I didn’t take a lot of photos of the Kentucky Jane Austen Festival (wish I had got some of the pugilists!) but I did get a few and thought I’d share.
Mackenzie of Fig Leaf Patterns and I both worked on patterning for the DAR Agreeable Tyrant Exhibition catalogue. So here we are together , each in our own versions of the sleeveless spencer that I patterned from the original garment and Mackenzie digitized for printing. I just love the colour she made hers from!
It’s been a busy-ish past couple of months for me since I decided to try out the Louisville, Kentucky Jane Austen Festival this year in addition to attending – and teaching at – Costume College, both in July. And, of course, there was much sewing and preparation to be done for both!
But now it’s time to start catching up on ye olde blog.
Let’s start with the Jane Austen Festival. Because everyone I knew who’d gone before warned me repeatedly about the heat and humidity I realized that most of the regency-era clothes I already had risked being too hot to wear because of their medium-weight linen bodice linings (yeah, it’s that hot!).
Thus new gowns had to be made – and they had to be made as cool as possible! This meant trying out something new and a little scary for me: unlined regency gowns in very lightweight fabrics! I was pretty nervous approaching these as I feared they wouldn’t stand up to actual wearing but I ended up being very pleasantly – and gratefully! – surprised at their durability.
I also decided to make 1 new hat that I would wear with my 3 outfits for the weekend.
And lastly, I made a new shade for an adorable antique parasol I managed to score online just in time for the festival!
The festival started with a twilight shopping event on Friday evening. Since it was later in the day and less disgustingly hot I opted to re-wear my DAR reproduction gown + sleeveless spencer ensemble (most or all of these photos were taken by Angela Burnley of Burnley & Trowbridge with her magic iPhone camera!):
A new fashion exhibition has just opened up at the Daughters of the American Revolution museum here in DC, ‘An Agreeable Tyrant’: Fashion After the Revolution. It explores Americans’ various relationships with prevailing fashions during the early Federalist period of 1780s to 1820s. Over the past year I’d been assisting the curator, Alden O’Brien, with the exhibition. First, with some late-stage planning and design, then with drafting scaled down patterns of several of the garments going on display, a little bit of photography, and finally mounting the garments on their mannequins including making adjustments to the mannequins themselves and also making some of the underpinnings needed to properly display the garments. Most of this was on a volunteer basis but I also wrote one of the essays for the catalogue (on fashion and thrift) and that was on a professional level. It was very exciting for me because its the first time I get to see my name in print this way!
FYI: The exhibition runs until April 29, 2017 and the catalogue is available to purchase online here – and they do ship internationally.
A few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to kill several overdue birds with one stone: finally wear my blue silk spencer and olive green shako hat in a proper ensemble, get some proper photos of me wearing them and visit a new-to-me historical site. All of this courtesy of the lovely and wonderful Taylor of Dames a la Mode who invited me for an afternoon at Ft McHenry in Baltimore the Sunday of the July 4th long weekend!
With us came the delightful young Melissa, in her beyond charming blue dress and accessories. Melissa had been interning at the DAR museum for a month and I’m so glad timing worked out that she was still in town for this (or maybe Taylor planned it that way, I was actually away most the time Melissa was in DC, so I don’t know these things).
We met up with Taylor’s friend (Taylor – remind me of her name so I can put it in here!) who works for the fort as a living historian and she took us on a little behind the scenes tour before we went wandering the grounds on our own.
Taylor brought her awesome DSLR and so lots of photos were taken mostly by Taylor (although I’ve done some editing to the ones she sent me), here are just a few. Admittedly, they are mostly sort of me-centred, but you get some of Melissa and Taylor too!
Ok, this post is a long one, but I hope you’ll think it a good one.
I’m using this as my (slightly belated) entry for the HSM ’16 (Historical Sew Monthly) January challenge: procrastination. Doesn’t it just figure I’m a little late with it
I started this dress for last year’s challenge: out of your comfort zone, back in……May? April? Something like that. Considering I was feverishly working on finishing my PhD thesis at that time I wasn’t about to take on a whole new branch of sewing/needlework for this challenge. Instead I decided to take on one historical sewing technique that had long fascinated me but I’d been unsure of trying for some reason. The technique is a particular way of seaming bodices in the late 18th century. It consists of finishing the separate pieces of the bodice with their linings and then sewing them together with a very scant seam allowance (you’ll see what I mean in a moment).
The style of the dress is from (goddess) Norah Waugh’s Cut of Women’s Clothes, the 1797 open gown:
Ok, so I have a lot of catching up to do on here! Between finishing up my PhD and then an international move, there hasn’t been much time for blogging over the past few months. But I have been sewing during a lot of this “away” time. I made a natural form era summer suit, a vintage mash-up summer suit for my thesis defense, and three new dresses over the past 2-3 weeks. I’m also in the middle of a white cotton regency gown to wear with the blue silk spencer.
Today, I present a project I made for a Historical Sew Monthly challenge back in the spring: War & Peace. I did get it done and posted to the fb challenge album in by the challenge deadline, but never got around to blogging it. In the interest of catching up, this is going to be short and sweet, but I hope will still be worth your taking a look.
I hummed and hawed about what to do for War & Peace for some time trying to figure out what to do. Then I remembered those smart military-inspired hats women wore during the Napoleonic wars – feminized versions of the Shako hat/cap:
This is my entry for February’s Historical Sew Monthly challenge “Blue”. It wasn’t my initially intended entry, which was supposed to be a smart and clever-looking new pale blue wool coat made from a late teens/early 20s pattern I have. However, after doing a muslin and fiddling with it a bit I just wasn’t feeling it. I still hope to make it someday, but I wasn’t feeling totally enthusiastic about it and I think it’s too straight a silhouette for most of the clothes I wear, even though it has a little more flare than most styles from that period.
So, about the middle of the month I decided to completely switch tracks and make something that was nowhere on my sewing list/queue. Very practical decision (please note the sarcasm). I rationalized it to myself by saying that I had intended <someday> to make a new spencer from a piece of pale blue silk in my stash left over from the Regency ball ensemble I made a little over a year ago. And that even though I had no definite plans about it, it did get something off my sewing wishlist, at least, and used up an awkwardly-sized piece of fabric stash. In fact, everything on this came from stash, I didn’t purchase a single little bit for this, and that’s always nice.
I made the even more practical decision to hand sew the entire thing.
So let’s get to it, shall we?
My spencer is a combination of Sense & Sensibility’s pattern (which I already had and already used so I didn’t need to worry about fitting):
Hello again! I know it’s been a long while since I posted, but life just got too frantic. Since the new year started I’ve been sewing like mad on Tree. I’ve been photo-documenting the process and will have lots of posts on it, but for time being the emphasis needs to be on the sewing! Cause I’ve still got that other Garrison Ball dress to do while also working on a dress exhibit I’m curating and working on my dissertation. Another part of the time crunch is that I’m not home right now, I’m posting to you from London, England! I came over for a few weeks to speak at the University of Brighton as part of a seminar series then tie up some loose ends of research. Since I can’t work on my sewing while away, I can blog a bit again! I meant to finish a Tree post or two, but discovered after I arrived here that I didn’t have the right usb cord to hook my camera (where most of the photos still are) up to my laptop, d’oh.
Instead, I’ve decided to give you a couple of virtual tours of dress/costume exhibits in London. Yesterday I went to the V&A and snapped photos of the ‘permanent’ costume display there from the 1700s to the 1950s. I’m going to post this tour in several parts so as to keep the posts manageable sizes. On Friday I’ll be popping by the Museum of London and will try to get pics of the dress on display there, especially the “Pleasure Garden” exhibit of 18th – early 19th century dress, it’s a really delightful display!
Unfortunately, the quality of the photos I got yesterday is far below what I would prefer. The lighting is necessarily quite low and I only had my phone with me, so these are far from amazing shots, but at least you get to see what’s there and what’s said about it if you’re not likely to be visiting any time soon. On the other hand, the poor photo quality may not be the worst thing, since I wouldn’t want to try and replace the experience of going in person. And if it ever happens that the V&A is not happy with my posting a virtual tour, I will remove it.
So, without further ado, let’s begin our tour with Georgian and Regency era fashions: