May 20, 2012

Regency Picnic

I had the opportunity to head down to the Virginia tidewater yesterday to attend a delightful regency picnic hosted by the Regency Society of Virginia.  They are a newly formed group so this was their first costumed event, and it was worth the 2 hour drive to go down!  They are a really lovely group of people and very eager to host Regency events throughout the state, so if you are interested in the period, I hope you'll consider joining and being part of the group.  They are also on Facebook!

Courtesy of the Regency Society of Virginia

Not only were we treated to truly perfect weather, but we got to play around at Bacon's Castle, a 17th Century (yes!  17TH CENTURY!) house in Surry, VA.  The staff was so welcoming to us.  We got a tour of the home, then we were allowed to pose using some of the reproduction chairs in the home.  They are intermingled with actual 17th C. antiques, and it was thrilling to be able to get so close to some truly stunning pieces of furniture.  If you are ever in the area, you should go out to this incredible site!  It's worth the trip!

Courtesy of the Regency Society of Virginia
Courtesy of the Regency Society of Virginia

I wore my Laure Bro Voile Gown, again reminded of how astonishingly comfortable it is!  The only problem is that I worried all day that I would get a stain on it- and I did drop a small drop of strawberry juice on the skirts- alas!  Oh well, this is the second time I've worn it and frankly that is pretty good for me!  If it gets really stained I'll just dye it a new color!

Courtesy of the Regency Society of Virginia

I had two new accessories to wear- a new bonnet and my newly-painted American Duchess Pemberlies.  I'm very excited about these shoes and they turned out better than I expected.  I'll try to get a post up about painting them soon!  They were very comfortable!

I'm also very happy with my new bonnet, which is a straw based lined with gathered teal taffeta and trimmed with matching pleated taffeta, vintage polished cotton ribbon, and some truly lovely paper flowers.  It was delightful to wear!

Regency Still Life
What a fun day it was!  Make sure you check out the upcoming events with the Regency Society of Virginia!   I know they have a picnic in October in the Charlottesville area that is definitely on my calendar!  I better get to work on that spencer...

March 2, 2012

Woo Hoo!

I was so excited to get an email this morning from Elizabeth of Sew 18th Century, who has awarded me with a Leibster Blog!

Thanks so much, Elizabeth!  I appreciate it very much and I hope you'll all go check out Sew 18th Century, where she is currently making what I think is the ultimate costuming project- handsewn fully boned 18th Century stays.

And thank you for reminding me that I haven't done a blog post in a while.  I've got some more "Bonnet of the Year" research done and it needs to be put up!

February 5, 2012

Sack back, Sacque, Robe a la Francaise- whatever you want to call it!

Because I am a very lucky girl, I get invited to some pretty amazing parties sometimes!  This one was The Francaise Dinner Party, which I desperately hope becomes an annual event.  Bryan and I drove up to the Philadelphia area for this dinner with about 15 old and new friends, and everyone really pulled out the stops with their outfits!

Personally, I've never like the Sack Back style gown.  I just think it looks a little silly, so I had never made one.  Kat (our hostess) challenged us to make one for this event, and there is nothing like the promise of a good party to convince me to embrace a new costume!  I was lucky enough to find 10 yards of a delicious mint green shot with gold silk taffeta for a shockingly good price right after the party was announced, and who am I to resist fate?

I mostly used the pattern on page 35 of Patterns of Fashion from Janet Arnold, with a tremendous amount of help from Katherine's wonderful tutorial for draping a Francaise, which saved me on numerous occasions.  Thank you, Katherine!

I anticipated that this would be a quick n' dirty gown since I only started it a few months ago, but I ended up sewing everything except for the long seams on the petticoat by hand.  I did run out of time in the end (I did a shocking amount of finishing work in the car on the way up yesterday!), so it isn't trimmed as elaborately as I would like.  That just means the next time I wear it it will look different!

Here's the dress (and I do apologize for the wrinkles and my hair being collapsed.  These photos were taken at the end of the evening, so this is 7+ hours of wear!)

(Oops!  Crooked stomacher!)

The following are a few "how it works" shots.  

It pins closed under the robings- this is the trickiest part and I couldn't have done it without my patient and kind assistant :)

The trick to getting a smooth stomacher! Put tabs in it!  This way you can put the pins in horizontally facing away from the stomacher, which I find to be much easier that putting them in vertically along the edges of the stomacher. 

This is how I gathered the sides in around the petticoat.  As you can see, the hoops on this are pretty small, so the pleating method that others have used just didn't quite work with me.  I was hemming and hawing over it when I saw this picture of an original petticoat (I have no idea where this is from!  Someone please tell me so I can cite the source!:

It worked perfectly over my little hoops and was much easier than trying to pleat!

And just for fun, here is a classic shoe shot!  Mine are the green ones, of course :)

January 2, 2012

2011 Costume Year in Review

I started 2011 by making a resolution- something that I haven't done in years- to produce at least one piece of costume every month.  In addition to that broad goal, I also had a list of things I wanted to accomplish:

A regency corset-  DONE!

1810 working day dress- DONE x 2

1810 something fancier dress- DONE!

1750s linen gown with robings- Errr..nope!

1750s wool gown with robings- DONE!

1770s campfollower wool gown- Nope, again!

1770s silk bonnet-  Check.  Big time.

Regency bonnet- Check again, big time, again!

In January I completed two projects- a set of Regency short stays which I don't have a picture of- and my very first Regency gown from printed cotton:

At Gennessee Country Village in June
In February I made my first bonnets- one 18th Century and two Regency.

In March I made...more bonnets!  And struggled with a Regency bib-front that was a disaster and is still in a pile in the corner of my sewing room.

In April I made what is sorta a 1750s gown.  It is made of green wool and has robings, which are evil things that I had a great deal of trouble with.  This was one of my classic OMG THE EVENT IS TOMORROW gowns that I made before Ft. Fred Market Faire, and it was only when I got to the event that I realized I hadn't brought shorter petticoats, so I had my friend Julie puff up the skirts for me (and no, that doesn't make it a Polonaise), which is NOT a 1750s style!  So the picture is a bit strange:

In May I made another Regency gown, this one long sleeved and with a wonderful stripey cotton print that my friend Julie gave me (the same Julie that pinned my dress up in the previous picture!).  Ridiculously, I only have a tiny number of pictures, none of which show the whole thing.  This will have to do:

I love this gown!
In June I made my favorite gown of the year, my Laure Bro Voile gown:

And the epic hat of epicness:

And then there was August.  And September, and the rest.  While my bonnet-making continued into November, that was it for my dressmaking.  I guess that means that technically I failed my resolution, but I also made TWENTY EIGHT bonnets and 4 hats, including the one above.  Holy crap.  Here are some of them!

(P.S.  Several of these are for sale in my Etsy shop and I do take commissions!)

So, overall I think I'm pretty pleased with my 2011 output!