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Sometimes this is a hard hobby to love. My hands hurt, my creativity feels dead, and there’s no place to go all dressed up. After a long, unpleasant spring, I finally feel like sewing and playing. Drunk Tailor and I definitely missed some things we very much wanted to do, but now we’re reinspired, we could take baby steps back to our normal semi-hectic pace– except of course, we are plunging back in with three events in August after a whirlwind trip to Ticonderoga.

Wedding dress in cotton muslin ca. 1797. Nationalmuseet Danmark.

With the summer heat in mind, I ordered batiste and voile, thinking I would make the Tidens Toj gown, but when the fabric arrived, it seemed that the purveyor had confused the two fabric types, so a new plan was required. Alas, the trials of costume research and falling down the fashion magazine rabbit hole for hours at a time…

1798 Gown, watercolor by Ann Frankland Lewis, 1798. LACMA, Costume Council Fund (AC1999.154.1-.32)

Next up: an open robe or wrap-front gown over a matching petticoat, trimmed in blue-and-white Greek key trim, with a pair of pointy-toed ribbon-tied slippers and a sleeveless blue silk waistcoat, in three weeks or so.

The waistcoat construction is finished, scaled up from the original garment patterned in the DAR’s “An Agreeable Tyrant” catalog. I chose to line mine, possibly from pure habit of making men’s clothing, possibly because I’m not that great a teeny-tiny hemming and require a lining to hide my sins. With gold silk cord trim and covered buttons, I think it will have a pleasantly military vibe.

For the gown and petticoat, cotton in Virginia’s August heat seems like a solid choice, though by the time the layers are on and the sun is up, it’s possible that nothing will be really cool. (The majority of the day will be spent in air conditioning, so really, anything would be okay.) The trim arrived last night, and has a body that will need batiste (and not voile) for support. The combination causes me to entertain fears that this aesthetic is a little too boat-shoes-and-belts-with-embroidered-whales for 1797-1799, but when topped with something not unlike Drunk Tailor’s militia cap, the aesthetic will tilt from yachting to the Good Ship Lollipop.