Georgian Adventures in Stamford 2015

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There is a Georgian Festival in Stamford every other year – and this year we were contracted for a couple of jobs there ( thanks to Black Knight Historical).

The festivities lasted 3 full days with lots of lectures, meetings, Georgian market  and  living history – but our adventure started on Friday night –  at the Georgian ball!

We arrived in plenty of time , and were led to a proper  theatre style dressing room – and it turned out we were sharing it with Dr. Lucy Worsley, who dropped in for a moment of respite between her  talks, book signing and other public duties. We have met before as worked for the Worsley/Starkey documentary in Hampton court the year before, so it wasn’t too awkward. Still,  not often do we get to share a dressing room with a celebrity – and I felt a bit overdressed on the occasion 🙂

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although, as you can see, we clearly had the same colour scheme  in mind 🙂

At the ball we danced, we chatted – and then provided some entertaining background during the buffet break as the folks were queuing for  some lovely food –  there was chatting, playing cards and some sketching  taking place….

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After the break ( and after eating rather a lot of left over cake) there was more dancing and frivolities – until it was time to drive back home….

Saturday was a day off,  and Sunday we were taking part in the fashion show, so with a day off in between, I decided to make myself a new outfit – just  because I have always wanted a jacket, and because i had the fabric for ages!

I made the skirt in a lovely quilted cotton, with a fringe, and   then worked the rest of the day on a 1790 pierrot jacket.

I quickly drafted the pattern and then fitted it – mock up first and then playing with the real thing, in silk and linen

IMG_2462Sunday morning saw the jacket finished – but i had a few hours left before we had to make a move. so time to make a new hat! a gigantic one! Not the best of my creations, admittedly, but it  did the job.

 

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Then it was packing the gear and setting off.

The fashion show went down a treat – there was a huge variety of costumes, from different decades and different walks of life, and the commentary was super as well…  a few behind the scenes shots..

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men looking splendid….

 

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I was modelling a 1790 redingote, and Eleanor was wearing her lovely francaise ( more on making it and more pictures  in the Georgian Ball post.

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Amy fro the Period Costume Shop in a stunning polonaise  ( love the fabric!), me in the redingote and Kelly in her anglaise!

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some unspeakable and unmentionable things happened too….

 After the show, I could change into my new bits and have a stroll around Stamford – and take a few pictures

But I was not exactly happy – I felt the wig did not work very well with the colours of the walking outfit. So when we got back home, I changed  wigs and we went on to snatch some autumnal pictures at the local Nature Reserve…. much  happier with these!

 

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we even had a go at some heavy machinery….

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all together, a cracking weekend  was had!

credits:

photography –  Lucas from Timelight Photographic

costuming – Prior Attire ( the  walking outfit is now available for sale – here)

shoes – American Duchess, naturellment!

Yellow frock shoot – 18th century bridal style!

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Well, if your hubby is an eager photography enthusiast, I suppose one has to suffer for it… So when Lucas  was in need of a model to practice new lighting/exposure/new gadget/ ( insert a suitable photography magic jargon word here) and take photos of the spring fields, what can I girl do? I rummaged through my frocks and the bridal samples to see what would fit me and look good with the back=ground we had in mind, and finally settled on  a frock from our Summer Bridal collection – Jeanette. It is an 18th century inspired dress in lovely silk taffeta –  the look, and styling is based on the 18th century aesthetics, the finish, construction and the cut is modern.

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  In the Summer Bride photoshoot it was worn over a big hoop and net petticoat  suitable to the bridal theme, but for the field version we decided to make it more historical than bridal.   And so, proper stays, pocket hoops, stockings and shoes are worn underneath to render the silhouette a bit closer to the historical ideal. Minimal make up, a re-styled straw hat on braided hair and a basket with freshly cut lilac ( my favourite flowers!) completed the look.  a nearby field was picked and Lucas set to playing with the light…

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speedlight in a fancy poke bonnet 🙂

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dramatic skies in the background…

I spent most of that time first in the car, then standing in the field, huddled in a jumper and wellies…

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and taking bad selfies to pass the time….

 

Once everything was ready, tested, set, re-set etc, i could ditch my jumper and wellies and start doing my job – try to look pretty and graceful while trying to avoid standing on dog turds, puddles, mud etc. The results – below – enjoy!

 

Credits:

Photography: Pitcheresque Imagery

Dress: Prior Engagement

Shoes and stockings – American Duchess

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my lovely shoes and stockings – tried to keep them s mud free as I could!

 

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Robe a la Polonaise en Fourreau

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Well, we have done the Francaise and l’anglaise style, time for a little polonaise… The idea for this one sprouted as soon as I saw the fabric at the market – a lovely silk brocade in ivory, yellow and green, in a fitting 18th century pattern.  the fabric was bought and put aside for the project. The project itself was kick-started by an offer to participate in a bridal photo shoot organized by Lavinia from Events in a Box. The venue, Harrowen Hall,  was an 18th century mansion, so apart from the modern dresses, they wanted something ‘more period’ . A perfect occasion to showcase the 18th century collection – and the polonaise was scheduled.

