Tuesday, September 22, 2009

1870s Cuteness and Sewing Breaks

My, but I’ve been busy. And nearly 3 weeks without a post is too long even for me. (Sorry for not posting more in-progress updates on the Lizzy 1875 Striped Summer Dress.)

I’m in the middle of what I call Sewing Overload and desperately want to NOT sew for about two months. Alas, as I finish my stripe-y cuteness I’m jumping into three more projects to be completed in under three weeks. Yes, I’m insane. (I won’t comment on my unnamed friend’s frothy white & red organdy bustle dress that she STARTED three days before the picnic.)

The 1870s picnic on Sunday was well attended with about 40 to 50 in costume. Everyone looked yummy and it was a pleasant group. We ate, took tours through the Banning House, played badminton and croquet, ate some more, shared stories, relaxed on the cool grass, laughed, delighted in the young children as they ran around in their period-appropriate clothing, and generally had a very nice afternoon.

My dress, in my humble but unashamed opinion, was the cutest costume I’ve ever made. (And I like most (but not all) of my completed projects.) It was 100% finished by Saturday afternoon. However, I was still up late finishing the trimming on my new hat. Exhaustion reigns but I love my outfit.

Being sheer fabric with a lightweight muslin base, the skirt was surprisingly easy to move in and frolic over the grass lawn. The bodice was flat lined in lightweight denim and was just as easy to wear. I think my old ruffled petticoat made from heavy-duty cotton (before I knew better about making petticoats in light/stiff fabrics) was just as heavy as my trained skirt. Yikes! That sucker was dense and hot.
I'm only wearing my lobster tail bustle and pad for support as it's on the end of the First Bustle Era and Natural Form was starting to appear. I wonder how the skirt would look under my Truly Victorian bustle?

And, of course, I have the perfunctory Victorian bow on the bodice back pleat.

The two lower bodice buttons are meant to be unfastened so the bodice lays flat over the hips – partially my fault by not making a mock-up first to test the hip circumference over the skirt, but if you look at old photographs some women show the bottom of their bodices not fastened all the way down for the same reason. So I’m going for a period look here.

… I haven’t stopped with the sewing projects since early July and I crashed in the middle of this bustle project. Just didn’t have the power to keep going. But I did and I’m really happy with the result. But no break for me – yet.

I’m currently planning a Regency Autumn Soiree in early October for my reenacting group. My husband and I are hosting the elegant dinner party complete with period English cuisine for both the afternoon tea and the dinner, a bit of dancing, cards and conversation all by candlelight.
Because this is a costume required event, I’m putting together a quick late 18th C. outfit for the caterer/cook consisting of a basic petticoat, undress jacket and apron. And, of course as hostess and to satisfy my insanity, a new elegant white gown will be furiously put together for myself. All in 17 days.

So the sewing continues. Ahhh…for a break!


Isiswardrobe said...

You look very lovely!

Pavlina said...

Great job, the gown is lovely. well worth the effort.

I'm very envious, we don't seem to have any events like this in Maryland :(

mijndroomhuisje said...

i love the gowns!!!..but also your and the other lady's hair updo's..how do you do that??, your hair..i find it always verry difficult to find the right hair updo...and i hope that maybe someday i have such a great picknic too.

greetings marijke

Lauren said...

Oooh,ver pretty.

Jennifer said...

Thanks to all for the compliments.

Pavlina - My Civil War reenacting group just decided to host an 1870s picnic. If you had a few friends who also have costumes, simply have a picnic in a local park or check with museums if they allow for picniking. No need for an "official" event/reason to dress up!

Marijke - For my hair all I did was spend an hour curling ALL of it with a curling iron. Then I simply took up the sides with bobby pins. The hat covered the pins. Not a complicated style really. Others there had wigs and hairpieces. The 1870s were about big hair on the back and top in curls.

Lauren said...

WOW! It looks fantastic! And I know how much work went into all those ruffles, so I commend you!

Forgive me if I missed it in the text, but where was the picnic? It looks like Lincoln park on High Street in Alameda, CA...?

Jennifer said...

The picnic was at the Banning House Museum in Wilmington, CA which is west of Long Beach. The link to the museum site is toward the top of the post.

stars-design said...

Wow! You look great!
I´m working on my first 1870´s gown at this time! I love yours!

Jennifer said...

Thanks! The 1870s is my favorite historical clothing period. Enjoy working in this fabulous pretty era.