18th century clothes, 18th century clothing, 19th century clothing, dress, fashion, Federal style, interpretation, Research, Rhode Island Historical Society
Remember Mrs Pabodie? She appeared a week ago today in Providence after an intense sewing effort left your author with numb fingers. The process was as straightforward as these things ever are, manipulating fabrics to do your bidding once you think you have the right materials.
It took more rounds of white muslins from Burnley and Trowbridge than I care to count, and a variety of book muslins from Wm Booth Draper, just for the chemisette and cap. The laces came from Farmhouse Fabrics in the most expensive small package I’ve yet ordered that did not contain antique jewelry.
The gown is a wool and silk blend remnant from Wm Booth Draper, just enough to make a gown (even at my height) though I admit the front hem will need some piecing or a ruffle to give it the proper length. Still, the thing more or less works, though as I compare the details to the original painting, I admit we’re still in beta.
I was joined by three friends from different eras (because you know me: if it’s not didactic, we’re not doing it): a sailor who on the run from a Newport press gang in 1765; Reverend Enos Hitchcock of the Beneficient Congregational Church in 1785; and Sissieretta Jones, soprano of Providence, around 1880. Each of the characters described their lives and their clothing, and I will admit that the Annual Meeting audience may not have been fully prepared for some of what they heard– I’m not certain they had ever considered how apt “balancing a sheep on my head” might be in describing Reverend Hitchcock’s wig.
In the end, they were entertained, and may even have learned something, as we celebrated 2016’s interpretive theme, Fashioning Rhode Island.
Nancy N said:
Wow! You look fantastic! I have never attempted to replicate a museum quality gown exactly, so I can only imagine the pitfalls you must have dodged. I’m in the middle of trying to make too little fabric go too far, in making a renaissance shirt, so I can feel the too short gown problem. Brava!