies our local theater groups...They have something
that, although it's too big, they may be able to make me a copy
in the colors and fabrics I choose.  Now I've got to pick
fabrics, check costs, and pray it can be done in the time I've
From: (Trystan L. Bass)
Ask everyone you know if they have anything in their closets.
People who do living history sometimes get tired of their
costumes and sell them.  Place a small ad in the local
costumer's guild, Renaissance guild, and SCA newsletters.  Ask
around on and alt.renaissance.faires, too (these are
also good places to search for a costumer/seamstress).
>From (Lanfear)
I contacted my local SCA chapter and arranged to have our
wedding outfits made by someone into costuming.  We made sure
they were done period so that we could use them for later Faires
and events.  She went to the fabric distrinct in downtown LA and
found an elegant wool imported from England at only $5 a yard.
The total cost on our outfits was $350.
>From (Aliesha A. Murray)
For the costumes, we're getting a costumer who's also involved
with local Renaissance festivals.  Groomsmens outfits will be
about $65 to rent, bridesmaids about $100, groom about $100 (his
costume is more elaborate).  The people we're working with are
actually willing to make the clothes to our specifications, then
rent them to us.  This way they get to keep the clothes and rent
them out to other people later.  You may be able to get a
costumer to do this, too, especially if they do weddings a lot.
These people are also willing to make my dress, and they said
that if they can't do it then they know people from the Ren
Faire who can.  If you have a Ren. Faire in your area I
definitely recommend going there, if only just to get some
ideas.  By the way, we're sticking with tunics for the men and
princess-seamed dresses for the women.  That way the men don't
have to wear tights, and princess dresses look good on almost
any body type.  We're going with capes, too.  They look really
From: (Jason L)
One of my best friends is a costumer who happens to specialize
in renaissance costumes.  He agreed to do our outfits as well as
clothe the rest of the wedding party and our parents.  He worked
with us to design our clothing and incorporate our ideas. After
several discussions and much research, he did some renderings to
show what the final product would look like. We then went
shopping for fabrics and trims, and then he went to WORK. The
final version exceeded our expectations! They were simply
marvelous!  Without his support and well-stocked closet, I don't
think we could have done it.  All told, he provided 22 costumes
-- the ones he made for us (which we kept) and 20 others that he
either pulled from or made for his stock.
From: (Trystan L. Bass)
Check with local theatrical companies and college theater
departments to see if they've done any Shakespearean plays
recently and want to sell their costumes.  This is a long shot,
but it doesn't hurt to ask.  Also check to see if they have
particular times when everything in the wardrobe's up for sale
(some places do this once a year as a fund-raiser).
Old linen table cloths make great sources of material for a 
medieval costume -- especially if they have a nice brocade 
pattern to them.  Material was expensive and never wasted - when
the drapes began to wear, they were taken down and what was 
salvagable was then made into clothing for members of the 
household- so for us it adds and air of authenticity.  Estate 
sales are great places to find these and usually in excellent 
condition or you can buy new table cloth or upholstry material
at the fabric store.  Don't get the stuff with the plastic 
backing- you want unbacked upholstry material.  You could also 
try an interior designer.  They can order material in bulk 
amounts.  You will need at least 10 yards of your main color 
material .Find someone who sews this type of clothing on a 
regular basis.  Look for someone who sews finished seams, etc.
You don't want it sewn like a theatrical costume- they are 
usually not sewn to the highest quality because they are only 
meant to be worn a few times and to be viewed from a distance.
If you are having beading on it- look for beads that have been
individually knotted-otherwise if the string breaks- you don't
just lose one bead you lose the whole string.

3.6:  Does anybody know of a catalog which offers readymade but
    affordable period clothes?  I can't possibly sew for

There are a number of mailorder companies that carry readymade
period clothing.  Some will even rent clothing.  See the list
of catalogs in this faqsheet.

3.7:  Does anyone know of good Web sites regarding medieval

From: (Mark.S Harris)
You might check the CLOTHING section of my SCA Rialto files at:
The file patterns-msg details a number of modern patterns that can
be modified to medieval style clothing. I believe there is
another file that lists the names and addresses of various
merchants selling medieval patterns. There are various other
files on making gloves, headgear, shoes, undergarments and other
clothing apparel as well as files on Scottish and Irish clothing
and other clothing files.
There is another website that I know of which offers costuming
contains directions for making Renaissance peasant clothing.
I also suggest that you obtain the Historical Costuming FAQ at
Historical Costuming FAQ is also available via email.  Simply send a
message to
leave the subject header blank, and write:  send
usenet/news.answers/crafts/historical-costuming as the body of your
message.  The Historical Costuming FAQ will be automatically mailed to you
shortly thereafter.  Finally, you might consider subscribing to the
Historic Costume Mailing List (see next message).
From: (Diane Barlow Close)
The Historic Costume Mailing List focuses on the re-creation of
period costume, from the Bronze age to the mid-20th Century.  We
discuss accurate historical reproduction of clothing, historical
techniques for garment construction, and the application of
those techniques in modern clothing design.  Other topics
frequently discussed include adapting historical clothing for
the modern figure, clothing evolution, theatrical costumes,
patterns, materials, books, and sources for supplies.  We have
over 600 members, of varying levels of ability, education and
interest.  Members include re-creationists and reenactors of all
eras, historians, museum personnel, students and professors of
both theatre and history, and other academics, authors,
directors, dancers, professional costumers, wearable artists,
sewers interested in learning "lost" techniques, and some who
are simply "fans" of history.  This is a list that brings
together many different types of people, all sharing information
and hanging out and having fun.
To join the list, send a message to:
In that message, say one of the following as the body of the
   subscribe h-costume
   subscribe h-costume-digest
The first will put you on the list to receive approx. 5-20
messages per day.  The second will put you on the list to
receive one digest approximately every 1-5 days of the past
week's mailings.

3.8:  My fiance has informed me that he hates tuxes and would
    prefer to get married in a robe rather like the ones worn by
    Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons.  Anyone have a
    clue where I would find such a beast?

From: Mistress Aidan Morgana Evans
I believe that the garment for which you search is called in
period a "loose gown".  Patterns for several may be found in
"Patterns of Fashion, vol III" by Janet Arnold.  The scaled
patterns may look complicated but this was the first garment
which my lord husband patterned and made for himself.  Your lord
will look splendid, but don't skimp on the fabric.

3.9:  Does anyone know where I could get a velvet cape?  I am
     thinking about an evening wedding and an off the shoulder
     gown, and I get cold easily (Plus I just love them!!).

From: (Trystan L. Bass)
Capes are probably the world's easiest thing to sew -- a
beginner can do it, even in velvet (if you're patient).  Many
pattern companies have simple cape patters with variations like
collars, hoods, etc.  Look in the "coats" and "evening wear"
sections of pattern companies.  Depending on your gown, you
might want a full-length cape or a fingertip length one or even
a short elbow length cape.  It can be simple and unadorned or
you can edge it with fur, maribou, lace, ribbon, cording,
metallic braid, etc.  This is *such* an easy project!  Don't
waste a lot of time searching for one readymade in stores --
just go to the fabric store.  And if you don't sew, ask around.
Grandmothers, older aunts, and even mothers are often of a
generation that knew how to sew.  It could be a lovely wedding
present too.

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