 There was a complication ( there always is something, isn’t there?). The shoot was to be on the 18th April ( my birthday!)  and on the 13th I was having a surgery on my shoulder….   the other gowns were to be worn by models provided, but this one had to be modeled by me.  still possible, if I sewed most of it before the op, and finished the neckline after the op – I needed to make the bodice a bit bigger than usually, to accommodate the dressing – I gathered a size bigger would be ok, I would simply lace my stays loosely.

  The making of the frock was surprisingly easy – and pleasant.  The pleated back looks complicated, but it was rather straightforward pleats, and stitching them down was relaxing. I used the pattern from Janet Arnold and bodice pattern from the l’anglaise.

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pleats pinned down

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back lining piece determines the final shape of the top fabric

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back cut out

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securing the pleats with stitching

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half way through!

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pleats done!

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inside the bodice part

 Once the pleats were done, it was time to get the front of the  sleeves and the front part of the bodice sorted.

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sewing the parts together – seam pinked

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Next – the skirts were pieced and hemmed. Here showing the pocket slit

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pleating the skirt at the waist…

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pleated skirt attached to the bodice

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back of the dress

 Finishing the bodice was next. the silk parts were hemmed and mounted onto the linen lining.

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bodice front hemmed

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pinned onto the lining…

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and stitched together

sSeeves were next on the agenda

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pinning the sleeve

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finishing the lining inside the bodice

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the innards

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sleeve cuffs were decorated with self trim and linen lace

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hooks and eyes in place…

  And that was more or less it –  the skirt were polonaised using inside tapes, as indicated on the pattern – and most importantly, the dress, though as planned just  tad too big for me, worked perfectly with my shoulder dressing:-)  fortunately the big dressing ( pictured below) was removed the day before the shoot…. no way I would be able to fit anything over that! well, maybe a Robocop costume… 🙂

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the big dressing after the op…

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all put together 🙂

Petticoat was made as well – in ivory taffeta, with a flounce. For skirt supports I used a big bumroll/ false hips, and the gown is of course worn over the stays.

Alas, the models provided for the other dresses were about 2-3 sizes too small so it was a challenge to get the frocks looking good,but  the photographers  worked wonders and we did get a few great pictures – please excuse the modern bridal headgear –  showcasing work of another company too! 🙂

Photography, Shears and Mockford – and indeed that was our first shoot together – little did we know we would end up working regularly on a variety of projects!

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Robe a l’anglaise in dusty pink silk

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  This was my first proper l’anglaise and a bit of experiment ( which project isn’t?).  It was originally intended as a show piece for the bridal branch of the business, Prior Engagement, and serve as an example of an 18th century frock for a historically minded bride….

 The styling was loosely based on one of the gowns from the Kyoto  Costume Institute , particularly this one. the petticoat and the robe were made form the same fabric and since i had quite a lot of dusty rose silk, the idea of making everything in it suited me to a T.

  The stays were first –  half boned, with coutil/canvas strength layer, boned with reeds, bound in silk.

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getting started….

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all pieces ready….

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all pieces whipped together, ready for binding

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tedious binding process…..

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done!

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was so excited i popped them straight over my top… love the silhouette! worn on a random shift below…Image

The petticoat was next in line… – an easy rectangular shape, and nice and easy pleating did the job

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front pleated

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insides – the extra fabric is folded down and pleated, i secured the edges with piking later.

Then only a waistband and it was ready!

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waistband pinned in

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just needs pressing….

Then it was time for the robe itself…. Mock up first. I used a pattern based on the Janet Arnold polonaise ( used for my very very first polonaise years ago!)

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My very first 18th century gown, all handstitched.

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experimenting with the mock up

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lining is made first and seams boned

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for boning I used think but strong reed

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then silk was mounted over the lining

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Piece by piece, handstitched.  Sleeves were next…Image

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lining the sleeve

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setting in the top part of the sleeve

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and the shoulder strap is covered with silk, hiding the sleeve attachment

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the neck and sleeves were decorated with Valencia lace and silk ribbon.

 Once the bodice part of the gown was done, it was time to start pleating the skirts….

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pleats pinned

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and sewn in:-)

 and it was ready!

It was first worn for the wedding photoshoot at Harrowden Hall – alas on a model that was 3 sizes too small 😦

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at the Bridal shoot photo by Mockford Photography

 Also, I wasn’t convinced about the petticoat in the same colour – looked a bit boring.  However, it looked much better with ivory taffeta petticoat ( part of another outfit….). a bright shawl, worn on beter support, with a wig and a hat, it looked much better! -Here worn at a Georgian picnic at Grassenholm Farm, photography by Pitcheresque Imagery

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and with another hat….

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  As you can see this bridal project turned out to be a re-enactment item in the end – and love it too much to sell on….  a couple of things i would change, and probably will as still have bits and pieces of that silk – the sleeves are just a tad too tight, so will need to amend that inconvenience!

 Altogether I must say that I love the simple style much better than the ornate grandeur of the robe a la francaise – simple lines, minimum decoration somehow work well for me:-)