Monday, June 27, 2011

Under the Redcoat 2011

This was the third year I attended (I avoided the heat last year), and was the best year yet.  There seemed to be a very fleshed out camp and swarms of guests with cameras (we stopped counting pictures taken after the first 15 minutes of attendance).  Gwendolyn and I arrived on Saturday morning and promenaded about the town.  In the afternoon we were fortunate enough to join an amazing team in serving the Officers Dinner.  The tradition of this is that the Ensign would set up a large meal to impress superiors.  The Ensign in real life is a food historian.  I can not begin to explain the enormity of this meal.  We served about 40 separate dishes to twelve officers.  Some had been baked ahead of time (the apple cake needs to sit in the cold for a while in order to be edible!), but a great deal of the dishes were cooked over the open fire outside that day.  I'm still in awe of the cooking team.  There was even ice cream!  I, of course, didn't get any pictures of that, but I know many other people did (and I think a CW guy was taking video of it as well).  It'll turn up somewhere and I'll share it then.  We also attending the evening behind Chownings Tavern, came back Sunday afternoon to watch the troops march out, and attended a harpsichord concert with some other beautiful costumers that evening (we were under dressed!).

I made two outfits for the weekend, day and evening.  I didn't start my evening jacket until late Saturday night to be honest, it was a last minute decision.  Fortunately there was a pause in shoe making on Sunday and Monday, so I was able to do all but trim and insert the sleeves then.

My day ensemble was a Polonaise jacket in cotton dimity (from B&T).  The trim was inspired by the portrait of the Duchess of Gordon.  It's all hand-rolled.  Pleated on the petticoat and sleeves, but gathered around the bodice.  There are silk gauze ruffles around the neck and sleeves as well.

There was also inspiration taken from this image which has a very nice length and balance.  The ribbon is wide silk satin which I dyed to go with my parasol.  You can also see my pretty yellow shoes poking out!

I think the back is my favorite part though.  It just fits so well and curves over the small bum roll perfectly.  I did my hair with rag curls, using a rat on top and three small hair pieces in back.  I was asked once if hedgehog type styles were use to cover up hair loss.  After the weekend, I'm more sure they caused it!

 My evening ensemble was of a caraco jacket and petticoat based on this extant.  I made the jacket from about 1 1/2 yards of 54" wide silk, so there was definitely not going to be a matching petticoat.  I didn't have any pieces larger than 2x2 left over!  It's a silk taffeta stripe, very light weight.  The trim is folded under at the edge and gathered.  The inside edge is tacked down with small pleats.

I tried to match the stripes to the originally as closely as I could manage.  There are three seams in the back, however I cut the bodice as only two pieces.  I would have made it one, but I needed 64" of width for the skirt.  There is also a pleat that runs from the top of the shoulder down to the waist in front, partially stitched down.

I'll be going more in-depth on the ensembles later and hopefully I'll stumble across some images of the camp area I can link you to.  Oh, and my shoes did wonderfully!  They still look great, the dust and dirt doesn't show on the fabric at all.  My feet are tired, but that's because I walked about for two days!  I will admit to adding a small insert for the ball of my foot on Sunday to help with fatigue.


Angela said...

Oh how lovely you all look. You look cool as a cucumber, too. I will assume you were in C Wmsburg and the heat is on but you all look great.

Lauren said...

Beautiful!! Everything about both of your ensems, so perfect :-) I admire you so much!

Annabelle said...

Your caraco is just divine...I have some fabric with a similar pattern and now I know what to do with it. You are totally my historical clothing hero!

Gloria said...

Both outfits are gorgeous. It was a pleasure to meet you at the concert. I didn't get a chance to say this then, but while sitting behind your jacket, I really loved the job you did with the stripes on the back.

Andrew Schroeder said...

Didn't Leonard create the hedgehog style when Marie Antoinette's hair started falling out after the birth of her daughter?

Fab costumes by the way, you always look so perfectly period!

ColeV said...

Gloria: It was great to meet you too! I wished we had all been up front (no modern obstructions and the audience would have all gotten to look at our pretty pleats and stripes!).

Andrew: I don't think that's ever truly been confirmed true or false. But. MA's first child was born in 1778. I've seen the hedgehog as early as 1777. So, I have some serious doubts about it. That, and she would have always worn wigs anyway!
And thank you!

Abby said...

Sorry to butt in on the hedgehog discussion, but Nicole, I have to disagree with you on your interpretation of the satire you listed. I don’t think that the print is representative of the hedgehog hairstyle that became popular in the 80s and 90s. I believe the term hedgehog is used to represent the woman using animalistic qualities. The sleeves of her gown, the spikey collar, and the overall squat roundness of her spikey-ish gown give the impression of the hedgehog. Though her hair is frizzy, it is still in the high style that was popular in the mid-70s, note the curls at her neck and how it is not round in shape. And, if you do more looking through the Walpole library, you can see that the same artist did a caricature a year later of who seems to be of the exact same woman (short and fat, similar dress and collar, and same frizzy high hair) entitled “Miss Gruff”. It seems that it is likely that the woman he is mocking actually had extremely frizzy/curly hair and uses that as a denoting factor in his caricature. Finally, there is another print he did that is entitled Miss Juniper Fox (1778) which again is mocking a woman (or her hair) with animalistic characteristics that are also included in the title. Which can denote a theme of using animalistic characteristics to describe or mock women. Now, it could be that there is some truth in that her hairstyle is starting to go towards a ‘hedgehog’ style, but to use that print as a determining factor, alone, to say there were hedgehogs hairstyles in the mid-70s is, I feel, presumptive.

And Andrew, there is actually some really great research being done by Dr. Ann Bissonnette as to the origins of many 18th century hairstyles, one of them being the hedgehog and how it probably has Afro/French Colonial/slave/Haitian roots. She gave a presentation a couple months ago and it was wonderful!

ColeV said...

Sorry, Abby, it was actually meant as a bit of a joke. I remembered Dr. Bissonnettes talk on that, I just didn't have sources for it at the moment. I guess I should have noted that better.

Unknown said...

You look soooo beautiful in this white polonaise dress!!!! It's really stunning, how did you make the front closure?It's the same as the green robe a la polonaise you made before?