For this years Ren Fair, rather then making a whole new dress (just no time this year) i remodeled that old dress i wear with new sleeves and new trim and contrast fabric. In addition to those small changes i also wanted to add new accessories that would help the whole ensemble look more like the character I play (Katherine Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon).
The first thing i added was new shoes, not a something you see but i had finally worn out my old ones! I went with these
from this seller here in the US, they are well made, very nearly historically accurate. Also when you add in a nice gel insole they become very comfy like slippers :) next year i think i will make them silk ties rather then the leather ones they can with for lacing.
The next thing was jewelery. In the past i didn't have a whole lot to wear and my dress is rather plain and made of simple fabrics which is good in the sense that we are supposed to be out in the country, but not so good in that it was hard to tell my character was of a high station. So by adding a set of matching jewelry it really made it much clearer what my station was, not to mention it was all pretty and shiny :) I mixed and matched pieces from Sapphire and Sage, and chose metal color and jewel tones to make it a matched set, i also chose colors that i knew i could use with the new dress i am going to make for next year.
I got a girdle, necklace, ear rings, and ring:
The girdle came with a different medallion that i took off and turned into this over necklace and then used this pewter pomander to hang at the end of the girdle. The pomander came from this site:http://www.pewterreplicas.com/detail.asp?id=122&selcurrencies=GBP
The last piece i added to the ensemble was a book, Katherine was know for being very well educated and well read and for spending much of her marriage working with young women of all stations teaching them to read and write. While Katharine would have likely carried around a book of common prayer, i chose to carry around a black book, but one that looked a lot like examples of originals or those in portraits i have collected in my research. I found this seller on Etsy, via a general search for leather bound books: http://www.etsy.com/people/alexlibris?ref=owner_profile_leftnav
I contacted him and asked if he could make me a book similar to one he was currently offering but just with a different closure. His response was prompt and perfect. He believed he could easily make me a custom book based on my descriptions and references and get it to me in time for my event just 3 short weeks away! And he did, he was incredible responsive to all my questions and requests and worked so quickly. The book arrived in time and exactly as i had imagined it would be, he is true artisan and i will definitely be doing more work with him in the future.
The book was also not expensive considering it was custom made and it was well received by all who saw it and handled it at the fair :)