Sunday, April 13, 2014

Come Out to Bacon's Castle!

Yesterday, Mike, Nicole, and I did some filming for Bacon's Castle. It was so fun! Mike played my jilted suitor and got to ride a horse, and Nicole drove us in a 1930s truck. We'll be doing more next week, too!

I want to invite y'all to the 18th century cricket match at Bacon's Castle on May 3rd. It's a great excuse to come out in 18th century clothes at a beautiful historic site and see some handsome guys run around in breeches. ;-) And you get to go on a ferry!

Event info:

Bacon's Castle:

Here's a couple pics Nicole took throughout the day. She made a stunning 1670s gown that I know you will love when she posts about it!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

American Duchess Photo Shoot, and a Confession (?!)

*squee!* Here's the pictures! Well, some of them. Like my wedding pictures, it was hard to narrow it down! 

I feel so grateful to Lauren for asking me to be a part of this, and for allowing me to share and use the gorgeous images she created. I also want to add that I LOVE the Stratfords and that they are very, very comfortable! Go buy a pair, now!

You might recognize this gown as once being my 1560s fitted English gown. I had originally planned to wear it as-is for the shoot, but it started to bother me that the gown was technically 20+ years behind the shoes... So I altered the bodice and trim to bring it a bit more up to date. 

I wish wish wish I had more silk damask because I wasn't able to remake the sleeves to the nice puffy, sausage sleeves of the 80s and 90s *sigh*. Can you all forgive me? And can you forgive that awkward wrinkle on that chest that happens when I put my head down? I'm trying not to let it bother me because Lauren's pictures are so beautiful...

This has really pumped me up to work on my early 17th c outfit. I won't be cutting any corners with this era. Right now that means hand sewing the channels in my bodies, and then a hand sewn smock with lace from the Tudor Tailor. After that will be a petticoat, "French farthingale"/bumroll, gown, cuffs, and rebato/collar. Yikes! But I'm excited.

If I'm being completely honest, most of my Elizabethan clothes have been very costume-y, since they were made for faire, and coming from a faire background about how to do things. I had period shapes and silhouettes, but not period fabrics or construction. But recently--really within the last year or so-- my involvement with Colonial Williamsburg and my growing circle of friends who are dedicated to historical accuracy have really inspired me to do everything--everything-- as right as I can with 21st century limitations. I had been doing this with 18th century and Civil War, but not with things like my Elizabethan outfits, because that was for faire. But why should there be any difference? I know it's not for everyone, and I absolutely do not judge a single person who doesn't do things the way I do. But it's what I want to do for me. 


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

American Duchess Awesome-sauce!

Look who's rockin' the cover photo of American Duchess's Facebook page?

Screen shot 2014-04-02 at 6.45.22 PM

We did an AMAZING photo shoot when Lauren was out for the millinery conference, along with Maggie and Lauren M.  I can't wait to see the rest of the images! 

The pictures were taken at Bacon's Castle, which is a wonderful hidden gem just across the river from Colonial Williamsburg. Everyone should visit the next time they come to Williamsburg! They have really great events throughout the year. Mike and I will be doing some filming for them for their new promotional movies. And the 18th. c cricket game will be held there on May 3rd. :)

I will post more about the outfit when the rest of the images come from Lauren. I did a complete overhaul of my 1560s English fitted gown to make it more appropriate for the 1580s-1600 timeframe of the Stratfords.

In related news, I broke down and started making 17th c bodies. But it's okay, because it's kinda-sorta for work... ;-)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

I Survived the Millinery Conference! And Announcements...

I did it!!! My talk went beautifully, and so did the two performances of the play! Phew! It really was fun, but I'm glad the craziness is over. Things were so busy that I didn't get any pictures, so here's some stolen from other people...

At Military Through the Ages on Saturday morning... I wore my pelisse, with the addition of an antique black lace veil. It was a nice touch!

And the conference! I presented on mourning accessories and millinery of the 1860s. I ended up wearing my full mourning clothes for the birthday party as a way to advertise my presentation.

After all the research I did for this paper, I am so eager to continue working on the subject. Of course, not getting paid for it makes it hard to devote so much time to more research and writing, but we'll see what happens with it... All I know is that I am REALLY passionate about this subject. Ideally, I'd like to publish it all as an article. 

