How can I wear my baby at Renaissance Fest without clashing with my ensemble?

October 12 2011 | offbeatbride
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Photo by mbarrison, used under Creative Commons license.
The Renaissance Fest in my state is happening soon and a group of us are road tripping to spend a weekend there with the kidlets. I have my costumes all picked out, but I have no clue what to do with my toddler.

We are a babywearing family, so I'd love to wear her, but I'm pretty (selfishly) concerned about the aesthetic of the Ergo with my corset. I'm also wondering… what would a one-year-old wear to Renaissance Fest anyways? — Kimberly

Alright, all you Ren Fest-attending, Dragon*Con-loving, Star Wars event-going folks: how do you coordinate your costumes with your baby-toting devices?

  1. A Moby wrap or something similar would work well. And depending upon your baby's age, essentially a nightgown and matching cap would've been worn. Once they're a little bigger, small children matched womens clothes, traditionally for practicality. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1 agrees
  2. I dont' know about wearing the baby, a moby style wrap may look better.
    On the other hand, all the kid's outfits I've seen for that age are usually just long dressing gowns. I would just get simple straight dress, maybe look the next couple of sizes up to get it to hang right. Or, get brown leggings and have her wear boots.

    Please send us pictures once you've got it all figured out!

    1 agrees
  3. 6 agree
  4. I dont know if your costume is German, English, Irish, Scottish, Italian, Moorish, Turkish etc… I dont know if youre going as peasant class or upper class. But since most people seem to attend as English peasant class, a sling style carrier made of a solid color in earth tone ( rust, mustard, sage, taupe, chocolate) in a cotton fabric ( not jersey) such as muslin, is period appropriate. I dressed my child in a pillow sack with arm and neck holes, and a braided rag belt, with a biggins cap.

    1 agrees
  5. As above, I think a rebozo woven wrap sling works well & looks good. Girasol do some lively colours, including earth tones & their 2.7m woven wrap isn't expensive.

    Do not get a moby or similar Stretchy for a toddler tho, they are more appropriate for the 1st year.

  6. I actually work at the Maryland Renaissance Faire! All season, I've been seeing adorable Renn faire babies. They're often dressed in simple white blouses – it's fairly easy to toss that over leggings for an inexpensive renn faire get-up. Then you can accessorize – I've seen plenty of babies wearing pirate hats, tiny moccasins, etc.

    I suppose what you'd decide to use would depend on what type of costume you have- is it more villager or more court? The most "renn faire-y" baby wearing I've seen has been simple earth-colored cloth slings. A couple that's closely associated with the faire just had a baby actually, and I got to see the dad wearing the baby in a brown sling while dancing with his wife around the maypole (she was playing violin at the time. It was amazingly adorable).
    If you have a fancier, more court-like costume, perhaps a shinier, more luxe looking fabric sling? (I am not actually a mom myself, I just enjoy reading OBM – so I'm not certain as to the practical nature of the slings – just suggesting a few ideas)

    3 agree
    • Me too! (work at MD Rennfest that is)

      I mostly see babies in slings… but I also love the pimped out wagons that people bring for their kidlets instead of strollers. I've seen some pretty awesome decked out wagons.

      And I also can't resist a baby in a kilt. We all squee every time one comes in the shop. Soon enough mine will be hanging out at faire while I work… I have every intention of raising them as faire babies!

      1 agrees
  7. Were not dressing up people (though I did get my wedding dress at the renaissance festival), but we just went to the KC renn fest with our two year old. Honestly, he didn't get into any of the shows, but he loved playing in the dirt, doing the kid stuff and people watching. He's not a shy kid, but he was equal parts terrified and fascinated by every person who talked to him. So I wouldn't worry about what the kid will do.

    We used a stroller, though. It sucked, but I was worried about crapping out while wearing him.

  8. Hans Holbein the Younger is a great source for knowing what English and German kids in the English Renaissance era wore.

    The Artist's Family (1528) shows a baby in a simple front-closing sleeveless pleated gown over a little shirt.

    The Duke (1538) shows a beggar woman (dressed in simple, but not ragged clothing) and her child; the child is in a very simple sleeveless tabard.

    Edward VI as a Child (1538) shows baby prince Edward in elaborate clothing.

    A Woman Seated on a Settle with Four Children (1540) shows 4 children, ranging from an infant to probably early elementary school age.

    5 agree
  9. I grew up at the Oklahoma Med fair and Muskogee Ren fair ! I wore fairly simple straight dress/chemises until I was about 11. My brother always wore a peasant shirt, loose pants and a vest. I wish I had pictures uploaded!

    1 agrees
  10. Many of my friends have been saying I should add my comment because I am someone who is working Ren Faire with a toddler.

    Much of what I would have said is already covered by many other experienced Ren Faire moms, either those who have worked there or are regular attendees. Instead, I will share two photos, one from last year and one from this year.

    Last year when Sage was a "babe in arms" I fashioned a sling from a lovely scarf I already had:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ragani/6239992246/

    This year we got a Radio Flyer wagon that we usually drape in blankets. We opted for the All Terrain Wheels version, which has been a good choice on the various different types of surfaces we encounter on and near Faire site.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ragani/6167452560/

    Other parents who we have seen do something similar have gone so far as to create fabric covers that mask much of the modern aspects of the wagon. I have even seen a very clever hack done with a large enough basket for the seating and wooden wheels that looks fairly believable as something that could have been made back then.

    • LOVE THIS! I totally want to see a baby in a stroller that looks like a dragon, or possibly like a majestic horse! You could go all out and dress the baby like a little knight who's riding the horse/dragon, haha.

  11. I work for a historical guild at the Bristol Renaissance Faire, and actually found paintings with women wearing their babies in slings! I wish I had a link to the website with the painting…

    Here is a picture of me working with my daughter in a sling.

    http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/s720x720/316727_1933827906728_1273226668_1756639_4756082_n.jpg

    Please let me know if the link doesn't work!

    She's over a year old, and it was fantastic for when I needed to get things done or get from one side of the faire to the other in a short period of time.

    1 agrees
  12. My daughter is a lifelong faire brat. She was conceived during my first season at Southern, and attended from the start. I always had her in a homemade rebozo, and once she was mobile, I had her on an inkle woven tether attached to my belt.

  13. Thank you, everyone!!! I was totally inspired after reading all your comments and here's what I've got so far:

    -our friends surprised us with a tunic (yay!)
    -I refashioned a ripped pillowcase into a cloak and biggins
    -A leather belt from our church's clothing bank, which will be tethered to my belt.
    -We're taking a wagon and letting her ride when she gets tired.

    Thank you all so much! I will post pictures when we have them ๐Ÿ™‚

    3 agree

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