After doodling many variations of my costuming ideas for a priest character in Cottington Woods, I shared a few versions with my mother (who is a very talented seamstress and has been trying to teach me to sew.) She liked the design a lot, and wanted to go fabric shopping right away. I asked her to wait- for one thing, I wasn’t totally sure I was playing a priest yet, and for another, I really love fabric shopping. (Though I can be somewhat annoying to fabric shop with because I love just wandering the aisles and looking over all the fabric, notions, patterns, etc., even if I know exactly what I need in advance.)
Well, I spoke to her again very shortly after that, and as I should have predicted, she already had fabric. There’s a great place called Lorraine Fabrics that has a loft full of tons of very cheap fabric, but it’s often random, weird stuff so finding what you’re looking is a bit of a crapshoot.
She had all the basic colors right, but- and I hate to sound ungrateful- not quite the right fabric. For one thing, the red fabric for the dress was a shiny polyester blend that would be just awful to sweat in (big concern for all LARPers, especially boffer.) But since we already had it, I was willing to see what we could do with it.
Honestly, our first attempt at the dress had a lot of basic mistakes- we cut it too short, the shoulder seams were a bit tight, and there was a slit in the front collar that came out too wide and dipped too low… not modest enough for a priest. In the end, I said I’d hang on to it for colder weather. And we went back to Joann Fabrics.
Here’s what I’ve got now:
There’s a nice black linen (it might actually be a “linen-look”) for the skirt. There wasn’t quite as much left on the bolt as we wanted, but hopefully it will be enough (we haven’t picked a pattern yet.) There were three black linen and “linen-look” options. My mother taught me a trick- squeeze a fistful of fabric in your hand and let go- you can get an idea for how badly it will wrinkle.
The red for the basic dress is a jersey knit, and I think will be a lot cooler to run around in than the polyester blend we originally tried to use. And the beige linen with the lined texture is for the hooded shoulder cape and long vest- I think the lines will be perfect to use as guidelines for writing out the text of the benediction. I just love the texture of the beige linen- it’s surprisingly soft, with a nice drape to it, and has a very natural, homespun sort of quality that I think will look good for a character in a fairy tale village. (There’s a bit of a blue-ish tint to these images, I took them with my phone so the color isn’t quite accurate, but it’s close.)
I’m tempted to leave the edges unhemmed for a bit more of that quaint villager effect, but I’ll have to make sure it doesn’t shred too much.
Lastly, here is the fabric for the wrap around the waist.
I’m not sure how I feel about the pattern- the flowers are a sort of black flocked velvet. I don’t know if it really says “fairy tale priestly garment”. Then again, what does? Luckily this part is small and simple, so if I ever found something better, it would be pretty cheap and quick to do over.
The second attempt is going well. We decided to try a different pattern- Joann Fabrics was having a Butterick sale, and on a bit of a whim, I picked up a pattern that had “Fast & Easy” on the envelope.
I think the version of the pattern I picked, (D), with its mock wrap front, will look a little more Jedi (which in turn looks a little more Eastern than Western) than I originally intended. But it’s hard to be upset over that- I love all Star Wars costuming, especially the Jedi robes (second only to the wardrobe of the queen of Naboo and her handmaidens.) The gathering at the shoulders is also kind of modern-looking to me, so I’ll have to see if I can make it look more “period” by adding lace-ups to the sleeves, or maybe Celtic style trim or something.
We altered the pattern a bit- shortened the sleeves (to make it lighter for warm weather, and to show the layering of the black shirt beneath in cold weather) and lengthened the bottom to make it a dress rather than a shirt.
It still needs elastic added, but here it is so far:
I poked through my mother’s impressive collection of patterns to find a basic skirt pattern. Also found a pattern for a capelet that might serve as a basis for the capelet of the costume (though it will need to be made longer and have a hood added somehow… and of course, I’ll be leaving off the ruffles.)
That all said, Joann Fabrics’ Halloween sale is going on. I’ve got some great coupons I’m looking forward to using to get the rest of the notions I’ll need. I just love this time of year- new costume patterns, lots of great costuming fabrics, big sales!