February 25, 2018

Dear Me, Let Us Be Elegant or Die

"Meg's high-heeled slippers were very tight and hurt her, though she would not own it, 
and Jo's nineteen hairpins all seemed stuck straight into her head, 
which was not exactly comfortable, but, dear me, let us be elegant or die."
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

"Christopher Columbus. Aren't we elegant?" - Little Women (1949)
Dressed for the ball with my weekend companion.

Last weekend, I had the chance to attend the annual Ohio Regimental Military Ball with two good friends, Sarah and Calvin, and it was absolutely marvelous!  This year was especially so as it was both the 30th anniversary, and attended by over 200 people.  There were day workshops, dinner and dancing, and many dear and new friends to meet.  In this blog post, I'll be sharing the highlights of the event in hopes that you'll join us next time.  Make sure to visit their website here: Ohio Regimental Military Ball and Facebook group for more information and pictures from the weekend.  

Here was the official event flyer: 

And now, to begin the recap:  Several months ago, Sarah, my Ohio reenacting and sewing friend, mentioned this event and invited me to stay with Calvin and her.  Always eager to dress up and dance, I agreed and am so happy that I did!  

Originally, when the ball was still several weeks away, I had planned on making a new, pink dress suitable for Valentine's Day...but college and practicum responsibilities got in the way.  All I managed to finish was the bodice, but here's some in-progress shots: 

For the day, I ended up wearing the polka-dot dress and accessorizing with a new collar, hair ribbons and bow from Timely Tresses, and an antique shawl, which was a lucky thrift shop find.  

Outfit of the Day.
Showing off my new shoes, which totally coordinate!

Footwear close up.

In the lobby, there were maybe a dozen vendors set up, including Originals by Kay, Amazon Drygoods, and Barnyard Biddy among others.  I hadn't planned on anything beyond window shopping, but when I saw row after row of shoes(!) displayed so enticingly by Samantha of Amazon Drygoods...well, let's just say I couldn't pass up the opportunity.  These maroon side-lacers were the only pair of their kind, in my size too, and they matched my outfit so well.  It was meant to be!

And another picture, because I'm in love with these boots!

Speaking of new pretties, Sarah was a vision!  Dressed in a soft pink, striped dress, which she started and finished a mere night before, straw bonnet and cockade belt, her ensemble was perfection: 

While there were several, morning workshops I was interested in, I chose the most playful - Parlor Games.  We had such a fun time, and a great instructor too.  A minister's cat and blind man's buff, quick thinking and tongue twisters, and forfeits all around! 

The rest of the afternoon was spent socializing and shopping.  I met up with Jamie of BarnyardBiddy, who I had met before and was so surprised that she remembered me too.  She is so sweet, and had a lovely display.  Just look at those brilliant, hand-dyed silk yarns!  

This beauty was oh soo tempting, the picture just doesn't do it justice!

An incredible beaded miser purse!

I also made a new friend, Dana!

And finally met Janet, who had invited me to join the Pittsburgh Historical Costume Society a couple of years ago, in person: 

Michael Rhodes, photographer and case maker extraordinaire, was offering wet plate or tintypes.  Sarah sat several times: 

Then it was time to change for dinner and dancing.  Calvin, who had worked all day, joined us.  Sarah had another new gown, this time a colorful plaid silk: 

Tacking the bertha in place. 
What's period dressing without last minute stitching? ;)

Calvin and Sarah, the best dressed couple at the ball!

I wore my champagne ball gown again, and Sarah kindly styled my hair:

Obligatory hair shot!

Formal dinner and dancing commenced:  The ball room at the Mckinley Grand Hotel was certainly befitting the name "grand" with all of its elegant chandeliers.  Dinner featured lively conversation and anniversary cake.  In fact, we were seated with Annabel (I recognized her from the Civilian CW Closet!) and her husband, and a couple who have been attending the regimental balls since the very beginning.  

Dinner picture borrowed from the Facebook group.

We danced the night away!  Music was provided by the 73rd OVI Brass Band.  Favorites included the Spanish Waltz, Gay Gordon, Patticake Polka, and Haste to the Wedding...oh I love to dance :)

Everyone looked so regal in their finest!

Making more new friends (Erin, Vanessa, Holly, and more) and memories!  Hopefully I'll see them again next year or at other events in the meantime.  

Erin and Sarah.

The after-party included a discussion based on these fantastic cookies...kudos to whoever brought and frosted them:

And finally, my favorite picture from the evening.

A million thanks to everyone who worked so diligently to bring such a wonderful evening together!  Let us be elegant or die! 


  1. The bodice to your almost-finished dress is a beaut. You have a knack for picking excellent fabrics and coordinating trims beautifully! I always look forward to seeing your posts pop up in my blog feed.

    This event looks super fun! Bookmarking it for future adventuring...

    1. Aww thanks for making my day, Abigail! To me, picking out the fabric is half the fun (wearing it might be the other ;)

      I sure hope to meet you at the ball next time!

  2. I love your new boots! Looks like you had a great time.