I recently made a medieval princess dress that isn’t historically correct (although inspired by 14th century cotehardies), but was fun to make, and a gift for teenage me. When I was in high school I wanted to have a medieval princess dress for prom but had neither the sewing skills to make one or the money to buy one, so this is a fulfillment of a dream!
Yeah, it was a bit breezy that day.
This dress was also a reminder that costuming and sewing is supposed to be fun, even if the details are “wrong.” This dress has inexpensive polyester velvet, a zipper down the back, shiny jacquard trim, polyester sleeve tippets and a wrap belt made from curtain fabric, an impractical train, and princess seams! To someone concerned about historical accuracy these might be a bunch of no-nos, but this gown, despite all its anachronisms, is something I would have loved and felt pretty in back in high school. This dress is a gift for little former me.
I used Butterick B4827 as my pattern base. I skipped the back eyelet lacing and used an invisible zipper instead. The tippets and belt were drafted by me. My goal was to machine-sew as much as possible, so the hem, neckline, and cuffs were machine-stitched and then covered with jacquard trim.
The tippets are T-shaped pieces of fabric sewn together and then turned inside-out to hide the raw edges. The tops of the Ts are then overlapped to make the cuffs.
The hair consists of 2 fake braided buns on a headband:
- Cover a headband in fabric matching your hair; I used black velvet.
- Make a short braid and cover in a hair net to help control flyaways.
- Wire the braid to the headband using gold wire, and insert pearls as you go.
- Make 2 long braids and coil each one into a bun shape.
- Use bobby pins to secure the bun shape.
- Glue pearls to each bun.
- Cover each bun with a hair net to control flyaways.
- Glue the bun to each end of the headband.
- 7 yards micro-velvet from Fabric Wholesale Direct: $62.93 (I had some leftover; if you are petite and cut carefully you might be able to get a dress out of 5-6 yards).
- 1 yard gold jacquard damask 118″ wide from FWD: $10.99
- 6 yards jacquard trim from eBay: $12.62 (including tax and shipping)
- Thread, buttons, pearls, wire, etc. from stash: ~$5
- 2-3 packages of fake braiding hair and headband from stash: ~$10
Total cost: All of the fabric was a gift from my friends at Fabric Wholesale Direct, so my out of pocket cost was about $27.62 (instead of ~$101.54 plus tax and shipping). Thanks FWD!
If you’d like to make a medieval dress of your own, check out this tutorial I made. Happy sewing!
Just beautiful…both the garment and you wearing it. It doesn’t need to be expensive to be just what you want. Thank you for the tutorial too.
Thank you Kathleen! I hope the tutorial is helpful to you!
Love this– I made a fancy Ren-Faire style “noble” dress back in high school that was based on a blue satin bridesmaid’s dress. SO inaccurate but I felt so pretty in it!
You felt happy in in it, and that’s the most important thing!
I love the idea of making something the teenage you yearned for!
I’m so glad I did it!
Great dress. You are obviously a creative and talented seamstress.
Thank you! That’s very kind of you!
I love this! Thank you for sharing! I love projects! We just released our Princess Sofia The First Headband today! BloomsandBeautifuls.wordpress.com
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