Baby’s First Ren Faire Tabard

Friends of mine are due to attend the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire next week with their 8 month old son (who is absolutely gorgeous).  Upon hearing that his grandmother was knitting him a chain mail coif and decorating his stroller as a horse, I volunteered to make a simple tabard appliquéd with a coat of arms that is associated with their family name.     This is the result!    Given that it was done at breakneck speed and will most likely be drenched in spit-up within five minutes, I didn’t give it the sort of neatness, detail and embroidered attention that I’d give to a similar piece for an adult, but I’m still fairly pleased with it.

I haven’t been to the Ren Faire myself, though with my own two year old going through a phase of almost fanatical interest in princesses, I can see that a trip will be in our future – perhaps next year when her crowd tolerance and attention span are a little better than at present.   I dread the possibility that I might personally find it all a bit too touristy and twee/kitsch as I usually find the American treatment of Tudor and Medieval times (they often seem to conflate the two) all just a bit much.  For myself, if going in costume, I would feel obliged to make it authentic (I don’t aim for this in art, but costume is an entirely different matter).  Sadly, from photographs it seems that the majority of costumed faire-goers opt for a pirate/swashbuckler bodice/floppy shirt look in impossible combinations of colours and fabrics.

I will go next year with my parent hat firmly in situ and thus reconnoiter from a minimum safe distance.   Having a happy, enthusiastic child to introduce to the world of pageantry and chivalry will probably make it all perfectly enjoyable.

Fleece tabard, felt appliqué of an eagle carrying a horseshoe.

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