Sunday, July 24, 2016

Getting closer...!

My Gala gown is wearable! I would say it's done but I just remembered a few things I want to neaten up. But I'm really excited to wear it! It was a huge pain for the longest time and I'm still not happy with the fit, but oh well. 

Can't wait to see you all at Costume College!


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Conference-Surgery-Costume College!

I don't even know where to begin...

So much has happened in the past two weeks, but I don't have the energy or dexterity to write out a detailed post on it all. You may have noticed my previous posts about the 17th century clothing conference I helped organize. Well, it finally happened last weekend! It really was just my boss and me running this show, which was horrendously exhausting but so worth it in the end. The feedback we have had from our participants and presenters is just overwhelming. The conference included tours, workshops, lectures, and interpretive demos. Everyone had a fantastic time and learned so much. We assembled a veritable powerhouse of 16th and 17th century clothing historians and costumers, including The Tudor Tailor, and it all took place at Jamestown Settlement. We partied in the reconstructed fort and ate fantastic food, and watched the sun set over the James River from the deck of one of the recreated ships. It really couldn't get much better than that!

But right after a showstopping weekend, I went right into wrist surgery. It was just time to get it over with. That means all sewing has come to a screeching halt, and everyday tasks are pretty painful, including typing! So while I want to gush about what a fantastic event I helped put on and how much I learned, I physically can't. I also am desperate to sew but, again, I can't. My doctor is quite sure that the surgery will be the cure to my troubles, but I won't really know until everything is healed up. I'm less confident. I just hope I can finish the last few things I need to do before Costume College...

Here's just a few pictures from the conference, and links to other folks' albums. There are too many great pictures to share them all here!

Jen Thies' photos from the weekend: https://www.flickr.com/photos/52716085@N00/sets/72157670331598125

From the fort party, by Fred Scholpp:
 


By Victoria Dye:



And a couple of me in hospital and my wrist! :-P



Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Come See The Tudor Tailor in Virginia!

As part of the three day conference at Jamestown Settlement, The Tudor Tailor is giving an entertaining presentation on June 24 that is open to the public! After the presentation, you can shop at The Tudor Tailor store, chat with Jane and Ninya, and examine reconstructed garments, all while enjoying complimentary refreshments. Organizing this conference has been the biggest project of my short career, and I'd love for you to be there!
This presentation on June 24, 2016 from 7-9 p.m. by The Tudor Tailor is based on exciting new research to be published in their next book, The Typical Tudor.

'As I lie dying'
See inside the wardrobes of two Elizabethan women living in England in the 1570s and go through their garments to discover how very differently they live their lives. Barbara Bundock, a much-married merchant’s widow, and Margery Trollope, a soap and candlemaker, meet for a gossip and to enjoy their favourite conversation – the ailments they suffer and their imminent gathering to heaven, which they have discussed weekly for more years than either can remember. Each is blessed with clothes that represent their wealth and standing among their neighbours. They are competitively well-informed as to the relative value of their dress: the raw materials, where they come from, who made them and how they rival each other in quality and cost. But their clothes also carry a heavy burden of responsibility as tokens to be passed on to friends and family. Not only must they decide who is most deserving of their own garments, there are many items of their husbands’, which demonstrate their doings in more detail than is necessarily comfortable. Barbara and Margery assess which of their grasping friends and family may benefit from the best rather than the worst items on offer.
Join Jane and Ninya for this lively presentation and dressing demonstration which draws on the wealth of material gathered by The Tudor Tailor team since the publication of The Tudor Tailor ten years ago, and gives enjoyable insights into the exciting new content of their forthcoming book The Typical Tudor.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Instagram Update

I'd been working on my 1780s Dutch print gown but had to set it aside to finish a commission for a museum. While I don't take commissions from private customers (I know better than that now! I genuinely dislike it...), I do make exceptions for museums. The gown just needs sleeves cut, sewn, and attached, and then it's done! The tiny pleats were a headache and they aren't as even on the inside as I would like, but the outside looks great and that's what matters, right?


 
Yesterday a bunch of the materials for my secret (?) Gala gown arrived! I'm so excited to start this, but commission first...


Other things occupying my mind and my time have been taking more time and care in my outfits and appearance. Some recent favorites...

Monday, April 18, 2016

Canary in a Coal Mine

I bought seven yards of this silk satin because the price was good, but I had no idea what I was going to do with it.

