I just uploaded my (few) pictures from the first Duchess of Devonshire tea. Sadly my camera died on me pretty early in the event, so there aren’t very many!
But not a lot of posting! Mostly it’s because I have been slowly slowly working on binding my 1780s stays, but also because I’ve been working on Michael’s 16th century trunkhose (but they keep seeming to stay in a not-excitingly-photographed condition – update soon!).
I think red is my color of the moment, because that’s the theme here…
First, I made the Costume Close-Up cloak for the Lumieres seaside stroll. I was worried about freezing to death, so I took some lightweight red wool, fulled it, and made up the cloak — which I have to report is SUPER easy, because of the fulling… you don’t have to finish any of the edges! I debated and debated what to line the hood with — I wanted to do something solid so it would work for any era (because how often do I make cloaks?), but the only thing in the stash that worked was a green & red 18th c.-style indienne print. Oops! Guess it’s not going to work for 16th century! Also, a report — according to the book, the hood is cut large to accomodate the big hairstyles of the period. Well, obviously they don’t define “big” the same way I do — there is no WAY that hood was going to fit over my hair! So I’ll have to make another version at some point with a bigger hood, and this time of some heavier wool so it will work for REALLY cold events. Luckily, although we expected rain, we had a beautiful day, so it worked out just fine.
Next, I went to the GBACG Duchess of Devonshire tea, which Cynthia and I organized. We had planned one tea (obviously), but it sold out so quickly we added a second date the following weekend! I didn’t want to stress myself out by trimming my hat at the last second, so planned to wear something else… but then got the wild hair the night before to wear the hat. Silly costumer! So I put some burgundy ribbon and a burgundy feather on it, all with straight pins, and called it good. I had experimented with using green ribbon, as in the original fashion plate, but it just looked like a Christmas hat.
I finished binding my 1780s stays in time to wear to tea #2 (ie late the night before). I really wanted to wear them because — hey, they’re new! Plus I wanted to find out how comfortable they’d be. I handsewed ALL of the binding, top and bottom, both sides, because I really wanted it to look good. And while I’m not 100% happy with it, I think it’s my best binding job so far. The petersham worked well and I think it looks good — I was worried it would scream “petersham!” but I think it just looks like a ribbed ribbon. I did discover some cosmetic changes I want to make when I do version #2, mostly that the side tabs are shorter than the back tabs, and I’d like to even that all out. Also, I don’t have a back picture, but I want to make the line of the straps at the top back of the corset merge more. I’ll post really REALLY final photos once I have the right color ribbon on hand to lace them with — I had to just use what I had on hand, which meant the straps are tied on with black, and the back got laced 1/2 with burgundy and 1/2 with green! I wore it under my chemise dress, which is the only dress I had that (because it’s gathered) fit — all the rest of my dresses are too small in the bust and too big in the waist to fit!
I haven’t yet posted my photos from the first tea, but I’ll do so very soon! I do have photos from the Devonshire tea #2 up. Both teas were lots of fun — yummy food, good conversation, and we had lots of fun playing forfeits!
In late September, GBACG held their Wives & Daughters Picnic in Tilden Park in Berkeley. Despite being a touch too warm, it was a lovely event, and I was pleasantly surprised to see so many costumers get all 1830s-ified! Lots of silly sleeves and even sillier hair. Unfortunately the heat killed me, so I didn’t stay long enough to take TOO many pictures, but the few that I did get are now up. I think my favorite was the perfect recreation of the 1830s Manchester Galleries archery dress!
Sunday was GBACG’s Costume Academy, our annual one day of classes. I taught two — Overview of Women’s Costume in the 1830s, and 18th century printed textiles. I had a fun time teaching, especially because I had some really knowledgeable people in my classes who were able to add to what I presented – I love when that happens (of course, when it happens WELL — as opposed to annoying people who try to take over). Anyway – fun!
In updating my info on 18th century printed cottons, and because I know the GBACG website is changing and I think the articles may be disappearing at some point, I copied my research to this site so I can be sure it will have a permanent home. I made just a few updates, mostly in terms of where to buy reproductions, and added some images (rather than just links).
