18th century clothes, authenticity, Boston, common dress, Costume, fashion, Paul Sandby, sewing, Thomas Marshall's Boston Militia, weekend
Most of what I’ve made I’ve hated. It hasn’t been perfect enough. This is pretty much how it works when you are learning something new: your eyes outrun your abilities, and you have to keep working away to build the skills to match your dreams. I’m still building skills, but I have at least managed to get to a place where I can just about trust my ability to make something I can stand to wear.
I’ve also learned that you are likely, in the process of making a gown or what-have-you, to hate the garment in question. My friend hated her Green Gown of Doom, but when it was done and on she liked it. Midway through the Cherry Seller Robe, I hated it, thought it a failure, and wanted to quit.
Persevere: the moment when you are most frustrated is often the moment right before you figure out the thing you have been trying to learn.
The story behind the Cherry Seller Robe is that I plan to wear it in Boston on August 10, so it is very old fashioned. Based on Paul Sandby’s Black Heart Cherries watercolor, it is open with robings, and made of Burnley & Trowbridge’s wool-cotton “Virginia cloth.” The gown fits in a “v” on the front, and to my eye, has a 1750s look. (I have not finished the cuffs, attached lacing strips, or finished the stomacher; once lacing and stomacher are done, it will fit more like How Now Brown Gown.)
For August, I’ll make a white linen petticoat and a tan “Virginia cloth” petticoat, a blue linen apron and, I hope, a new lappet cap. (I had one cut out around here somewhere…) The yellow and blue or yellow-blue-white striped petticoat may have to wait; I have a lead on some in a stash, but no sightings yet. Making new, lighter-weight petticoats is in anticipation of August weather in downtown Boston. I’m still debating about the kerchief, which seems to be a solid color with a striped border; I may just wear the one I have.
Yesterday was hot and windy, with a chance of hat failure. All in all, a fine day to sew and wear wool.
Emily's Vintage Visions said:
Your gown looks wonderful. Great color too! I’ve found it challenging too at times to learn period sewing skills. And yes, it’s very easy for your eyes to get ahead of you and to get frustrated! But when that happens I take a deep breath and step back from a project for a bit. When I come back to it things become a little easier. I’ve found that taking the extra time to do something right is well worth the reward! (This from the girl who was crazy enough to hand sew her 1770s stays start to finish. 🙂 )
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Sam B said:
Rather late, but the kerchief in the picture looks, to me, like blue-on-white checks.
And lucky me, all these years on, i have one of those.
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