1815 Redingote a la Hussarde

Regency Ball-1-2


For our  Regency stay in Bath I needed something for daywear. I had the evening attire, but apart from my riding habit, I didn’t have anything suitable. I had limited financial resources, but was able to put aside a few days for stitching – so the idea was to invest more in time rather than in the materials per se.  For Regency that simply meant using cotton:-) A quick browse though the costume books and boards, and I set my heart on that lovely redingote from the Kyoto Institute of Fashion, all in white cotton, with pom poms and insane amounts of piping.  Cotton fabric is cheap, so most of the expense would be the pompoms and the accessories – and so a decision has been made.



6m of plain cotton ( for top layer and lining) ( approximately £45)

66 pompoms ( all handmade in cotton by Gina B) ( £120)

piping materials – cord and bias cotton tape – 36 metres ( !!!) ( £20)

10 pairs of hooks and eyes ( £2.00)

cotton lace ( broderie anglaise) – £12

calico for patterning


Time – about  20 hours

I experimented with the patterning first, to create the collar and upper bodice pieces. I used first the dummy and once I had the basics in place, I put it on myself, wearing stays ( modern dummies have  their busts in a very different position!)

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The skirts and sleeves were easy, didn’t have to do mock ups from them but used my blocks – so far so good!

The tricky part was the piped elements – I have never done piping before, and although it is strange to embark on a heavily piped garment without prior experience, I do Like a challenge. So I read some instructions  ( very good introduction on Historical Sewing!)practiced  on a bit of spare cotton,  and then whizzed all 36 metres of it.


that’s the first batch…

Then it was time to apply it onto the  tabs…


tabs on the front panel of the skirts

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took a few hours, that did, very boring hours… first the sirs, then the bodice, oversleeves and  and cuffs…

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It was at that point that I noticed that the slits on the hem, oversleeves and collar are well, let us say, distinctively feminine looking, and from that point on the redingote got a working name – The Pussy Frock….:-)

Next stage was to mount  the piped elements onto the proper pieces… this stage had to be done all by hand, and it took forever. to sweeten the labour, a suitable viewing was required…. 🙂



2 episodes later, one side is done…


the oversleeves


the cuff


bodice piping mounted


The pussies on the hem….


Once all the piping was sorted and on, the redingote was assembled, lined, hooks and eyes added, belt added – and then the pompoms were sewn on:-)



all ready!

Regency Ball-3-2

Regency Ball-4-2

Regency Ball-45

Regency Ball-38


and then it struck me – I might actually need  a walking dress  to go on top of my petticoat….. we planned to do some  dance practice and redingote, lovely as it is, may not be the best choice to prance around the dancefloor…

a 4 metres of self striped cotton and 5 hours later I had a simple day dress sorted…

Regency Ball-53

Regency Ball-48


The proper hat was almost ready for Bath – almost, I had trouble with the cockerel feathers mounting so in the end I decided go go for a different bonnet – straw base decorated with ribbon s and flowers. I finished it later on – but still not happy with it, I am not re-thinking the feathers mount options….

still, for the time being we got this:-)

Redingote 2k-55 Redingote 2k-56 Redingote 2k-58 Redingote 2k-60

Redingote 2k-1

   As for the layers – I am wearing a linen chemise, a long line corset,  a petticoat,  a day dress, stockings, shoes, hats etc…. quite a lot.

  The whole outfit is surprisingly comfortable and the piping makes it quite heavy too.  the best things is, when it gets dirty, you just wash it  with no special care – after all, it is all cotton!

 What I need now is a spencer, I think…. and a woolen pelisse for colder days.. .and another ball gown….. 🙂


 clothes – Prior Attire;

 boots – unbelievably comfy ones from American Duchess – when they arrived I suspected the heel will chafe – but after 3 hours of walking and 2 hours of dancing, my feet were snug and comfy – so a great buy!

 umbrella – Sherri Light; I supplied the silk, Sherri covered an antique frame and added antique silk fringe. Love it!

 stockings, ribbons and  straw hat base – Dressing History

 pompoms – Gina B Silkworks

 photography –Pitcheresque Imagery


Peterborough Heritage Festival 22-23 June 2013


strolling in the woods…John Grant Photography

 The weekend of 22-23 June saw us working for Black Knight Historical at the Peterborough heritage festival. it wasnt the first time i have worked there, and the festival, organized by Vivacity, is always a great place to be – lots of interesting displays, demonstrations, market stalls,living history – and off course the Cathedral speaks for itself!

