How To Make Renaissance Costumes

Planning on attending a local Renaissance Fair? Want an innovative costume idea for an upcoming masquerade party? Think Renaissance, the period of cultural rebirth in Europe that spanned the 14th through 17th centuries.

There are plenty of Renaissance characters that can inspire you as you create your costume, ranging from a court jester or lady in waiting to members of royalty or peasant farmers. Here's how to make a Renaissance costume.

  • Pirate costumes are a popular choice for this time period, with an inexpensive costume made from black pants, an oversized white cotton blouse or shirt and an eyepatch or bandana on the head.  Use a silk scarf in your belt loops rather than a leather belt for a more authentic look, and don't forget to complete your pirate costume with boots rather than street shoes or sneakers.  Carry a duffel bag filled with costume jewelry and gold-foil covered coins, the "booty" from your latest pirate plunder.
  • To create an effective peasant wench costume, you just need a corset and a long-flowing skirt. Gather up your hair in a crocheted hair band or braid it with ribbon.  Cut the sleeves off a striped shirt and wear them on your arms just above the hands as fingerless gloves, a popular Renaissance style.
  • Prefer to be a fancy lady in waiting?  You can assemble a costume using an elaborate and lacy corset with a brocaded jacket fitted over the corset with matching brocade skirt -- curtain material from your local fabric store works great for this. Wear lots of costume jewelry rings with large stones and several layers of faux pearls or other beads.
  • If there's a clownish streak in you, the perfect Renaissance costume is the court jester, made by using the most colorful pants and shirts you have in your closet. Or wear a colorful pair of tights with an oversized shirt in a contrasting color, and make a jester's cap out of pieces of felt.  Carry a stuffed animal like a pig or lamb and make your facial make-up very comical.  Carry three balls with you and attempt to juggle them as you tell a joke or two.
  • For the ultimate Renaissance costume, become the King or Queen, complete with crown fashioned out of cardboard covered with gold or silver foil and plenty of showy costume jewelry.  To create the royal robes, use a red velvet bathrobe trimmed in faux fur, along with a foil covered baton as the royal scepter.


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