‘1 Nightgown new made’: A Practical Investigation of Eighteenth-Century Clothing Alteration PART 1 (of 3)

This post is a little something different from my usual and is actually rather more like an old project of mine you can check out here.

This is an “experimental archaeology” project I did to present at the Costume Society of America symposium that was held this March in Williamsburg.

The project consists of historically accurately reproducing a mid-18th century nightgown (fitted back style) and then altering that same gown to c.1780.

Why do this you may ask? Well, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here before but I wrote a PhD thesis a few years ago all about the alteration and re-use of 18th century women’s garments. I’ve been itching to do a related reproduction project from that research for a while now and the CSA symposium finally gave me the chance I’d been waiting for!

Here’s a couple of snap shots of the finished exhibit, entitled:

‘1 Nightgown new made’: A Practical Investigation of Eighteenth-Century Clothing Alteration

Image may contain: 1 person, bedroom and indoor

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How I Made My 1780s Tall Crown Hat

This post focuses on construction of the hat I made to wear with my mint wool 1780s redingote. For the post on construction of the redingote itself, click here.

I should begin by noting that I have no idea how HA or not the construction of my hat is. We apparently do know that wire and buckram were used in hat making at the time but don’t know how much it would have resembled our modern materials or just how they were used. We don’t have any surviving examples of these hats (that we yet know of) to check against. So please do keep this in mind – this is *my* interpretation of how such hats maybe *could* have been made.

Anyway, here is the hat in question:

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Mid-1870s Day-to-Night Bustle Dress

For the first weekend of February this year I got to have a little costuming adventure in Ft Worth, Texas. This was especially exciting as I’d never been to Texas before! And I have to say that what I saw of Ft Worth left a very good impression! It was so clean, the people were so friendly, the prices and portions for food were fantastic (even if the portion sizes were a little overwhelming) and the hospitality was overall so gracious!

The reason for the excursion was an event organized by the Dallas/Ft Worth Costumer’s Guild, entitled the “Victorian Soiree.” They found out that the Ft Worth Symphony was going to perform a selection of pieces from the later Victorian era and decided to make an event of it!

So, we went to the Symphony in costume and it was just delightful!

I had initially planned to re-wear my CoCo 2017 Gala gown but have decided I don’t think the bodice is really all that flattering on me and I’m feeling self-conscious these days about my flabby upper arms. Add to this that an idea for a new 1870s bustle dress had been planted in my head by a silk purchase a few months ago and I couldn’t resist making something new – with sleeves, lol!

Voila!:

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2017 Sewing Year in Review

This year’s sewing was definitely dominated by historical makes. There’s just always at least one event seemingly after another to sew for around here! My costume closet is getting pretty stuffed since it wasn’t just new dresses/outerwear pieces being made but also several new skirt foundations. And I’m also starting to run out of room on the hat shelves because for most of my new outfits I also made matching or coordinating hats!

Around this time last year I posted my 2017 sewing plans and I managed to complete everything on the list – and then some! (which isn’t helping with the space issue, haha)

In chronological order we have:

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1780s Mint Redingote at a Colonial Williamsburg Weekend!

Right at the end of 2017 I had a little dream come true – a costumed weekend at Colonial Williamsburg!

A couple groups of friends decided to get together there to take in the holiday decorations and sport our 18th century winter wear.

*Note*: all watermarked photos are courtesy of In the Long Run Designs – thank you again Gloria & Mike!!

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c. 1794 Striped Silk Open Robe (aka: more autumn colours!)

In early November I got to attend a lovely annual event here in the DC area: The Pumpkin Tea and Candlelight Dinner hosted by the ever-gracious Lady Detalle.

This post is about the outfit I put together for the afternoon tea.

The group shots and photos of me in my outfit were graciously taken by Gloria of In the Long Run Designs.

Everyone looked SO GOOD!

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1875 Autumn Plaid Dress – Construction

If you’re just joining, this is my follow-up post to last week’s that was full of pretty photoshoot pictures of my recent 1875 bustle gown, made for my Big Ass Birthday Bash. This post focuses on construction and the insides of the ensemble. And thank you to everyone who responded to the last post with questions about the making of this outfit, I’ll do my best in answering them!

The foundations for this dress are my trusty pink Victorian corset along with the Laughing Moon bustle/crinoline I made earlier in the summer…..

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1875 Autumn Plaid Bustle Dress

Well, I did it! I’ve now made everything that was on my historical sewing list for 2017 – and I still have a couple months to cram in a few more makes, ha! This dress was the last on the list and was made for my recent Big Bustle Birthday Bash. And last week I was able to do a dedicated photoshoot of it courtesy of Taylor of Dames a la Mode.

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