May 31, 2017

Summer Sun - 1800s Half-Robe Photoshoot

"Great is the sun, and wide he goes 
Through empty heaven with repose; 
And in the blue and glowing days 
More thick than rain he showers his rays."
- "Summer Sun" by Robert Louis Stevenson

A whole month without a blog post?  Oh no, let's fix that tonight with a photo shoot!  Way back in April, Maria and I collaborated to document my recently completed half-robe and caramel petticoat - Starbucks frappuccinos for photos, each of us believing that we got the better end of the deal ;)  

Worn over a proper shift, corset, strapped petticoat and stockings, the half-robe, featuring a crossover front and pleated details, and linen petticoat made for fashionable, yet comfortable combination.  In fact, I greatly enjoyed the range of motion provided (i.e. being able to raise my arms above my head as anyone who wears mid-19th century clothing with those dropped armscyes will understand!)  To finish the look, I accessorized with my dotted chemisette, cap (see the post Pretty in Pink) and long, paisley shawl.

The Stone-Tolan House

There's a little story behind our location this time.  In trying to find a suitable, early-1800s backdrop for pictures, we immediately thought of the Stone-Tolan House, which is just up the road from us on East Ave.  Nestled between state highways and the surrounding 21st century neighborhood, the Stone-Tolan House offers a brief respite from modern times and a glimpse into the past private lives and public business dealings of the Stone family.  Still standing in it's original location, the frontier home and tavern has been restored to look as it might have between 1790 and 1820 - the perfect period for our photo shoot.

(Photograph via: Landmark Society of Western NY)
"The Stone-Tolan House Historic Site is the oldest building in [Monroe] county. For over 200 years, it’s been many things to many people. To Orringh and Elizabeth Stone it was home and work; a farm and tavern. To neighbors, it was a place to gather for a drink in the tavern room, and plan the government for their new town of Brighton. To the traveler, it was shelter from the wilderness of early 19th century New York." - Excerpt from the Stone-Tolan Historic Site webpage, published by the Landmark Society of Western New York

To obtain permission to photograph, we contacted the Landmark Society and ended up speaking with Cindy Boyer, the director of public programs.  In fact, I had just met her a few nights previously at the Genesee Country Village.  It was a small world moment!  Ms. Boyer made the arrangements, and we ended up photographing that very weekend in the three main exhibit rooms - the parlor-bedroom, tavern room and c.1792 kitchen.  Many, many thanks to Cindy Boyer and Judy Trabert, the lovely and very knowledgeable docent we met at the Stone-Tolan House!  For more information and to plan your trip to this local treasure, please see the Landmark Society Website!  

Completed Project Shots

First and foremost, thank you to Maria, my sister and photographer, for all of her time and talents!  Without her, none of these photo shoots would be possible, and for that, among many other reasons, I am grateful to have her in my life.  Here's to you, sis!
*All photographs courtesy of Maria M.*

Though closer still the blinds we pull
To keep the shady parlour cool,
Yet he will find a chink or two
To slip his golden fingers through.

The dusty attic spider-clad
He, through the keyhole, maketh glad;
And through the broken edge of tiles
Into the laddered hay-loft smiles.

Meantime his golden face around
He bares to all the garden ground,
And sheds a warm and glittering look
Among the ivy's inmost nook.

Above the hills, along the blue,
Round the bright air with footing true,
To please the child, to paint the rose,
The gardener of the World, he goes.

(Oops, next time we are pinning that cap
as it was quite askew in several of the pictures!)

Poem is "Summer Sun" by Robert Louis Stevenson.  More on the construction of the half-robe and petticoat project to follow...but first, two bonus shots with my TWIN that just happen to show off those golden linen petticoats too!  

(Photograph courtesy of Lydia J.)

Twinning it up with my partner-in-crime!


  1. You look so perfect, ready for a comfortable day at home :)

    1. Thank you! When a "costume" feels more like clothing, I know it's just right! :)

  2. I can't wait to read about the construction process! Going to have to make my own :) The way you incorporate literature in your blog posts is lovely. I always appreciate reading a poem and finding an artistic connection with the sewing and photography. You always seem to think of appropriate poems or quotes, and it makes reading your blog not just informative, but a delightful, aesthetic experience.

    1. Well golly, thank you! That's probably one of the nicest comments I've ever received! I am so pleased that you feel the quotes and poems add to the posts as I have so much fun picking them out!