Friday, February 25, 2011

To wear or not to wear...

Baronial Investiture Anniversary (BIA) is coming up next week-end, on March 5th; this is the most important SCA event there is locally and I have a little problem: I don’t know what to wear! The new Baron and Baroness will officially make their debut, the King and Queen will be there, as well as many other out of town nobles I am sure. The new Baron and Baroness have issued a challenge to the populace for everyone to wear their best garb, and so of course, as a Costumeholic costumer, I cannot ignore the call of my passion!

I am hesitating between two outfits. The first is my Navy and Gold Gates-of-Hell. It is more fantastic than historical with its Hindu beaded appliqués, but I really like it.

Navy and Gold Gates-of-Hell

The Pros: as I am going with my daughter, I need to be able to move around easily and pick her up (she generally wants me to carry her all the time when she finds herself in an unknown situation. Plus, I love the 14th century hairstyle with the braids on the side of the face. I do need a new white underdress for it, but I have the fabric and the pattern I would use is fairly easy (Butterick 4827).

Navy and Gold Gates-of-Hell - Front Bodice Details

The Cons: It is not historically accurate, the pattern I had used (McCall's 5499) has a fairly smaller skirt than what I had expected, I did wear it once already to BIA a few years back, and mostly, it is not as impressive as my second choice.

My second possible outfit is my Burgundian Houppelande with Butterfly Hennin. I made it for Halloween 2008, while I was 6 month pregnant with my daughter and only wore it to the office that once.

Burgundian Houppelande with Butterfly Hennin

The Pros: It is much more impressive and imposing, I have never worn I it to an SCA event, and I love the way the dress trails behind me. Plus, it is much easier to pull-up my hair into a tight bun than to achieve the braided look I would do for the first outfit.

The Cons: There are many things that need fixing and I only have a week. Many of these are not very time consuming though, but all in all, it seems like a lot! The fur at the collar needs to be tacked to the dress, the hennin is too tight because I but tape over the edge of the straw cache-pot I used as a base, so I would need to open the fabric that covers it and take it off, I need a new, shorter, stiffer veil, and a better belt (although I have a gold braided pleather one I think could to the trick), and a new underdress with a lower neckline, but I don’t have time to make a historically accurate kirtle, so I would have to cheat an make a simple dress from a modern pattern (1998 2 hour dress pattern by McCall's, #9456), and I don’t know if I have the right fabric for that.

Also, I am actually quite shy, believe it of not, and this dress would get me lots of attention, that is for sure. I have to admit I fear the Costume Nazis that invariably follow the King and Queen; I know it is not accurate fabric and I did use fake fur. I just don’t want to deal with them again (last time it was because my Elizabethan necklace was made of synthetic material!). It is crazy to worry about one or two person’s negative reaction, when everyone else’s will probably be positive, right?

After all that, I don’t know if I can easily pick up my daughter, or if she won’t pull on the pins that hold the veil or the veil itself.

Butterfly Hennin close-up

It would seem like the clear choice is the Navy and Gold Gates-of-Hell… but I really wish I could wear my Houppelande. Please faithful readers, what would you do? Help me make a decision and fast! I only have a week to do everything on my list. (For those who vote houppelande, what colour would you suggest for the underdress? Should I keep it red?)