So what's next? Well, I'm teaching at Costume College!!!!!!!! I've got quite a bit of sewing to do for my class. :) 

I've also got a couple commissions as well. Then I'm hoping to sneak in an outfit for Ft. Fred, and Nicole and I have talked about riding habits for the cricket game at Bacon's Castle. Luckily I have fabric for all of it in the stash! Except a habit shirt... Ugh, not looking forward to that!

For Costume College, I think I am just going to focus on 1820s and Felicity, and wear an 18th c outfit for my presentation, probably the one I'm making for Ft. Fred. 

This week I'm also going up to Philadelphia to unveil the Washington marquee tent (!!) so the shell'd gown will FINALLY be photographed and a blog post on 18th century prints will FINALLY be written!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Felicity Christmas Gown Progress

Things are going well, if slowly, with the Felicity Christmas gown. I just can't stay focused... Plus I started a new job (there might be a post about that soon...), so I'm adjusting to working again after a month off. I also need to finish up my presentation for the millinery conference. Eep!

Here's the petticoat all done. I added a ruffle because it seemed weird without one. I'm already taking the license to make this a sack back, so why not? I'm also adding ("fly") fringe to the edges of the trim as well. That way I don't have to pink them or hem them. Just turn back the raw edge once and stitch the fringe on with just enough stitches to hold it on. 


And here's construction pictures of the back. I've since draped the front bodice lining and am fiddling with it a bit before I cut out the silk pieces. I think the part I'm most nervous about is the skirts, and making them drape nicely over the hoops...


A lot of unseen stitching goes into the back to keep the pleats all neat and tidy. I used spaced backstitches to stitch down the top 4" of the pleats, then a double herringbone stitch horizontally across the pleats at the bottom before the "release". Spaced back stitches on either side of the center back opening keep the silk snug on the lining when the lacing is pulled in to bring the gown closer to the figure.

You can barely see the spaced back stitches on the outside, but they're there doing their job!

And a nice, tidy eyelet.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Alteration Help? And More Vintage Love!

I found these totally fabulous vintage inspired high waisted trousers at Forever 21. They only had small, medium, and large so I ordered the small... and they are way too big in the waist, by maybe 3-4". I really want to keep these and alter them, but I'm not sure what the best plan would be. There are seams in the side pockets, a side zipper, and two welt pockets in the back. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Other than that, I LOVE this style and I'm determined to replace all of my modern, hip hugging jeans and pants with vintage styles. They are SO COMFY and flattering. I don't know how we ever got to the place we're at with modern pants... :-P

Photo on 2014-01-31 at 15.34
Photo on 2014-01-31 at 15.35 #3

I pinned them in back to show you how much needs to be taken in...
Photo on 2014-01-31 at 15.39

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hoop, hoop, hurray! 1770s Oval Cane Hoops

Here's some pictures of the hoops I finished a couple of days ago for my Felicity Christmas sack gown.

I waffled for a while about what style of skirt support to make (pocket hoops vs. full oval) and decided on these because they're more unusual in the living history/costuming circle, but quite prevalent in extant examples. Mine is a pretty modest size, although I can't get through the bathroom doorway in my apartment hehe!

I must give thanks to Nicole, who gave me the cane and went over construction tips with me. She wrote a great article about 18th century skirt supports for Your Wardrobe Unlock'd. I don't have an account, but you should check it out! :) The cross barred linen is from Burnley and Trowbridge. Right now I just have some cotton string in the waist, but I will be replacing it with linen tape once I can get back to B&T.

First, reigning the cane into shape with cotton string after getting it wet in hot water in the bathtub. I didn't let it soak, just swished it around in the water until it became more pliable. I let the cane dry for a little less than 24 hours.


The cane got covered in strips of linen. Then I pretty much draped and fiddled around with the rest of the linen, pinning things together and standing in the mirror until I got it right. Nicole explains it much better in her excellent article!

I am wearing a shift, stays, and under-petticoat under the hoops.

Ugh, I hate this cap. It's being replaced... Almost done with the new cap, out of the same fabric.

Everything is whipped together, literally!

Inside of the hoops. I am totally tickled by how much my hoops look like this extant! Except I was way more meticulous about finishing my edges heh... Obviously my hoop is untied and the extant is tied.

Extant hoops, seen here: