Photos by a real photographer won’t be available for another two weeks (patience, Iago, patience) but Mr S and I had a lovely time, high-heeled shoes excepted. The gowns were dramatic, the gentlemen dandy, and the dancing elegant, if bumpy at the start. There are some videos here, both of the assembled company dancing, and of the lovely minuet demonstration.
I managed a phone photo just before I crashed into bed, and am generally satisfied with how the dressed-up laundress appeared. Clearly my laundry business is doing very, very well, or I have liberated some earrings from a client. One of the most challenging things about this event (aside from my over-thinking freak outs) was not having a persona to hold onto. We started reenacting as lower-class 18th century types, and spent some time as tenant farmers and maids. Mr S and I do not have clothes for the gentry, but can inch into the middling sorts when we want to.
That’s fine, and it’s comfortable– we’ve not yet really reached all the way down the lower sorts, either–but it does mean that when we’re presented with the opportunity to dress above our station, the need to really understand the new station kicks in, and delays the process.
I’ll finish that silk sacque someday, and sooner rather than later, but I’m glad I held off so I can really get the gown right, as well as the shoes, hair style, and other accessories.
We are going to a ball tonight, and while I am looking forward to seeing Sew 18th Century and the lovely Mr and Mrs B among other friends, this is a different kind of experience for Mr S and me. We are, after all, more accustomed to crashing parties than attending them. (There are photos of the Riot Act Night here.)
The biggest difference is in presentation. I ended up making a changeable blue silk petticoat to dress up a cotton print gown, to which I’ve added sleeve ruffles made by the incomparable Cassidy. While I once had plans–dreams–of finishing and wearing the silk sacque in time for this, I was overtaken by events and have settled for an ensemble more suited to my persona, and Mr S’s planned outfit, the Saratoga coat and breeches. I feel just OK with center front closing cotton print for late 1777, and have seen enough cotton print gown and silk petticoats at Williamsburg to brazen it out.
This is a marked upgrade from linen petticoats that smell like woodsmoke (sigh!) and print neckerchiefs that you shouldn’t smell.
Perhaps the biggest change, though, is to my hair. (Yes, the pun is finally paying off, like a loaded gun in the first act.)
I started this day with wet hair, curlers, setting lotion and bobby pins, swearing like a sailor and convinced/hoping the world might end right in our bathroom. Last night I watched Jenny La Fleur‘s 18th century pouf tutorial, and thought I had the basics down.
Wrong. Or half-wrong. I should have gone looking for a don’t-lose-your-mind video, plus one on how to make pin curls in exacting detail. True to my ability to over-think anything, I began to wonder which way I should spin the pin curls– clock wise? Counter-clock wise? Is it opposite if you’re in Australia and New Zealand? My brain is a cluttered place.
In under an hour I had achieved a lop-sided mound of curlers and curls, which I thoughtfully covered with a kerchief to spare my family from death by Medusa. They refused to take me to Walmart, though I finally had the hair for it. Eventually, I pulled out half the bobby pins in the known universe, and had a head full of snakes. Silver snakes. Apparently there’s more grey in my hair than I realized.
Another half-hour of pins and hairspray later, I had a slightly more upscale version of my usual hair style, accented with a shiny green ribbon. Underneath that demure cap, my hair is doing terrible, feral things. Of all the things I learned today, I know with certainty that despite my small head, the next time I’m gonna need bigger rollers, and when I get home from the ball, I must wash my hair.