Mary’s Costuming Page

I would in no way consider myself an expert in costuming or sewing.  I am completely self-taught and have learned from trial and error. (Unfortunately, my memory is terrible, so I have a tendency to repeat the same mistakes over — and over — again.)

My costuming obsession started innocently enough, by making Hallowe’en costumes for my daughter — princess dresses, Elizabeth Bennet (they had to be a literary character for school), and such.

Then my family started attending Renaissance Faires and when I saw how much vendors charged for simple costume pieces, I began making “peasant” costumes for my family and friends. Check out my page with tips on making your own Ren Faire costumes.

My daughter is a dancer and has been in The Nutcracker for the last 10+ years, so I have also had the opportunity to make some dance costumes for her school’s production.

I have also begun making Victorian costumes, which we wear to the Dicken’s Christmas Fair in San Francisco. I’m also interested in Regency period costuming, but haven’t quite gotten around to that yet.


Victorian/Civil War Era

Jump To my 19th Century Costuming page to see my work from that era.


Elizabeth Bennett, c1810

My daughter’s elementary school required halloween costumes that were based on literary characters. So we decided that she should go as Lizzie Bennett from “Pride & Prejudice.” I started with a girls party dress pattern that basically had the look I wanted. I shortened the bodice length for the period style and widened the center front so that I could gather it. For the sleeves, the pattern came with several sleeves styles, so I combined a long straight sleeve with a short puff sleeve over it. You can’t tell in the picture, but the fabric is a cotton print with a white on white pattern. All in all, I think it came out pretty good — and the daughter looks pretty happy in it!

Renaissance Fair Costumes

These are miscellaneous costumes I have made for family & friends to wear to renaissance faires. I’m not going for authenticity here, just for fun!

The blue dress on the left is one I made for a little girl. It is simply a rectangle of upholstery fabric with straps and an attached skirt. No fuss, no muss, easy for a small child to put on and wear.

These are different views of an “Irish” dress and leine (chemise) that I made for my daughter to wear one year when we worked at a fair. The leine pattern was a combo of a whittled down adult pattern and some instructions that I found online. The dress was made from my own “basic bodice” pattern, with the bottom finished straight across and a skirt attached. The dress is made of linen, with the bodice lined in a linen/cotton blend for stability. The leine is made of cotton. With these lovely natural fabrics, my daughter stayed reasonably cool in 100° weather!

This is a plum colored Irish dress or kirtle that I made for myself, trimmed with beautiful ribbon that has a celtic design. I made it basically in the same manner as the Irish dress above (started with my own bodice pattern with the bottom straightened out, and attached skirt to bottom of bodice. It is made of a plum colored twill.

This is a purple peasant costume that I made for a family friend for her birthday. If you can’t guess, purple is her favorite color! LOL

These are peasant costumes that I made for my daughter and her friend when they worked at the local renaissance fair. They came up with their own decorating schemes for their bodices and their own color combos.


Miscellaneous Costumes

I’ve made a lot of costumes for my daughter over the years, including an Egyptian costume for a school project, “genie” costumes for Halloween, etc. But I can’t seem to find any pictures of most of them....

My daughter and her friend wanted to be the Easter Bunny & the Tooth Fairy for Halloween in 2002. Here’s the results... (I’ll be happy if I never have to sew with these fabrics ever again!! LOL)

Unsolicited Advice: Wash your fabrics before cutting, sewing, etc. In the long run, you’ll be much happier with your results, especially if you are using cotton or any other fabric that has a tendency to shrink. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been too lazy or in too much of a hurry and skipped this step — and regretted it forever afterwards.


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