Before I start, I want to apologize for a long and rambling post. It's not a fun post with lots of pictures and projects, just mostly me trying to organize my thoughts on what I need/want to get done before Welbourne next month.
This October, I have the opportunity to go back to Welbourne Plantation in Virginia. This will be my second year in Welbourne and I am so excited to go back! It was so much fun last year and I learned a lot. And now that I have an idea of what Welbourne is like, I want to be more prepared for this year.
Last year, I remade everything from the inside out. Absolutely everything was either redone or made new. I made extra underpinnings (since this was a 3 day event and usually I do 5 hour events, extra underpinnings were a must) and fixed up generally everything I brought. This year, I'm not as concerned about that, but I feel the need to go through everything and do 'touch ups' as needed. I generally like to go through all my stuff once a year anyway, and decide what I still like and want to (and can) wear, touch up things that need to be touched up, clean items that are dirty or spotted, make lists of what needs to be replaced or mended, starch all my petticoats, etc. I've decided that right before Welbourne seems to be a good time to do all of this.
My list this year is just as extensive as last year; it's just mostly fixing things and and making more accessories than actually dressing out.
Starting with footwear, I have slippers and boots that will need to be cleaned and polished. My boots are Fugawee's Victoria and are about 5 years old. Through all the red dirt of Liendo and generally muddiness of other places I visit, they are quite dirty and dull. The slippers are American Duchess's Bronte slippers in cotton sateen (not leather). I want to eventually get the leather ones as 'dancing slippers' and keep the cotton sateen ones as house slippers.
My stockings are all in great condition-I have plenty of pairs of both silk and cotton stockings that I can bring. Since it will probably be cooler in Virginia, I plan on bringing mostly silk stockings with maybe a cotton pair or two as backup.
I still have plenty of chemises and drawers from last year. I did manage to rip a small hole in my favorite pair of drawers that will need to be mended. Also, my favorite chemise has a small rip as well. Other than that, basic underpinnings are a go. My blue corset is in perfect condition so no work there. If I decide to bring along my white corset as a backup, the back will need to be extended and new eyelets put in. I have plenty of petticoats but I remember last year being quite cold so I have considered making a quilted petticoat. I have plenty of left over fabric from my 1870's dress that I could use if I get to this project. Welbourne hasn't quite decided on a target year, but we've talked about having it be 1860 again as it makes traveling from out of state (such as us Groces, travelling from Texas) to Welbourne much more reasonable as an impression. If so, I'll bring my 1850's hoop. Underskirts are covered. They don't get as much wear as the rest of my underpinnings. I have used the same three for all six years I have been doing living history and they are still going strong.
Starting with morning outfits, I will wear my normal wool wrapper all three mornings. This year, I am determined to finish both the broderie anglaise petticoat as well as the house slippers that match the wrapper. It's been 2 years. They need to be done. The house slippers are nearly done. I just have a little bit of needlepoint to do on the last slipper then it will just be putting them together. I have a sole all ready to go and I'll probably line them in some scrap silk. The petticoat is far from finished but hopefully the work will go quickly. I also want to have a morning cap completed. I have one, but I don't like how it sits on my head so I want to do another one.
I will have Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon at Welbourne. If the target year really is 1860, I can still get away with some very 1850's things like pagoda sleeves, basques, and larger collars. I think Friday I will wear the blue shot gold silk dress with rosettes. I set the skirt on wrong and the rosettes aren't quite even so I will need to fix that before Welbourne.
For Saturday, I was thinking about making up the ice blue and ivory stripe dress. I need more strictly early and slightly pre-war dresses in my wardrobe (most of mine are 1862-1864 or 1855-1858) so I thought it would be a nice idea to have something that was a good go between, around 1859-1861. Here's the fabric as a reminder:
And what I'm thinking as far as design:
|Minnesota Historical Society dress ca. 1856-|
1859. I want to use the sleeves.
|Museo del Traje ca. 1855-1860. This will be the|
bertha when I get around to doing an evening
|Metropolitan Museum of Art, ca. 1858-1859.|
I love the double skirt option!
|Susan Green Historic Clothing Collection, ca.|
1860-1865. I'm using this as bodice inspiration.
