Thursday, December 12, 2019

My First 1870s Dress

The early 1870s is one of my favorite time periods in fashion history. It's so poufy and skirty and big and fun! So when I was invited to a Victorian Christmas Tea and then a Victorian Winter Tea (only a few weeks apart), I decided to make a dress that would suit both events. These events were in late 2018 and early 2019.

I made this gown in a couple stages so it would look different for the two events. The basics are I added an overskirt, pleated trim on the main skirt, a butt bow, a proper transitional crinoline and petticoat, and fur accessories for the second outing.

I used the Truly Victorian bodice pattern dated 1871. Overall I really like the pattern. I had to make the sleeves smaller (as always with TV, which I find odd because I have thick upper arms). I only changed a couple things, mainly the front point and the neckline. The main skirt is a simple 1870s skirt, no pattern used. The overskirt is just a big semi circle. I totally admit I was going for a historically accurate Cinderella look, but I wish I had done a different overskirt. The shape just isn't what I wanted. Maybe I'll make another overskirt when I make an evening bodice to match.

The main fabric is icy blue silk taffeta from Silk Baron. The bodice is lined in thin cotton/silk. Future Victorian bodices have had and will continue to have more substantial fabric- this stuff was too flimsy. The dress is trimmed with a self fabric pleated ruffle, darker blue silk, and a silk fringe. I also made the matching buttons.

The next pictures are from the second wearing with the additions.

The fur accessories are all vintage from Ebay. My muff still has the fox face on it which I thought was a fun touch for the Victorian macabre!

All but one of the photos are by Gloria and Mike of In the Long Run Designs, as noted in the tags in the pictures.

Monday, September 2, 2019

1790s V Neck Gown

In February I attended the George Washington Birthnight Ball at Gadsby's Tavern in Old Town Alexandria. I made a new gown over the winter for this event. The fabric is from Renaissance Fabrics- it's a silk/linen blend with small embroidered metallic strips. The fabric can read as pink or purple depending on the light. It's whisper thin and feels like I'm wearing nothing.

I used the Queen Luise of Prussia pattern from Nehelenia Patterns. I would highly recommend this pattern! It fit very well with only the smallest alterations. It does have a very deep V neck- I actually raised mine a little because my stays are a bit high. I did alter the skirt to be just two large trapezoids.

I'm wearing my favorite bodiced petticoat underneath the dress. It's made from very thin silk taffeta and is extremely fitted, with bust darts, and opens at the sides with hooks and eyes. This way the front and back are smooth under any dress.

For my turban, I cut up a silk sari to make a very long scarf, and fringed the raw edges. It's simply wrapped around my head, and I added a feather for some drama.

My shawl is from Heritage Trading- wool with wool embroidery. My gloves are silk. Necklace from Dames a la Mode.

I was able to use just my own hair, curled with foam rollers overnight. I could use some more boost with 1790s hair but the turban does a lot of the work for me!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

February Costumer's Outing

The first week of February was the historical costumer's mini market in Williamsburg. I bought some jewelry from Dames a la Mode and tried on four corsets. The following day was a large meetup of costumers at Colonial Williamsburg. I think there were over 20 and perhaps many more. Some of us separated for lunch early on and some of us broke off at the end for more photos.

I made a new jacket for the occasion. It's a silk faille from Silk Baron in a deep eggplant color. I paired it with my silk/linen yellow petticoat. The jacket pattern is by JP Ryan. I've used it three times now to great effect. I added box pleated trim out of matching fabric.

I purchased silk mitts from Williamsburg Rose and a new hat from Fashions Revisited, both on Etsy. Once the hat arrived I knew I wanted to add more red to my outfit, so I added the red silk ribbons to the jacket. They tie the jacket closed over a stomacher.

 Jewelry was made by me. Kerchief is silk, from Dharma Trading. The white cap is from Flying Heart Millinery, bought at the Jane Austen Festival last summer.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Colonial Williamsburg Dress Up Weekend

This past September, a friend of mine wanted to celebrate her birthday by coming to Williamsburg and visiting the historic area for a couple days. Seeing as I'm local, I of course said I'd come along! I knew it was going to be hot, so I made my first Chemise a la Reine/Robe en Chemise. I was aiming for 1781-1782, right when the chemise gown first shows up on record (in art or written). I took some inspiration from the famous Marie Antoinette portrait as well.

I used the Laughing Moon pattern with some alterations. I made the bodice longer by about two inches so it would hit closer to my natural waist. My sleeves have more gathering rows than the pattern. The fabric is a cotton voile from Farmhouse Fabrics.

I also trimmed a large felt hat blank with silk ribbon and ostrich feathers. I made a silk sash with leftover fabric from a ball gown that has fleur de lis embroidered on it, plus a gold fleur de lis necklace. I really wanted to play up the French factor!

I am wearing a wig with the dress. It's a wig I bought for 1790s that has large curls all over. My friend restyled it for me into the shape you see here. It has some fake rats giving it boost, a couple buckles on each side, and some curls hanging down the back.

