Time machine with rose bouquetValerie and Jack's Time Machine Wedding

If you want to get creative without starting from scratch, check out these shortcut costume ideas that won't need much more than a trip to your local thrift store, or maybe your own closet.

Rental Sources

Note: All these also have a wide selection of accessories and some actual costume pieces that could be useful to you for sale year-round.
Magic Makers - National service delivering rental costumes by UPS. They have pictures of their entire stock on their website.
Costume Holiday House - 1510 Bethel Road, Columbus, (614) 451-0715
Costume Specialists - 3764 E. Broad St., Columbus, (614) 237-6300

Ready-Made and Custom Costumes to Buy

Note: This is just a short list of my favourites--the ones that seem to have the most informative sites and the best value for their prices. Plenty more links can be found on the resource sites listed in the next category.
The Blockade Runner - Ready-made, Civil War era.
Chivalry Sports Renaissance Store - Ready-made, medieval & Renaissance, featuring Scottish clan tartans.
Cloak & Dagger Creations - Custom, medieval & Renaissance.
Clothes Make the Man - Ready-made & custom, men's Regency.
The Dye Spot - Ready-made, hand-dyed basic Renaissance peasant wear.
The Gilded Lily - Custom, Elizabethan and Victorian.
Grand Illusions Clothing Company - Ready-made, Civil War era.
Haunted Forest Couture - Made to order, pretty much whatever you want, by yours truly. Hey, now that my own wedding is done, you didn't think I'd miss a chance to give myself a plug, did you? ;-)
Meek & Company Clothiers - Ready-made, men's Civil War era.
Premier Designs - Ready-made, 1900-1930s.
Sense and Sensibility Clothing - Ready-made and custom, mostly Regency & Edwardian styles. Also some vintage pieces and patterns.
Sew Beautiful - Made to order, reproductions from source material. She has by far the best prices I've seen on Titanic beaded "dinner" and "jump" dress recreations. The construction detail on these is somewhat simplified and/or modernized, but overall they look to be nice recreations. Also check her Halloween page for very pretty budget versions of the "dinner" and "jump" dresses. (Caveat emptor: the photo of the two costumes together with the boat background is not hers; it's scanned from the front of the Simplicity pattern. And I don't recommend her "swimming" dress, which seems a bit high and not a very accurate repro; Sense and Sensibility's is a better bet. Her "flying" dress is nice, and seems priced about right, but again Sense and Sensibility is better on both counts.)
White Jade Design - Ready-made, various periods, including Asian clothing. Also patterns.
Wings and Roses - Custom, various periods.


AlterYears - Renaissance. These are probably the easiest specialty patterns to use for beginning costumers. Often carried by Renaissance Festival vendors. They also have corset stays and other specialty supplies.
Amazon Drygoods - Various periods, with emphasis on Victorian. I've heard very mixed reviews of their service, but mostly positive things about their pattern catalog. And sometimes they're the only accessible source for something...the problem seems to be that they know it. They don't have a pattern selection online; you can order their pattern catalog for $7, as well as several other catalogs (shoes, window treatments, and "general") for different prices. Cautionary note from Mom: Do NOT buy Heidi Marsh patterns! They have poor instructions with no illustrations.
Butterick - First of the "Big Three" commercial pattern companies to offer online ordering. Too bad they also have the worst costume patterns; but don't forget the evening wear sections can be just as useful.
Atira's Fashions - Designed for Middle Eastern dancers, with a lot of historical background.
Folkwear - Various periods and cultures. Carried by some of the larger fabric stores. Can get pricey, but good stuff.
McCall's Patterns Online - The website doesn't show any of their costume patterns, but with the current resurgence of Empire dresses, you might want to check out the "Evening Elegance" page. #2035 in particular is obviously inspired by Titanic's "jump dress". (Except for the lower waistline and not having a train, it's pretty much identical to Simplicity's direct recreation of the costume.) They also have pretty good medieval and Renaissance style patterns; look in the costume section of their catalog in stores.
La Mode Bagatelle - Regency. Highly detailed and historically accurate, but pricey. Definitely intended for experienced costumers.
Past Patterns - 1830-1920s. Another specialty company priding itself on historical accuracy, and good prices to boot. Particularly known for their excellent corset patterns. Also period-replica buttons.
Sewing Central - Distributor for various companies, with patterns from various periods. Also fabrics and supplies.
Simplicity Pattern Co. - In my opinion, the best of the "Big Three" commercial pattern companies for historical costumes--and they actually show a good selection of them online! One they don't show is #8249, an excellent basic Renaissance pattern for women's sizes 18W-32W.

Easy Do-It-Yourself Instructions

The Auld Garb Monger's Costumes for Manly Men - Tips and shortcuts for adapting modern clothes into Renaissance wear, as well as easy made-from-scratch projects..
Basic 'T' Tunic - The staple of medieval clothing.
The Garb Bag - Basic medieval and Renaissance do-it-yourself advice, plus a modest collection of links.
Greek Dress - The basic classical Greek tunic (chiton or peplos). As easy as it gets, and elegant too.
How To Fit A Bodice - The "Duct Tape Method", now legendary among a certain circle of the bride's friends. *eg* Ask Amy--it works! Also works for men's doublets.
How To Make A Roman Tunic - Yet another tunic variation, this one for ancient Rome.
The Quick and Dirty "Great Kilt" - Not a stitch o' sewin', laddie!

Links and Resources

Milieux: The Costume Site - Thousands of links, organized into categories.
The Costume Page - Even more links, even more organized.
The Costumer's Manifesto - Incredible variety of resources, including the entertaining (but very useful) Men with Big Hair: The Costume Movie Site--great place to check out for ideas.
alt.gothic.fashion FAQ: Historical Style Clothes - Links to various online costume sources, with service and product reviews from several customers.
The Costume Gallery's Online Library - Research and reference pictures for various periods.
The Well-Dressed Heroine: Fashion Challenges for the Romantic Time Traveller - Humorous but useful advice on surviving the perils of wearing this stuff.

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