I have recently begun a costume line, Medieval Fehr, to bring to life the women and their songs throughout the centuries, but with a focus on the Medieval to Baroque eras. My philosophy is to recycle and repurpose clothing and I love to create something new and unique from vintage items. Role models have been my grandma, my mum, and my aunts, who creatively recycled long before it was popular… and I was inspired by Scarlett O’Hara and her “curtain gown” in Gone with the Wind! My gowns throughout the years of performing have often been designed and created using fabric from gently used gowns and linens found in consignment and charity shops, or using discount fabrics from roll ends hidden at the back of fabric stores… often only $5 – $7 per metre!! Costumes for Musical Theatre productions are a wonderful way to teach the younger generation to be creative and at the same time be responsible caretakers of our beautiful earth!
Minstrel Thérèse de Fehr is wearing a 15th century linen kirtle designed and made by Fehr in the ‘draping and pinning’ Medieval tradition with 10 handmade cloth buttons, hand-stitched buttonholes, lined with recycled linen and with detached fitted under-sleeves. As was the practice at that time, two gores were inserted at front and two slightly longer gores at back for added fullness. By the 1400’s, gowns became more fitted, bodice necklines lower, and cloth and metal buttons were used as fasteners, placed down the back if the lady had servants or placed down the front for the middle-class maiden who must button herself in! Once securely buttoned, it is off to the Fair for this Medieval Fehr!
“I saw a star rise high in the evening sky; it hung like a jewel, softly shining.” The Lady of Rivendell glows in a gown from Tracy’s Medieval Fehr costume line. This fantasy design with long, flowing non-symmetrical lines in soft, shimmering pink has a contrasting satin underskirt in deep pewter. The underskirt was sewn from a recycled gown discovered in a consignment store. The wide bell sleeves of the gown, cut out shoulders and square neckline trimmed with matching satin create an ethereal lightness while the Swedish clogs in buttery-soft pink leather bring this elven star down to earth.
Hildegarde von Bingen looks saintly in a 12th century tunic with extravagantly long, wide sleeves and modest neckline, tied high at the waist with a wide grey sash. Beneath the unlined tunic is a white chemise undergarment with grey skirt. For this simple Medieval tunic, Tracy doubled the fabric lengthwise and then cut the bodice and sleeves as one piece, leaving only one continuous side seam from tip of sleeve to bottom of skirt. The blue cross shines boldly against the white of the gown, her hair is loosely covered with a sheer white veil, and the cloak, a deep grey-blue in lush velvet with black velvet-lined hood, trails regally behind, befitting an Abbess.
Shap Abbey, 12th Century