Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blandford Harvest Day

Katie spoke so highly of her experiences with the Blandford Nature Center, so of course I was excited to volunteer at their Harvest Day last weekend. One of the most awesome aspects of the center is that they really appreciate their volunteers and are very gracious with them. Since they focus on environmental aspects but do have a nice handful of historic buildings, they very much appreciate having history-oriented people to take over those parts of the center. So Katie and I basically got free range in their 1866 cabin and got to do whatever we wanted in regards to interpretation. We ended up doing period laundry, which was awesome! The kids loved getting involved. It's such a great thing to interpret since it is very visual and easily connects with aspects of people's modern lives. It is also a gateway to talking about hygiene and clothing.

Having said all that, I realized I didn't have anything appropriate to wear in October in Michigan for the 1860s other than my black wool mourning gown and silk gown... And I wanted something a bit more practical! Katie was selling a beautiful dress length of plaid wool which I snapped up from her. I chose some style elements that are visually appropriate for the late 60s to fit with the 1866 date of the cabin (although it was inhabited well into the 20th century), but would still allow me to wear it for earlier events in the future. I chose a standing collar, slim coat sleeves, and a flat front skirt with box pleats, which tend to be features on later 60s gowns. What would have made it perfect is an elliptical cage, which I just couldn't afford for a one-day event! So I went with my regular 60s cage. I also styled my hair very distinctly late 60s, with emphasis not on the sides of the face but more on the top of the head, and with most of the bulk of the hair in a rather full chignon (as opposed to confined to the nape of the neck).

There's actually a lot of things I'm not happy with, so I will be fixing those things in time to wear the dress again in November for my trip to Gettysburg with confidence!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

1560s English Fitted Gown

Firstly, thank you everyone for the compliments on my rolled hem! I know a lot of people are interested in a tutorial, so I will try my best to put one together when I have time, and figure out how to take video of my hands at work...

I wrote a pretty lengthy write up on this project on my Livejournal, so please go there to read it!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Burning the Midnight Oil

This weekend is my university's Renaissance faire. It's more about fun than any sort of historical accuracy, but I'm looking forward to the opportunity to wear 16th century clothes. I have a new outfit to debut, too! It is just about done, except for the wrist ruffs I am making (to match this neck ruff).

I just finished the itsy bitsy rolled hem on one of the lengths of silk organza. There's a straight pin (and my fingers) for scale. I did a LOT of rolled hemming during my internship this summer! I can now roll and stitch a hem simultaneously, which makes it go pretty quickly. The wrist ruffs each will have 45" in them, gathered into 6" wristbands. More on the rest of the ruff making process later!