So the essential plan is for a low bodied gown that is slightly V-ed such as the Susan Green gown. There will be a pelerine much like the one from the Minnesota Historical Society gown to cover up for day. I want a double skirt, which is found in fashion plates up through 1861, which means that I will have to railroad the stripes (have them horizontal instead of vertical). That will require some playing with the fabric since the stripes go the opposite way on the fabric itself. I'll have to cut things differently than I am used to but it should work. I want the gown to be front opening, even with the low necked gown (the brown MET dress is a front opening evening gown) and use vertical self fabric fringe to trim the sleeves, double skirt, and pelerine. I'm thinking glass buttons down the front (perhaps in a nice black). I'm excited to see it come together!
On Sunday, I figured it would be a good time to break out my velvet basque and perhaps the black and gold plaid skirt. I'll have to try on the skirt to see if it still fits but otherwise that outfit is a go.
For evening, I will have Friday evening and Saturday evening. I am definitely bringing the purple chantilly gown. I really need some pictures in that gown. I'll probably wear that one on Saturday's dinner since it is the fanciest of the two. I'll need to refit the bodice so that it fits better. For Friday's dinner, I want to make a fichu to cover the blue and ivory silk. I have two options:
|Godey's Lady's Book, January 1861|
|French fichu from 1859|
I already have all the lace for the French one but not the silk ribbon and I have all the velvet ribbon and Swiss edging for the Godey's fichu but not the fabric. I might make up the lace one first and see how I like it. I think it will look better with the silk than a cotton would.
I also want to bring along my riding habit and all its accessories. The family that lived at Welbourne were equestrians and the plantation is now a retirement home for ex-race horses. We usually go down and feed them apples and veggies every day and perhaps I could get some pictures of me in the habit.
I have a period nightgown, but it is canton flannel and I really want a pretty lighter one, perhaps tucked this time. It won't be seen by anyone so it is really low on the priority list.
In addition to the other dresses, I was going to bring my black wool so I have an extra dress to wear just in case. That means that I will have to reinforce that belt so it doesn't fold under itself like it did at Liendo.
In other textiles to bring, I'll probably bring all 5 shawls (the two Russian wool shawls, the two original wool shawls, and the one original Chantilly shawl). In addition, I want to make some new bonnets. I love the soft crown bonnets I see all over Godey's and I have one that I absolutely LOVE! I have lots of silk scraps that are just big enough for a bonnet. I couldn't quite decide on which to use so I think I may make five new bonnets. I only want two of them for Welbourne. The others I will make up with the scraps and if I don't end up wanting them, I'll put them up for sale. I love making bonnets because they are so stinking easy to make-they just take a lot of time. It's all hand sewing, which I love to do. And I love decorating them. I just ordered ribbon ties and some flowers from Timely Tresses last night so when those come in, I should be all set.
I want to make a new parasol and a new fan. I really need a parasol for the 1850's that could also carry over to the earliest part of the 1860's. Something with long fringe. I'm still looking for a good inspiration. I have a plan on how to recreate one without an original frame so we'll see if it works. I also am in need of a new fan. I want a fancy one for evening, with spangles and tassels such as these originals:
I've made fans before but not this fancy so I'm excited to work on it.
Little projects that I would like to get done before Welbourne include: putting a new battery in my pocket watch so it is ready to go, making a few new hairnets, and making a few evening headdresses since I really don't have any.
Project Plans summarized:
-Clean and polish boots
-Mend embroidered drawers and plain chemise
-Extend white corset and put in new eyelets
-Quilted petticoat, if time allows
-Broderie anglaise petticoat
-Berlin work wrapper slippers
-New morning cap to go with wrapper
-Reset the skirt of the rosette dress
-Make ice blue stripe dress
-Fix black and gold plaid skirt
-Refit lilac and chantilly bodice and make a tucker
-Fichu for dinner
-Re-sew darts on riding habit
-Nightgown, if time allows
-Reinforce blue belt
-2 Soft crown bonnets
-Fix pocket watch
-Hairnets and headdresses