Yesterday was the GBACG event, Surviving the Guillotine: A French Revolution picnic, which as you’ll recall I organized. It took place at Mountain View Cemetery, an historic (19th-20th century) cemetery in Oakland. And it was faaaaaaaaaabulous! I had SUCH a good time — perfect weather, everyone looked beautiful and got into the spirit of things, all my preparations and last minute sewing came together, some of my favorite people were there… I just had one of those, “I love playing dress up! I love all you guys!” days. Yay!
The only hitch was that I got there early to set up, so I could be serenely prepared when everyone else showed up — only to lock my keys in my car, with my car parked RIGHT next to our picnic area (where I’d told everyone else not to park!). I totally owe Jana for driving over to my house and back to pick up my husband’s keys.
I had a lot of fun running around cockading and be-ribboning everyone (there’s a pic of me with my basket o’ revolutionary fun, which I am amused by because the ribbons look a bit like gore) — made it very easy to greet everyone and, I hope, help them to feel included. I set up my altar, with flowers, pictures of guillotined, and letters from the soon-to-be-guillotined (which I forgot to have anyone open/read!), although the wind kept blowing out the candles. The singing was a little rusty, but lots of people joined in and we had good success with La Carmagnole and La Marseillaise. The dancing went over very well (I’m hoping someone got some pictures?) – I taught Juice of Barley, Well Hall, and Childgrove (all things English being so popular in France, of course!).
And the costumes! Yay, the costumes! Mine first, of course (hey, it’s my site!): so the little thing I whipped out was, you guessed it, a chemise dress — I was cheerfully resisting the chemise dress phenomenon until Lauren posted this video of her looking SO cute in her chemise (Lauren, I blame you!). Which made me think of my favorite dress from Marie Antoinette — the Comtesse de Polignac’s chemise gown. So I thought hey, why don’t I whip that out? Again, next time I decide to whip something out, remind me not to handsew most of it! Pictures and details here. Thanks to Bridget for the fabulous suggestion of wearing cockades on our shoes!
Everyone else looked fabulous too, as you’ll see from the pictures. I particularly loved Teresa’s chemise dress (in the icon – she looked just like La Madeleine!), Bridget’s hair with the big cockade and feather, Liz and her sister’s outstanding chintz gowns with over the top hats, Trystan’s Marie Antoinette mourning brooch, Janel’s 1780s mourning gown, Katie’s fabulous green tricorn… okay, I should stop listing as it’s going to be endless, and instead link to my pictures!
It’s not that I haven’t been around, or that I haven’t been sewing… it’s that I foolishly decided, “Hey, why don’t I just whip something up for the Guillotine Picnic?” So I’ve been doing a bit of offline sewing (because I thought it was just going to be this super quick thing!). Next time I decide to “whip something out,” remind me not the handsew the entire frickin thing. I win the genius prize! The event is Saturday, so you shall see the result of my madness then. Don’t worry, it’s not terribly exciting.
In other news, I have been hugely busy trying to stay on top of my life plus plan every little detail for the Guillotine picnic. To date, I have gathered music and lyrics for the song booklets, found dance music and steps for the dancing, typed up letters from soon-to-be-guillotined personages, found engravings of more guillotined personages, bought a bazillion yards of ribbon (yay for Bastille Day being after July 4th, and for after-July-4th sales!). Thursday night is assembly night, during which I have to make 60 cockades and assemble 60 song booklets (hopefully with a few helpers). Still need to burn music to CD, figure out the stereo, frame engravings, figure out the rest of the altar (we’re going to have an altar in memory of the guillotined), make a sash, sew some organza ruffles on my sleeves… Crikey!
In yet other news, this offline sewing has put a crimp in my Costume College sewing. I am itching to get cracking on the Daniel Deronda dress – Sunday! I shall get weeks of sewing done on Sunday!
… was Saturday night, and wow, was it amazing! Bridget and Trystan did an outstanding job decorating what was already a perfect location with house banners (and color coordinated table decorations), owls, candles, and lots more stuff. There was a TON of food, including chocolate frogs that Trystan MADE (both the frogs and the boxes), butterbeer, pumpkin pasties, you name it. Everyone looked great and really got into it (side note: interesting how much people played with characters at this event vs. at an historical event, where most people don’t!), including a completely-in-character Dobby who was hilarious. There was a graduation ceremony, Hermione gave the valedictorian speech, trivia dueling, and lots of silliness. Check out my pictures (most of which were taken by my husband – giving credit where credit is due! – who was hilarious as Hagrid).