Do You Dare Wear a Purple Wig?

Costumes at Ren Fests are almost a must. You see everything from queens, kings and highlanders to wenches, fairies and stormtroopers. Everyone likes dressing up and I am no different. I loved dressing up and pretending to be the fairy princess when I was little. Even my brother used to dress in one of our mother’s old bridesmaids dresses and say he was the Pope. I always thought that costuming was pretending to be a different person for a little while. Two years ago I realized that costumes were more than about pretending.

In May of 2013 I was diagnosed with Stage IV Primary Ovarian Large Diffused B-Cell Lymphoma. Sounds scary doesn’t it? Well it sorta was. This is a rare (0.5% of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas) and aggressive (Hello! Stage IV!) cancer that if not caught when it was I probably wouldn’t have lasted through the autumn of that year. On the plus side, it is a very treatable and survivable (90% survival rate) cancer. Surgery and six rounds of chemo and I’m cured. (I won’t be considered a survivor until after 5 years remission.) This was and still is a life changing experience that I’m still trying to digest.

Before starting chemo, I had to go through a “chemo class.” Basically someone sat down and talked about all the good and bad (mostly bad) things that would and could happen. At this time I was advised to go ahead and get my wig just in case my hair fell out. It’s more than just a vanity thing. Watching your hair fall out can have a bad psychological effect on patients. So I went to my best friend who is an instructor at a cosmetology school and we looked at wigs. I found the one that I would order if necessary. Well, being frugal and being the type of person I am I started thinking, “Why do I want a wig that I won’t wear again after my hair grows back in?” So I started looking online. This purple bob-cut wig called out to me. It was what I was looking for! This is who I am!  

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Everyone loved that wig, even my boss! I don’t wear it as much since my hair has grown out, but thinking about it and my time being a baldy is somewhat of a revelation about costumes: We don’t dress up to be different; we dress up to show who we are.

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Making an Apron…

Today I decided to throw together an apron for next week’s Faire.  How hard could it be?  As it turns out for once, not very!  My first step was raiding my mom’s fabric stash and lucking into a piece of white fabric just the right size (about 45″x26″).  I didn’t even have to cut it to size. What good fortune!

My second step was ironing hems into three sides of the fabric.

The hems of the apron got ironed first.

The hems of the apron got ironed first.

Then I stitched around those sides.

Then I sewed the hem

Then I sewed the hem

Then I stitched a very loose row of stitches along the top so I could gather the apron before stitching it to the band (which I also lucked into).

And here’s the finished product:

Voila!  The finished apron.  I think this should go nicely with my garb.

Voila! The finished apron. I think this should go nicely with my garb.

A Show of Hands: Who Wants to Sew Some Renaissance Garb???

It’s no secret that attending a Renaissance Festival in costume is definitely more fun.   So where do you start?   You can’t exactly waltz into Target and expect to walk out with a Renaissance wardrobe (if you’re plus sized,  you probably won’t walk out with anything at all… but that’s another post).

I started building my wardrobe initially by shopping on eBay and Etsy.   You can find really nice,  affordable garb on both sites.   A great starter set of bodice,  chemise, and skirt can easily be had for around $100.

Buying versatile pieces,  like a reversible bodice, can certainly open up lots of possibilities for your wardrobe. But eventually you will probably at least consider making some pieces yourself.

To date the only things I’ve actually sewn are a bumroll and a tartan shawl to match M’Lord’s great kilt. Simple things, to be sure, but I’m getting bolder.

For the last couple of years I have been collecting patterns. Tip: if you have a Hobby Lobby in your area, watch the weekly sales. Every few months they will put either McCall’s or Simplicity patterns on sale for $. 99 or $1. 99. HUGE savings over the regular prices (which are always 40% off anyway). There is always a limit of 10 patterns per person, so either bring a friend or plan on multiple trips if you want to buy your collection all at once.

I am almost to the point of attempting an actual garment! I have the patterns and my mum has a huge fabric stash, so a project can’t be far behind.

My collection: