Last year, on Halloween, I made my daughter a dress similar to those in the 15th century because she wanted a princess costume. The only fabric where I had enough was the green broadcloth and white (dyed pink with pink dye found in the kitchen).
That year, I didn’t have any money at all. I used a pattern but altered it for her shape and size, as well as style. I had to dye the white broadcloth pink because, well, green and white is too blah and she likes pink a lot anyway.
After sewing the whole thing together, I took out some leather string I have, braided it, sewed the ends so it didn’t un-braid, trimmed it up and put snaps on it, as well as the sleeves of the dress- so it would have a little border. The braided borders are leather, so for washing purposes, I put it on snaps to allow the dress to be washed normally. (In other words, you could remove the braided bands, wash the dress, dry it and place them back on easily.)
The entire back where the pattern called for a zipper, I had to improvise. I had no zipper and no money, so I used hook and eye enclosures. There was this wonderful gold and frosted glass-looking button in my button collection that got used at the top of the back closure for asthetic reasons, as well. She wanted me to draw vine-like motifs on her face, I say it’s reminiscent of some of the lettering of medieval years.
Everyone loved this princess costume and she still likes to wear it!