February 26, 2019

The 31st Annual Ohio Regimental Military Ball

"And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon"

Friends dressed in the finest of frippery.
 From left to right: Laura, Amanda & me

Two weekends ago now, I had a ball at the 31st annual Ohio Regimental Military Ball - and I do mean ball in that I both enjoyed and danced all night!  Having made such fond memories at last year's event, I hopped or shall I say danced at the chance to attend again.  Before I share the few pictures that I snapped, I'd like to give a huge "thank you" to all of the organizers, and direct you to the website here: Ohio Regimental Military Ball and the Facebook group for more information and much better pictures from the weekend.

Unfortunately, the couple I joined last year were unable to make it this time; I admit that I was hesitant to go alone at first, though am so happy that I did.  I met up with several familiar friends, made many new acquaintances, did a little shopping and lots of dancing, ate, drank, and just generally enjoyed being in the moment!

In fact, as far as clothing goes, I decided to be uncharacteristically kind or perhaps realistic with myself and did not make a single thing!  I'm a senior in college, again, and my time is taken up with many projects, just none (or very little) for my historical wardrobe...So, instead of stressing over making something new, I pulled out my coral dress and some coordinating accessories.  Kristen snapped a picture of me, when I realized that I hadn't a single image of my OOTD or outfit of the day - and I call myself a blogger haha!  For comfort and convenience, especially while driving there, I ditched the hoop and wore four petticoats (three tucked and one corded) over a bum support, which did a decent job of creating that bell shaped silhouette.

My outfit of the day!
Accessories include a beribboned hairnet and bow from Timely Tresses,
silk belt with a reproduction buckle from Ensembles of the Past,
and matching, red side-lacing boots from Amazon Dry Goods.

During the day, I had signed up for two of the workshops/talks, and spent the before and after time socializing and shopping in the lobby.  There were a variety of vendors, including familiars like Kristen of The Victorian Needle (and her blog, here), Samantha of Amazon Dry Goods, Janet, who I know through the Pittsburgh Historical Costume Society, and Michael Rhodes, the photographer.  I also met Joy from the Homefront Herald Magazine, and am excited for the possibility of a future article and collaboration. 

Kristen of the Victorian Needle, quality reproduction jewelry and beaded work.
(Also pictured is a coral necklace that would eventually become mine haha!)

I really owe Kristen a "thank you" - she not only let me hide hang out behind her table, but gave me valuable advice, encouragement and styled my hair for the ball!  I'm really looking forward to seeing her again at the Citizen's Forum, which is the 1860s conference for reenactors and living historians that she organizes! 

It's always so hard to choose when one wants them all!

The always fashionable Janet of the Pittsburgh Historical Costume Society.

When I say that it took every once of strength to walk away from the very tempting shoes, readers, I mean it!  Amazon Dry Goods, the source of my favorite red side-lacers, was there again, yay!  Samantha is just lovely (and dressed to perfection!) and remembered me from last time actually, which made me smile.  I almost, almost walked away with a pair of light brown side-lacers, which I still regret not taking home...but alas, there will no doubt be more pretty shoes in the future: 

Samantha of Amazon Dry Goods & reproduction shoe heaven!

I did make two, small purchases though - a pair of clocked stockings and a coral necklace (with the matching clip on earrings to follow).  I'm on a tight budget being a college student, so I justified these as necessary for a project in the near future:

My weekend purchases, and the next project?

As for the evening festivities:  Dinner...err, at least the pretty hallway spread!  I forgot to take pictures, too busy talking with the company.  I sat with two gentleman my age - Duncan and Brandon - and found that, aside from our hobby, we had quite a bit in common :)

Yummy, yummy food

...Dancing.  I danced every dance!!  There just aren't enough opportunities in my life to don a ballgown and dance!

Amanda and David waltzing

Photograph borrowed from Facebook as proof that I was dancing
And that my hair was not falling down all night, just for the pictures haha

...And the delightful company of two, new friends, Amanda and Laura!  (You both look like 19th century princesses!)

