Internation Wenches Guild Local 42
Wench Wench

The Well Dressed Wench

 
Often times what a wench wears she makes herself.  This can save her a ton of money! And it gives her a look uniquely her own. Sometimes it's a simple cloak or cap. Other times it can be an entire ensemble.
 
First of all, here is a great site with lots of information on Renaissance clothing. http://www.elizabethancostume.net/  It does focus a lot on the upper class but if you are going for the humbler working class (Wench), you should find plenty of info for you too!
 
Below you will find my instructions for making the listed items. These will be the same instructions I use when helping people make their garb at our Stitch n Bitches:

  • Chemise
  • One Piece Skirt
  • 5 Gore Skirt
  • Bloomers
  • Flat Cap
  • Draw String pouch
  • Belt Pouch
Suggested Commercial Patterns

 For basic Wench wear = Simplicity 5582, view C
For Nobles = Simplicity 2589 for the dress and Simplicity 2621 for the under pinnings.

Both the patterns for Noble wear are very close to the patterns from Tudor Tailor but simplified just enough to not be too complicated.

Pattern tip: Since patterns today are expensive (they can run from a few dollars to $40 or more!) and come with multiple sizes printed on one tissue, I suggest that you NOT cut your patterns. Instead, trace your size on to butcher paper, news print or any other paper you have on hand. This way if you need to change sizes you don't have to purchase the pattern again. Also, this way it is easier to make the needed adjustments to get that perfect fit and if you make a mistake, you've only ruined a copy of the pattern so starting over won't be so painful.

Creat your own Custom Patterns

You can create your own corset pattern by using the instructions using the Elizabethan Corset Pattern Generator.

Fabrics to Use and Where to Find Them

I am often asked what fabrics should be used. Really you can use what ever you want but, if you want to be comfortable (who doesn't?) and you're aiming at being more or less "historically accurate", you want to stay away from polyester and synthetic fibers. Cottons, linens, wool are your best bet. Lets face it though, natural fiber fabrics are not cheap and linen can be very expensive. Watch for sales and get creative. Go to thrift stores and check out curtains and table cloths! Seriously! One of my most favorite skirts is made from a linen table cloth! It came with napkins that made pouches to match and lined a bodice too!
Don't forget to check out the remenant tables in fabric and upholstery shops. Look for pieces that are not rubberized on the back. The rubber coating will make the bodice hot to wear.
Besides the ever decreasing fabric stores you can find fabrics reasonably priced online at Fabric.com Watch the sales for really good prices on cottons, brocades, linen and gauze fabrics. Sometimes the selections aren't great but keep checking the site as the offers change often.
Fabric-store.com is a really good source for linen but the shipping cost IMHO can be rather high so make your order count and order with a friend to off set the cost.
Website Development by Henry Price.

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