The Renaissance Winter Princess, Part 2


The more of this project I do, the slightly less Renaissance-y looking it looks, but it’s too late to change the name now, so I’m stuck with it. Oh well, though! Introducing the Renaissance Winter Princess dress, which now has a skirt! I planned to get this post up a while ago, but life suddenly got crazy, and also it became the Skirt from Hell. I have never had so much trouble with something, and what should have taken a maximum of 4 or 5 hours, ended up taking over 10. But I guess all’s well that ends well, because it doesn’t look half bad (and I’m not hating the sleeves anymore!)

If you haven’t read part 1, it can be viewed here.

So, this skirt is made from 5 yards of fabric, gathered down to about 2/3 of a yard to give it volume.


I did two rows of stitches on a low thread tension, and then proceeded to gather the fabric to this length.

Or, that’s how it should have worked.

This was the main problem with the skirt – it didn’t want to gather. Each time, as I was almost at the right length, the tension would get too high and the thread would snap. At first, I thought I may have not had a long stitch length on, or I had pulled a thread weirdly or caught it on a pin, but none of these things had gone wrong – simply, too much fabric had got stuck on one bit of thread, and this had caused it to snap at the slightest tug. And, when gathering, a snap is basically a fatal incident. The first time it happened, I was frustrated, but it wasn’t overly terrible. I tried again, and once again failed.

This repeated 4 times, meaning I spent the majority of my time on this skirt gathering and re-gathering fabric on my lap, as seen below.


Finally, I managed to get it to work, and sewed it onto the bodice. The fabric was extremely thick, but the machine actually didn’t do too badly. I did break a needle, but by hitting a piece of boning about an inch from the last stitch. An inch.

After it was attached to the bodice and the zip was added in (which I neglected to take pictures of, as I was very done with the whole process), it was placed over a hoop skirt I bought the week before. The skirt isn’t huge (it would be too small for a civil war dress, for example), but it has the A-line shape that I needed, and metal boning to support the weight of the skirt. And believe me, there is weight to it – carrying it over my arm, I estimate it is about 10 lb’s of dead weight to it in the least, and another 3 or  4 in the hoop skirt (which isn’t a lot for most people, but it tires me out if I hold it for a while).


Please excuse how ugly the bodice looks in this picture, my mannequin’s bust is too big, as so it sits like that most of the time.

I then tried on the dress.


It wasn’t half bad! However, even with the hoop, the 60′ length was too long, and I had to cut off the bottom and re-hem it to a better length. This was more to do with the fact that I am 5′ 3″, and most things are too long, though. I also added in the waist ties while I did this.


The shows the waist ties, although they’ll be heavily decorated, and this was also pre-ironing, hence the bumps and lumps. It looks a lot better on, since it is too small for my mannequin and not exactly looking its best while on her.


Hemmed! And, for reference for just how much fabric it is and the different made by the hoop, this is what it looks like with and without it.

hoop vs no hoop

The difference was pretty incredible to me.

This ended up more of a photo blog than a blog, but oh well. Next comes decorations and trims, and I also have to make the accessories and headdress, style the wig (I don’t think winter princesses have red/purple hair, sadly), and just finish up things and make them look nice. In the end, I am just very glad to be done with the Skirt from Hell.


2 thoughts on “The Renaissance Winter Princess, Part 2

  1. It looks really great Inara. I can understand how difficult the gathering would be – one solution for next time is to gather something like that in a number of smaller sections with 2 rows of gathering thread – that way the distance is less and you have a “back-up” gather thread! Definitely looks good with the hoop. I will be looking forward to the trims….

  2. looks really fab and i guess 10 hours for the skirt [even though frustrating] wasn’t too bad in the end – given that if you had been really making it all by hand in renaissance times and without a sewing machine it would have taken much much longer. It really does look so good with the hoop petticoat in place. looking forward to seeing the wig and trims when they are done…

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