The green and pink outfit I made in 2017. It's a silk/linen fabric with silk ribbons. I made a new silk/cotton neckerchief and matching sleeve ruffles.

 My cap is from Flying heart millinery, and I added a black silk ribbon for more punch. The hat is a straw bergere that I retrimmed with matching silk ribbon.

 I got this lovely walking stick with enamel for a fun prop and tied some silk ribbon around the top.

We had a really fun weekend, full of laughter and food and shopping. The chemise gown was about as comfortable as I could get heatwise without resorting to a bedgown.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Regency Has Taken Over My Life

Your girl has been bitten by the Regency bug for some time now and it doesn't seem to be slowing down, mostly due to the amazing events put on my the Regency Society of Virginia.

First up is the Ladies Retreat put on by the RSV. They rent a house built in the late 18th or early 19th century for a long weekend, and we do activities from the period and eat food mostly based on historical recipes. This year we were at the North Point Plantation in King William, VA.

I brought two outfits for each day, Friday and Saturday (we arrive Thursday night and depart Sunday morning but those days there is no dress up due to travel). Here's what I wore and a bit about each garment:

Friday Daytime: my blue cotton block print apron-front dress, made from the Laughing Moon pattern. I really need to get a nice matching hat!

Friday Evening: my 1790s blue silk outfit. Since the first wearing (in September 2017 at Gadsbys), I altered the dress. Lowered the neckline, shortened the shoulder straps, reduced the volume of the sleeve head, and redid most of the edges by hand. I'm much more happy with it now. Also, the little evening spencer fits better over my newer stays that have bust gussets than the old 1790s transitional stays, so that's a great bonus. I also got a new wig but I need to re-style it.

Saturday Daytime: I wore my simple white drawstring dress with a new spencer made from a peach plaid cotton. The cuffs have a box pleat detail like some extant ones I've seen. At some point I will add the same treatment to the whole collar. By the afternoon, it had gotten so hot that I shed the spencer and hat and just wore my white outfit alone.


Saturday Night: I wore my orange bib-front gown that I altered in advance of the event. I made a whole new bib (this one has diagonal tucks and is cut on the bias), re-attached the skirt with pleats instead of gathers, put the sleeves on correctly (they were backwards! whoops!), and changed the buttons. I'm really enjoying this gown now. I borrowed coral accessories from my friend Megan to change the look from the last wearing.

Next up is the picnic at Maymont Park in Richmond, which was in mid-October. This was a really fun, casual RSV event. People brought picnic stuff and we plopped down in the park and just enjoyed the scenery and each other's company. The park is lovely and has so many great photo locations. I made a new dress for this event: a cotton/silk blend in a white and yellow pinstripe. This fabric moves like a dream and weighs almost nothing. I used my trusty drawstring dress pattern and this got whipped up in just a few hours. I added my black silk spencer and I love the color combo!

 Another fun event that I just attended was the Lady Detalle's Pumpkin Tea, which had a theme this year of the movie "Austenland", a very funny film about Jane Austen addicts. This meant the costumes we wore should be a bit over the top and fanciful! I made a new spencer from cotton voile with Mameluke sleeves, worn over my silk bodiced petticoat. I added a chemisette, fichu, and cap to make it super fluffy. Photos by In the Long Run Designs (first) and Judy (second).

For the evening portion of the event, I wore my orange gown again with a hat made by Shocking Bad Hats, borrowed from Megan for the event. It coordinated really well! Photo by In the Long Run Designs.

I've got more events coming up the next few months and no doubt will post photos!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Jane Austen Festival 2018

This July I attended my first Jane Austen Festival in Louisville, Kentucky. The event was great, the site and grounds were lovely, the ball venue was spectacular, but it was crazy hot. Heat indexes over 100 hot. It rained a bit Sunday but that just made it muddy and moist. Anyways, on to what I wore!

 In June I made a new drawstring dress for a 19th century fashion show. It's linen in a plaid weave. I used the Sense & Sensibility Elegant Ladies Closet pattern. I definitely think that the linen dress and linen shift underneath helped me be slightly less hot than if I wore all cotton instead.

In my new Shocking Bad Hat I bought at the festival, in silver with lavender and pink accents.

For the fashion show in June, I deliberately chose to do a working class style to show the range of clothing and classes during the early 19th century. I made a apron from a black and ivory mini-check linen from Renaissance Fabrics. The neckerchief and cap were made last year for my 18th century outfits but worked well with this outfit too.

The ball at the festival was held at the Pendennis Club in downtown Louisville. It was a fantastic venue, with a dinner, ball, card room, private salon rooms, ladies lounge, etc. Very grand indeed! I wore my silk ballgown for only the second time.
On Sunday at the festival I wore my new blue dress. It's hand block printed, from an Indian Ebay seller. I used the Laughing Moon bib-front pattern, adjusting the front skirt to gather up with the bottom of the bib for a fuller look. The sleeves are also narrowed. It closes with Dorset buttons. This is my favorite Regency dress I've made so far. The black bonnet below is also a Shocking Bad Hat.