Saturday, March 3, 2018

She's Back! What I've Been Up to Since 2015

Highlights from The Last Four Years

July 2015: I had a baby!  He's a sweet little handful, and doesn't give me much time to sew, much less blog about it.  Now that he's two and a half, I found myself once again with the time inclination. Here are a few hi lights of various costume projects from the last (nearly) three years.

I've been pretty solidly focused on my day job teaching costume design at an arts magnet high school, and our several productions a year, but I also have been expanding the 18th century millinery operation with my good friend, Ian Graves at Royal Blue Traders.

The sales of these caps and bonnets has been paying for my return to school in an effort to advance my professional credentials.  Thank you to all of our customers, and to Lauren Stowell at American Duchess for the shout-out back when the Hermoine was visiting Virginia in June, 2015.  She featured my shop in her article, The Versatile 18th Century Market Hat.  So thank you, Lauren.  I think I nearly exploded from a fan-girl squee attack when someone pointed it out to me.

Bottle Green Shot Silk Taffeta 1770s Robe A L'Anglaise

2015? My mom's bottle green shot silk taffeta  late 1770s robe a l'anglaise.  She is a tiny stick woman.  It didn't take much fabric.  Now, if only we could get her to wear an 18th century hair dressing...  At least I could convince her to wear stays.

My mom is not a reenactor, or even a historical costume enthusiast, but we do manage to get her to come to a winter ball here and there.  The last few years, my unit, the Ninth Regiment of Foot has hosted a ball at the Hartford Armory's Officer's Club.  Most of my work for myself since 2015 has been for this event, since I don't get the opportunity to dress as a lady too often.

Jan 2015:  Blue Silk Taffeta Shortgown and white striped silk organza petticoat.

 I was five months pregnant, and I wanted to go to the ball, but my options were somewhat limited.  I made a pair of maternity stays, and improvised with a button-front short gown.  The lighting at the Officer's Club isn't the greatest, so getting good photos with an iPhone is always a challenge.

February 2017: Brown Linen English Gown

Attempt #1 with Larkin and Smith's English Gown.  The 20+ page instruction booklet with the detailed photos and diagrams was extremely helpful, but I ended up with way too much volume in the sleeves.  Steph from Larkin and Smith helped me to set them properly when I ran into her at the New England Reenactor Fair in Sturbridge.  Overall, not bad for a first try, but I learned a lot with this gown that I was able to apply to two later versions.  More on this in greater detail later.  Also, American Duchess has a decent article on 18th century sleeve setting.  Setting 18th Century Sleeves the 18th Century Way

July 2017: Attempt #2:  Printed Cotton English Gown

July 2017: The Little One explores his first 18th Century Event with the Ninth Regiment of Foot.  We'll have you marching to the colors in no time, my boy.

Attempt #3: Jan 2018:  The Strawberry Cupcake

The fluffiest of pink cupcakes.  Larkin and Smith's English Gown in strawberry pink silk taffeta.  This  was my second attempt with the pattern, and sleeve issues were more under control, and the fit around the waist was much better.  I also had a lesson in how to pin a stomacher from Hallie and Steph which helped immensely.  Placing the pins horizontally makes all the difference, as does pinning the robing independently of the stomacher.

Caps, Bonnets, and my travels with Royal Blue Traders - The Northeast Reenactor Fair has been good to me these last few years.  Look for us in Portsmouth, NH at the Colonial Trade and Craft Fair at the end of March 2018.

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