Renn Bodice from Sense and Sensibility's Romantic Gown

I am a bit behind in chronicling my sewing projects, but here is a recent one I finished last week. It is now on its way to its new home and hopefully will see a lot of use in the future!

So, I made a Renn Faire Bodice. At every Faire I go to I see these bodices, in a wide range of colors, fabrics and trims. Generally the fit is similar. Snug fitting, with the cut of the bodice helping to lift and support the bust. I have seen bodices with princess seams, darted-to-fit and, like mine here, cut as shaped pieces that are only seamed at the shoulders and sides. The garment itself is not really representative of any particular era of history, although I suppose it resembles the fit of an Elizabethan or Tudor style kirtle bodice. Paired with a chemise and petticoat it gives a very pretty look and would also work well for a hobbit costume.

I decided to work with an actual commercial pattern as my base for this bodice. Since Sense and Sensibility Patterns  allows use of their products for home seamstresses who make garments to sell, I took the Romantic Era Dress pattern and modified it to become a bodice pattern.

This particular bodice was cut in the size 16, using the front, back and side back pieces. I eliminated the darts in the front bodice pieces using the technique described here and then cut out each pattern piece in my fabrics - a brown floral brocade for the outer layer and a sturdy green cotton twill for the lining. I cut down the neckline of the original pattern a bit as well as the armscyes.

I sewed up the layers using the seaming technique I used for my mid-19th century shaped seam corset and finished the front opening by turning the seam allowances in towards each other and sewing close to the fold. I sewed a channel for a bone at each side seam and at the center front openings.

After inserting the bones, I put in two piece grommets for lacing and bound the armscyes, waist and neckline with the same green cotton twill that I used for the lining. A simple green twill ribbon works nicely for lacing.

And so we have a Renn Faire Bodice!

I liked how it came out so much that I wanted to keep it for myself. However, it is unfortunately (fortunately?) too big for me so I could not. I do, however, have more of the same fabric left...perhaps I can sew one for next years Olde English Faire.