Regency Christmas at Aston: dress project and event


 Not so long since we were at Aston Hall doing 17th century event, we were asked by Black Knight Historical to  join the forces yet again – this time for filming a short feature film for the NBC. Sounded great,  a nice job, interesting subject ( celebration of Christmas in circa 1820 as described by Washington Irving  – yes the same bloke who wrote Sleepy Hollow) – but no frock!  My only other Regency outfit was a riding habit ( as can be seen here), and that was not really suitable indoor. So, a new frock was  needed- and hardly much time left to make one, let alone spending ages deciding on fabrics etc – I had to make do with whatever I had available.

 A brief research and looking at the 1820 images ( lots of them now on my Pinterest board) decided on the style – an after a brief dither between a black velvet winter gown and a dusty rose satin, satin emerged a winner -mostly because it looked great with some lace I had available.

The next Stitch and Bitch session at Julia’s from Sew Curvy was the designated time for making a frock and a simple petticoat.


petticoat hem detail

Petticoat ready, I was working on the gown  mock up – and Julia was fine tuning her latest corset pattern…


girls just wanna have fun!

The day flew by, trying on different corset toiles, stitching the frock, chatting etc. at the end of the day the basic frock was ready – just sleeves, lace and the closure was needed!


  Julia made a lot of progress on her toiles too 🙂


 At that point it was time to go home, eat something, have a cuppa or a drink and sit on a sofa chatting and doing some hand stitching – attaching all that lace onto the frock!


Next day was just finishing our project – and getting a bit silly too- there was a tire swing in the yard, it would be a crime not to test the new dress on it…



   We just about had time for some more corset fun trying out the toiles – and I had a go at that too!


Fit perfected:-)

and then it was time for me to zoom off home – driving through some superb English countryside, in lovely November weather.


Stunning autumnal colours!

  At home,  I finished the interior seams of the frock,  borrowed some suitable jewels, and we were ready to rock – all sorted for the filming.

We arrived at Aston Hall in plenty of time to change from our casuals into  the finery –  there were 6 of us, 4 in Regency gear and our musicians in somewhat earlier attire.

 As the film crew was busy setting the lights, checking sound etc, we sneaked out for a little shoot outside – the results below…


with Ian from BKH


sneaking around…. hoping to catch Darcy emerging from the lake no doubt..


no such luck – he was fully dressed….


still, we did have some fun!


the team: Ian, Tee, me, Kindra and Gini


Ian trying to’do’ a Mr. Collins. Scary…

 Then it was time to do the job – we danced ( the Duke of Kent waltz will never be the same without a cameraman sitting on the floor trying to film upwards, between the couples…), we played games, we talked, we sang, we listened to the music – all the things that a Regency family would be doing during the festive season – and all of that was filmed.

 We had a short break for a slice of pizza ( alas the local pizzeria was pretty awful – it was difficult to eat more than 1 slice…), and after finalizing the filming, drove back home…


pizza delivery… Regency style.

 The result, nicely edited, can be viewed here:

  Altogether, a very pleasant experience, and I now have one more frock in my wardrobe – so a double win!:-)


Candlelight Nights in Aston Hall


 Aston Hall hosts  Candlelit tours for 6 nights in November – and this year  Prior Attire was there for a ride!  The working team was put together by the industrious Black Knight Historical, and each evening we were there, from 6 to 9 ( or later), performing our roles – people from the household,  circa 1640, preparing for Christmas. each of us had a station, props, agreed talks etc, and we entertained the visitors – chatting about the life during the English Civil War,  Christmas customs, food, clothes etc.


Lucas sporting his new kit made especially for the occasion

 I was sat with Gini, in the gallery, working diligently on my bobbin lace, whereas Gini was sewing away, trying to see something in the candlelight – fortunately  our loupes de dentellieres ( water lens)  were a great help – and they did attract a lot of attention too!


 A bit further on, Lucas was in his element, as a physician – a bit of naturalist, early scientist and some astronomy thrown together, the talk was all about horoscopes, symptoms, humours, cures, bloodletting and urine sampling – great fun:-)


what ails you, madam? let me know your date and time of birth and i shall soon come up with the best cure!

Other characters included kitchen staff, servants, soldiers, musicians,nobles, scribes etc – and  Lucas managed to run around and take a few shots before the public came in one day… enjoy!


young recruit…


musicians, in Elizabethan gear, cannot keep up with the fashions:-)


Gini and Andy, as house servants – Gini as a sempstress and Andy getting the greenery ready for decoration the house, here caught just before leaving for their posts


no one was idle…


looking pensive…


Julia and Molly – and Molly was a firm favourite with the public!


Ian keeping an eye on everything:-)



The 6 nights were  full of work, talk and enjoyment – for both us and the public:-) the Hall was superb and attracted huge crowds – there were a few good thousands people going through the building over the duration of the event!

Many thanks to Black Knight Historical for providing us with the opportunity to work there for 6 magical evenings!