Laura & Amanda

I would have had a few more pictures to share, but apparently my camera did not like the lighting.  So, here's another borrowed from Instagram: 

If you don't already follow Amanda @historic_adventuress, you should!  I'm kind of obsessed with her wardrobe...and speaking of clothing, I don't know what I would have done without her help putting me together - back fastening bodices and slippery hair both make for difficult times.  I sure hope to see both of them, Laura and Amanda, again at another event, soon!  

With the recap just about finished, I suppose there's only one thing left to say - that I'll be looking forward to next year's 32nd Annual Ohio Regimental Military Ball.  Mark your calendars for February 15, 2020! 

February 14, 2019

Wake the Heart & Stir the Soul - 1830s Photoshoot

Happy Valentine's Day - wishing you pretty flowers and chocolates, ribbons and ruffles, and all that your heart desires!  Just for the occasion, I thought it befitting to finally share the results of a late-summer photoshoot that features my red-hued 1830s dress and the poetical gem, "Love's Coming" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Awaiting Love that wakes the heart and stirs the soul!
(Photograph by Maria M.)

Location & Clothing Details

Way, way back in August of 2018, Maria, the sister and photographer extraordinaire, indulged me in an afternoon photo shoot along the Erie Canal.  Our specific location was Pittsford Village's Erie Canal Park, or what we've come simply, yet fondly to call "the canal."  It's a favorite spot for a summer stroll, and where we often walk Finn, our golden retriever puppy.  There's a little, corner treat shop where Maria will get her gelato and I, my fancy coffee fix.  The path travels right along the Erie Canal, and can be quite busy, full of pedestrian and bicycle traffic, or just right for quiet contemplation.  Once I walked six miles, happily lost in thought and the experience, before realizing that I'd past a third lock and had yet to turn around.  (I even had the sunburn to prove it!)   Anyways, since it's completion in 1825, the opening of the Erie Canal forever changed travel and trade, making it the perfect backdrop for a late-1820s to early-1830s dress.

The location of our photo shoot:
Erie Canal Park in the Village of Pittsford, NY

For the photo shoot, I wore what was at the time a newly completed late-1820s to early-1830s striped dress, featuring liberal use of bias cutting and self-fabric trim.  Many may recognize the extant garment from the Snowshill Wade Costume Collection (below) as the main inspiration.  This fashionable silhouette was supported by the wearing of a chemise, corset, small bum pad, three petticoats (one corded and two tucked) and sleeve plumpers underneath.

Dress, c.1825-1830
Snowshill Wade Costume Collection
Source:  National Trust Collections, 1349130

My version, complete with a basic front, back and side views of the dress:  (Eventually, there will be a follow up post for the making of this project, as there are plenty of interesting construction details to discuss)

Front view.

Side view.

Other side view.

Back view.

To complete the look, I accessorized with a ridiculously ruffly chemisette, green silk belt and reproduction buckle from Ensembles of the Past, and beribboned net cap, which is featured in the blog post, here: 1830s Cap of Lace, Net & Ribbon.  I am also wearing stockings with matching, red side-lacing boots from Amazon Dry Goods, and occasionally appear holding a paisley-printed, pashmina shawl.

Completed Project Shots

As always, I am infinitely grateful to Maria, the sister and photographer, for her time and for allowing me to share the products of her talent with a camera in the following: *All photographs courtesy of Maria M.* 

She had looked for his coming as warriors come,
With the clash of arms and the bugle's call;
But he came instead with a stealthy tread,
Which she did not hear at all.

She had thought how his armor would blaze in the sun,
As he rode like a prince to claim his bride:
In the sweet dim light of the falling night
She found him at her side.

She had dreamed how the gaze of his strange, bold eye
Would wake her heart to a sudden glow:
She found in his face the familiar grace
Of a friend she used to know.