Then Crimson Peak came out. :)

So someday... hopefully in the not-too-distant future, I'll make a gown inspired by Edith's!
 
 

Check out this FIDM blog post for some AMAZING detail and in-progress shots of the iconic costumes.
http://blog.fidmmuseum.org/museum/2016/04/crimson-peak.html

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Handsewn Late 1770s Gown For Sale!

Completely hand sewn gown from the late 1770s in a reproduction cotton print. Bodice measures EDGE TO EDGE 35" bust and 26" waist. You will need to have measurements SMALLER than this to fit into the gown as-is (front edges overlap and are pinned shut). However, I also have 2 yards of this fabric so you can alter it as necessary, or add trim! This gown has a matching petticoat (you will not receive the white petticoat in the first picture).
$300 + shipping
$20 for 2 yards of fabric





Sunday, April 10, 2016

Interpreting 1860s Mourning at The Mariners' Museum

Longtime readers and friends might know that I have an obsession professional interest in studying 1860s mourning clothing. I first presented on the topic at the millinery symposium at Colonial Williamsburg in 2014, and have been continuing my research in my "spare" time. I was thrilled when I was asked to present again at The Mariners' Museum's Civil War Event, Battle of Hampton Roads in March. Along with giving my lecture, I set up an interpretive display of mourning items I've made or collected over the past year or so. 

One of my main motivations in studying and interpreting 1860s mourning is that there are a lot of misconceptions about the topic. Some of the most prevalent are that every black dress/bonnet/veil/brooch/cap/etc was for mourning, and that all women were absolutely required to follow prescribed mourning customs and did so regardless of their circumstances. What I've discovered in my research is that process of mourning and the clothing or accessories worn for mourning were actually deeply personal, and the extent to which a woman followed mourning customs was greatly informed by her economic situation, the community she lived in, and her personal beliefs and feelings. I'm hoping to write an article on my research in the not-too-distant future, so I won't go into much more than that in this post, although I'm happy to answer any questions you might have. I've chosen to focus my area of study on the years 1850-1869 because practices and fashions change quite a bit throughout the century, and I don't believe in lumping them all in under "Victorian mourning."

My display was made up of original cartes de visite of women in full mourning, including a few widows identified by their widows caps; reproduction full mourning bonnet, veil, and collar; an original hair brooch with the name and death date of the deceased; mourning pins from At the Eastern Door; Lincoln mourning cockades; reproduction jewelry from The Victorian Needle; an original mourning envelope; a reproduction belt buckle from Aldridge Clothiers; printed cotton fabric suitable for half mourning (which I started a dress from); and a reproduction half mourning bonnet. 

Full mourning bonnet covered in crape. Fiddly to work with, but well worth the effort to get something that's "right"!


Almost the whole display.


The light mourning side of the table:
  

The full mourning side of the table. Forgot I had a shawl in there too!
  

Crape full mourning collar with original hair brooch and repro buckle in the background.
 

Reproduction Lincoln mourning cockade made from crape and silk ribbon. Original mourning envelope.
 

My original hair brooch. 
 

The back is engraved, "Jessie Ewart died 22nd May 1863."


I had hoped to finish the half mourning cotton dress AND make a new full mourning dress, but I ended up devoting my time to making a new cage crinoline, petticoat, and reworking my half mourning silk dress. My hope for the next time I can set up this display is to have both of those dresses finished and available to be displayed. 

I had some excellent discussions with visitors, but the most interesting conversations were those I had with small children. At first I wasn't sure how I was going to talk to small children about death. Would their parents be offended? How much would a small child (say, under 10 or even under 5) really understand about death? So I turned the conversation to "How do we remember people?" and "What things do you do when you're sad or miss someone?". That ended up being the ticket, and my little visitors responded well. I'm really looking forward to setting up this display again and hope that I can do so sooner than later!

Along with having my mourning display set up, my friends had a display set up for a women's sanitary fair and were engaged in reproducing a flag in the collection of the Mariners' Museum. I was able to put a few stitches into it, and although we didn't complete the flag, we were still able to present it to Mr. Lincoln on Sunday afternoon. Chelsea, who came to help stitch the flag, was gracious enough to share some of the pictures she and her husband took during the weekend. 


Busy stitching!


Chelsea and I were sleeve sisters!


Fixing and fluffing is very important.


Presenting the flag to Mr. Lincoln.