An Afternoon at Ft McHenry aka Dress-Up Fun!

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!

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The Spontaneous Spencer

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):

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