Renaissance costumes can cost hundreds of dollars, even when they are not custom made. You can create a simple costume with a corset top and skirt set. The best part is that it only costs a few bucks in fabric and ribbon. These aren't meant to be exact reproductions, but rather a quick, inexpensive alternative to authentic garb.
While not historically accurate, this top simulates the look of a corset. The choice of fabrics is yours, so you can go with a gothic look or try the light tones of a fair maiden. This is an easy project that requires only basic sewing skills.
You will need a long skirt to go with your corset top. If you choose to match the fabrics exactly, then your corset top and skirt set will look like a full dress. This is preferred for princess costumes. If you choose not to match the skirt to the corset top, then you will have a nice set that is great for maidens, wenches and pirates alike.
This is an 'A-line' skirt, which means that it is smaller at the top, then billows out at the bottom. These skirts are especially flattering and fun to twirl in. Fortunately, they are also easy to make.
Fairies, hobbits, super hero's, villains, queens, princesses and the like all need a cape to complete the outfit. Lucky for you that a cape is easy to make.
Try these fingerless gloves made from shirt sleeves. This quick trick will have you looking all the more like a pirate or wench.
Try dark and neutral fabrics with stripes or subtle patterns. Long sleeved t-shirts and sweaters always work best.
The choices in hair accessories in the 16th century were limited...no elastic hair ties. You could try wearing a snood, but it looks a little too much like a hair net for my taste. If you will be playing a fair maiden or princess, try your hand at crocheted one of a variety of headbands. Our Crochet guide has lots of different kinds of headbands for you to try.
The Queen and her ladies-in-waiting were always dripping fine jewels. You can get this expensive look for cheap when you put to work a few easy methods of beading, macramé or wire wrapping. Give it a try and save your pence for something more fun...like giant turkey legs and ale.
When you are wearing a belt for a costume, or even for work, it is handy to have a pouch that will hold all of your essentials. These pouches are easy to make with just a few measurements and stitches.
Make a dress from scratch or shape an existing dress to meet your needs with these free tutorials.
Map of US Renaissance Festivals
Find renaissance festivals in your state or in the neighboring states, or plan a weekend of costume fun on a medieval vacation across the country. This map of U.S. renaissance festivals will help you in your quest.
When you visit a renaissance festival, it is fun to get into the spirit of things and dress in 16th century garb. While the above outfit is not historically accurate, it is historically inspired.
It's perfectly acceptable to dress up in fantasy outfits like fairies and princesses while you are visiting a ren faire. Learn what to avoid when making your selections.
We want to see what you wore and what you plan to wear to the next renaissance faire. Tell us... was it handmade? Who made it? Did you add your own touches to an existing piece bought at a renaissance faire? We already know ren folk aren't shy, so it's time to upload ye olde photos!