She had dreamed how his coming would stir her soul,
As the ocean is stirred by the wild storm's strife:
He brought her the balm of a heavenly calm,
And a peace which crowned her life.

And finally, what kind of photo shoot would this be without a silly outtake?
Searching for Love - is that what I spy across the canal?

The poem is "Love's Coming" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, an American poet (1850-1919). 

Thanks for stopping by, and have a very Happy Valentine's Day!

February 2, 2019

Spring Fiber Update: New Beginnings

Ode to the new Spring semester - how I look forward to all of the wonderful opportunities, friendships, sewing and weaving in store!

A woven study in primaries and co-primaries.

"New Beginnings" is the theme for this post, and the reason is two-fold.  One, it's another semester with new classes, including three studios and a composition class.  Two, I'd like to resume the monthly, college fiber-related class updates, which ended up being only a single post last Fall...(eventually I'd like to finish those, but we'll see what time allows).  For the Spring Fiber Updates series, you can expect to see projects from two, "special topics" classes - Draping for Theatre II and Textiles: Color & Weave.  If you're interested in what's currently on the sewing table, loom or even in the dye pots, make sure to follow the blog (or our Facebook page), so you won't miss an update - let's get started! 

Draping for Theatre II: Period Draping

Is this the perfect class for my interests, or what?!  A brand new, "special topics" class this Spring, designed as a part II to Draping I (which I wasn't able to fit in my self-designed program), the goal is to become proficient at draping over period undergarments.  Working with various corsets and petticoats, bustles and paniers, we are responsible for creating patterns and finished half-muslins for four, distinct time periods.  Our first project is an 18th-Century Dress, based on a period reference of our choice (for undergraduates), or a self-designed rending (for graduates).

For my first foray in draping, I chose a deceptively simple Robe à l'Anglaise from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The first step was to lay out the seam and style lines over our stays (mine were actually made during my independent study in corsetry last Fall!) and paniers.  The process is very much like sketching, but with 1/8" twill tape.  Since we are only responsible for half-muslins, we are sharing stands, my lines are visible on the right.

My reference image for the first project:
Robe à l'Anglaise, c.1776
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009.300.952

Taping seam and style lines over stays and paniers.
You'll notice that for theatre, pleats become seam lines to make the garments more alterable and to conserve expensive fabrics: 

The next step is where the actual draping happens.  First, a length of muslin was pinned and fitted to the stand, and the lines for the front of the bodice were marked.  Once removed, the muslin markings could be transferred and trued up on paper.  The process was then repeated for the back, completing the pattern for the bodice.  

The draping process in a picture! 

Here's what my draped pieces looked like after removing them from the stand...

...from muslin to paper patterns!

It's a very different technique than the flat patterning I've worked with in the past, but it's definitely a skill I'm eager to become comfortable with - just thing of all the perfectly period possibilities!  Now onto the skirt and sleeves this weekend...

Textiles: Color & Weave

What kind of a semester would it be without a weaving course?  Unfortunately, I had wanted to enroll in more textile studios, but both the Jacquard and the woven accessories studios conflicted with my other classes.  Being that #artstudent with those looong studio classes and hours can be a juggling act, especially when it comes to course registration...That said, I did get into my first choice - Textiles: Color & Weave!  

Within the first week, we were winding and dyeing skeins for our first project.  A "syllabus week" simply does not exist in studio classes!  In the picture below, there are 1800 yards of Crown Colony wool simmering away in pots of brilliant blue 490, turquoise 478, sun yellow 119, golden yellow 199c, bright red 351, and magenta 338, all of which are ProChemical's washfast acid dyes: 

Dye all the colors!

Then, during the second week, we threaded our looms.  Though we had some parameters, like needing a minimum of a continuous inch of each color, I fun playing with some end-and-end, or alternating colored threads, in the warp: 

All threaded, tied-on, and ready to begin weaving.