 This year was no exception and for the 2 days the place was bustling with various historical ( and not only) activity.  I , for a change, was not in my customary role there, as Katherine of Aragon – it was Sir Percy Blakely and Margaret Blakely this time and we were spinning the tales of the famous Scarlet Pimpernel – but also discusing the fashions, social and political situation of the era, and above all – the revolution!


there goes the last ship to England, Marguerrite! John Moore Photography

 But let the pictures speak for themselves – we were lucky enough to meet up and work with two tallented photographers: John Moore and John Grant. plus, Lucas ( aka Scarlet Pimpernel) went undercover at one point and snapped a few shots as well. Enjoy!


some serious shaving going on – Neil Storey in his element of a regency era barber and surgeon.. John Moore Photography


i was also making silhuettes – a popular pastime in the era; here Captain admiring the one i made of him:-)



boys having fun… John Moore Photography




kids area sported a ferrets’ obstacle course!


boys from the Sealed Knot discussing battle tactics.


John and Suzanne from Quartermasterie preparing for a good day’s trading


Bernie the Bolt’s stall busy as ever – manned, or rather womanned by his lovely daughter, Leanne


no slacking in the Roman camp… hard work all day…


a bit more at ease – the WWII encampment


Mr. Churchill inspecting the medical facilities…



and a rather good photo of me! – by John Moore Photography

  We actually participated in 2 proper photoshoots, posing for the professionals -one for  John Moore, with  few pictures above, and below just a few snaps from  a great session with John Grant. it was not the first time we worked together, and he captured Katherine of Aragon a few times on film, and to a great effect – and working with him was a pleasure. more pictures here, and the  extensive galleries can be gfound on the photographers’ websites too: John Grant, John More




not so moody here, was actually caught laughing!



great full lenght portrait of Lucas


and of me

 and a few shots of what the Pimpernel is up to when not busy rescuing French aristos..


He enjoys rock music…


and checking out Facebook… 🙂

and me, enjoying a few minutes, being headless…:-)


Seeking the Pimpernel


Last autumn we were asked to participate in an 18th century event at Ayscoughfee Hall Museum. it was a fairly generic do, the first of many more to come hopefully, as the place is steeped in history and boasts not only lovely interiors but also rather spectacular gadens. I agreed to provide a few dresses for the display, and, accompanied by my hubby,  to interract with the public.

 The dresses to go on display were  3 items from 1770-85: a robe anglaise, a polonaise and a riding habit. I had a nice francaise too, but it got sold and now lives with a lovely lady in Paris!


The robe francaise – here at a wedding photoshoot, so excuse the modern hairdo!

 The other frocks:


Polonaise en fourreau in silk brocade, petticoat in silk taffeta


robe anglaise worn at one of the markets


riding habit, here at Audley End House

All that meant that I needed something new to wear…

 And since Lucas agreed to entertain the visitors with tales of his daring deeds  as Scarlet Pimpernel, I became Lady Margueritte Blackney – and the lady needed a travelling outfit suitable for autumnal temperatures and comfortable to wear.

 It was an easy choice –  I have always loved the simple elegance of the redingotes and the one in LACMA has been on my to do list for ages.


the original…

And since it just happened that a suitable fabric was living in my closet for a while, I set to it – I had 2 days to make the redingote and the muslin petticoat, and two days to get my Scarlet Pimpernel a waistcoat and a coat suitable for his role.


set and ready to go!

On the day,  it was rather brisk – so the travelling outfits were a blessing – even though we were inside.  The rest of the team was getting ready; we were joined by lovely Julia Gant and her team from the  4and20blackbirds and  Eleanor from  The Guild of Historical Interpreters.


the team!

  The event was lovely – not crowded, but with lots of interesting people popping by for a chat – and it was a real pleasure to  discuss history,its military,  social and costuming issues. The contrast between our 1790 outfits and the earlier focks on display provided a valued starting point to a discussion to all the social changes the French Revolution brought about. so a very interesting day!


 In the meantime Eleanor was  showing the kids how to decorate fans – and I also had a go at cutting out silhuettes:-).

  Scarlet Pimpernel was not as elusive as he is supposed to be ( though he did suggest  that the best way to re-enact him would be not to turn up at all so that we  send the folks looking for him…)


Lucas having problems being elusive…

 The lunch was a rather yummy affair, beautifully presented and  tasted as well as it looked!


Altogheter, a great day’s fun, informative and entartaining! and of course, rather pleased with the way the redingote turned out 0 i did  amend the front slightly later on, but happy with the first attempt!