Texas Renaissance Festival (TRF for short) runs every year during October and November in Todd Mission, Texas (just north of Houston). There is something for everyone! Costuming, jousting and other shows, shopping for handcrafts, festival eating, people watching, and wine/mead drinking. As a casual costumer, I try to play along with their themed weekends (Oktoberfest, Highland Fling, All Hallows Eve, etc.). So last year for Barbarian Invasion, I threw together a Pict (pre-Scotland) woman warrior costume inspired by Etain from Centurion, Guinevere from King Arthur, and a little Floki from Vikings.
In true procrastinator fashion, I made this costume the day before wearing it at the RenFest. The only sewing I did was the skirt, shirt, and faux fur arm bracers. The rest was vigorously hot glued.
The skirt was a simple circle skirt I had made for many other costumes (Artemisia, Ursula, Goblin Queen, Loki, etc.). The shirt was a rectangle of fabric made to drape over one shoulder like a rough toga. I sewed the pleats in place at the shoulder and made the base asymmetrical to purposely not tuck into the skirt.
The hot gluing was blessedly quick. I cut a dyed sheep skin to use for several accessories: a small overskirt glued to an old belt, ties for the fur arm bracers, handle wrapping for the longbow, hair tie, and other small accents. I cut two slits in a faux fur wine bottle bag so I could hang it on my belt as a purse (because all women warriors need a purse, am I right?). And I pulled the coyote hide off my old Catelyn Stark (Game of Thrones) costume to wear as a shawl.
The makeup was the most fun, which I did in the car on the long two hour drive to the fairgrounds. I drew designs with a blue liquid liner pencil on my arms and face inspired by woad face paint and woad body paint, used a blue eye shadow to make it look messy, and used way more dark grey eye shadow than usual for a smokey eye look. I painted my nails blue as well, because why not?! And since I feel naked without earrings, I wore a pair of copper and natural stone earrings I bought at the market in Istanbul.
Rather than pillaging villages, we watched a few shows, hunted for wine, and ate turkey legs with reckless abandon. It was a good day to wear my usual “resting bitch face” to complete the look.
I may make minor adjustments the next time I wear this costume to Scarborough or Texas Renaissance Festival. I need to make some homemade arrows for my sad little empty quiver. Is there anything else I should add or alter?
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