A view from the back -
oh and don't worry, the threads that seem out of sequence
will be sorted as they go through the reed, which is like a giant comb!

Just yesterday I finished weaving the first 20" section which included stripes of each color (with some pick-and-pick, again alternating colored threads, to match the warp) and a gradient using analogous colors.  I also dyed some tints and shades for section two, which I need to go rinse after posting this!  

Section one weaving in progress.
The color quality isn't the best, sorry.

Keep a look out on Facebook for more progress on this weaving, as you probably won't see it again here until it's finished.

That's about all I have to report on as far as classes go - it's going to be a very different semester from the last, where I had to eat, breath and sleep or rather not sleep sewing and weaving projects, 24/7.  Though January allowed me to ease slowly back into being a full-time art student, things will no doubt pick up in February - when you can look for the second Spring Fiber Update!  

Bonus: A Visit to the Kent State Fashion Museum 

Since this is opening post for the Spring semester, I thought I'd share a tradition of mine...Every semester thus far, I've visited the Kent State Fashion Museum within the first week of classes to see the new extant garments featured in my favorite exhibit, The Fashion Timeline.  (It also gives me a chance to catch up with some of the employees, especially the head of security and a few of the student guards, who have gotten to know me by name and face.)  

My favorite and the permanent exhibit - The Fashion Timeline.
This features highlights from the collection on a rotating basis.

Here are a few of the highlights as it's too difficult to choose a single favorite:  (As always, feel free to click on the images for a larger view!) 

Robe a la Polonaise, ca.1770s,
with linen needle lace engageantes, ca.1715-25
KSUM 2004.27.8 ab 

Silk dress with matching collar, ca. 1830
KSUM 1983.1.52 ab

Silk plaid taffeta dress, c.1840s
KSUM 1984.16.15 a-c (dress)

Patterned silk dress trimmed with black fringe, late 1850s
KSUM 1985.5.1

Silk taffeta evening dress with self-fabric trim and fringe, late 1860s.
KSUM 1983.1.103 a-c

If I had to choose a favorite?  The details are exquisite!
KSUM 1983.1.103 a-c

This fancy dress is fun, and may be of interest to my co-workers who are awaiting the arrival of our new telegraph office at GCV&M! 

Dress printed with an issue of the Ahstabula Telegraph from November 1889
Cotton dress, bag and sash; paper fan and hat, 1889-90
KSUM 2018.3.1 a-f

A few accessories from the hallway timeline: 

Ikat, is that you?  I'd love to try weaving some silk ribbons in the future...
Woven spoon bonnet trimmed with warp-printed ribbon, early 1860s.
KSUM 1983.1.1635

Black leather boots with scalloped edge, ca. 1880s
KSUM 1994.48.53 ab

White leather shoes with rosettes, ca. 1880s
KSUM 1998.38.13 ab

And finally, what fun!  To make the exhibit more interactive, you can now leave a "post-it" note with the "historic period [that] you wish you had lived through."  Unfortunately, there was a lack of enthusiasm for anything before 1920...so I set to rectify that immediately!  Readers be proud, I restrained myself to only three eras - the 1830s, 1840s and 1860s - as it is just the beginning of the semester.  Though, there's no telling what I'll do at the end if this current trend continues haha...more love the 18th and 19th Centuries! 

Which historic period you ask?  My answer - the entire 19th century?
Okay, how about just 1830-1860 for starters; then at the end of the semester,
if the rest of the century remains blank, I'll be happy to fill in the timeline!

I'll also take a turn around the current exhibits again, as something new catches my eye every time!  The other exhibits on view right now are For the Birds, Fashion Meets the Body, and Beyond the Suit, which I've had the pleasure of viewing several times.  The Kent State Fashion Museum is an outstanding resource to have access to, and one of the main reasons I came to KSU.  I only wish I had more reason to be there (beyond haunting the fashion timeline), and would love to make a few research appointments in the future.  If there are any requests for specific costumes or textiles out there - please let me know!  

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