Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas at the Commandant's House

The weekend before Fezziwig's Ball, we were busy doing a fun dance performance at the Charlestown Navy Yard. It was a blast to be in the Commandant's house once again, and I rather wish the event had been longer. We had a lot of audience at the beginning, but near the end it was mostly just us so we had a grand time taking pictures. SADLY, I completely failed to get pictures of the food! We made cookies for the audience (Raven repeated her fabulous sugar cookies, and Julia R made the most adorable gingerbread men ever), and I made a special treat for us - wine jellies in orange peels. I can't believe I didn't take a picture - I will have to make them again. I hollowed out oranges, filled them with gelatine dissolved in wine, and then sliced them into wedges. Oh well, settle for great pictures of pretty people instead!
Some of the nice girls who work there danced with us
Blind Man's Buff - Nick, that may be a bonnet, but it is way too short to be a girl
... and that is a wall!
ART! There was too much laughing to be in focus.
Quinn will serve you tea
Pretty mantlepiece, pretty girls
Check out those cool people. I think we were missing a couple of people, but that happens
Mmm, floral arrangements. The back of Quinn's dress is so pretty!
My new favorite regency hairstyle. It was quite experimental, but don't you think it looks nice?
Alex sure knows how to pose. Doesn't he look amazing? Great outfit. Nick looks a bit too rake-ish, but you must take into account that he only looks so disheveled because he gave up his jacket to some young ladies in need. So he can be forgiven.
It's the awesome hair club! Nice ponytail.
I actually sewed something! This is my new fur-trimmed wool spencer. It is such nice wool, and obviously I love fur. Of course, now I want a new dress that isn't too long in the back...
It will get more fur in front in the future. But obviously I wasn't that together yet.
BIG ASS MUFF. I made this more than a year ago, but have never used it. Isn't that a tragedy?
Big ass muffs get dragged along the ground, because obviously they are just for show.
Beautiful new spencer, big ass muff, AND a dumb bonnet. Now we're talking.
Lah de dah!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Coraline, an 1860s Ballgown

So here are the details on my outfit for Fezziwig's Ball. Usually my ballgowns are pretty random - the shapes and general look of 19th century ballgowns are very much on my mind, but I just get the prettiest fabric I can find in our modern world and make something nice. But this ballgown is actually very strongly inspired by a particular engraving in Godey's Ladies Magazine, called "The Coraline."
The Coraline, Godey's Ladies Magazine, December 1860
The blurb with it says, "This dress is of a rich striped silk, the body square and low. On the bottom of the skirt is a bias flounce, 10 inches deep, put on with very little fullness, and finished at the top by three rows of fluted ribbon." Well, I went more off the proportions of the picture than off the description (my bias flounce is more like 16 inches), but that is fine. I bet a lot of people have seen this plate, but I noticed something cool. Just one month later, I think Godey's features the same dress, this time in a colored fashion plate!
Fashion Plate, Godey's Ladies Magazine, January 1861

For future reference, the text for that dress is "Dress of violet and white gage d'Indie in stripes; trimming, a ruche of white satin ribbon. Square corsage; sleeves with one puff and a frill." But you agree that it is fundamentally the same dress, right? Vertical stripes, square neckline, little striped cap sleeves over puffs, a sash with long streamers and two bows? Now, maybe someday I will make myself a lavender and white stripe ballgown just like this (it sure is pretty), but not today. Instead, I used some fabric I bought a while ago. First I found it in gold, and you have probably seen pictures of my bright gold striped ballgown. After I made that dress, I found the same fabric with bright gold stripes on a burgundy background. I had to have it. So that is what my Coraline is made from. It is trimmed with black satin ribbon and black velvet, and I made the sash out of black velvet too. The one thing I didn't love about the engraving was the double bows on the sash, so for mine I only made one. In fact, the sash might have been my favorite part - the streamers are two layers of velvet, plus a layer of canvas, so they are kind of heavy and lie beautifully. Well, that's probably enough of that. Pictures!
Why is my face so silly? At least my dress looks good.
That is still a silly face, isn't it?
I love that sash! Doesn't look like much in the pictures, but it so very fun.
Back shot. The back will lie better when the skirt is attached (that sash is hiding so much that is not done!). This is the end of the night, so of course I look a bit disheveled.
Sitting. Gosh, I love the sash.
Is that a better angle? I have no idea.
Look! My seasonal once-a-year holly and white roses wreath!
Sneak peak at the shoes. I was feeling silly, so I wore my new shoes. They are cute little velvet flats with BUNNY FUR and a bow on the toes!
Sometimes after a long hard ball you've just got to flop!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Fezziwig's Ball 2012

This Saturday was Fezziwig's Ball! Hooray! It was wild and fun and a great success. But I was chastised repeatedly for not posting anything in my blog, so I must be better now. Life is hard (and so is grad school, go figure!). I had been toying with the idea of making a new ballgown for this event, but had given up on the idea when I realized how busy I am. On Thursday night, Mother convinced me to go for it. So we worked Thursday night, and Friday night after a long day of work. Then I worked through the day on Saturday, and wore the dress (mostly finished) to the ball that night! Whew. There are some unfinished edges that you can't see, and obviously no closures (why do I never get as far as closures???), but it was a pretty solid effort anyway. I'll write a different post about my dress, and for now mostly show you great pictures of people dancing. I made a real effort to get more nice photos than usual!
Raven went caroling looking just like a doll, don't you think?
Quinn is far too together. She had an amazing new 1820s ballgown (with fabulous appliques!), but also a new pelisse and lots of fur for caroling. Can't compete with all of that!
More dancing. I might not caption these all if I have nothing to say.
I attempt to do Art. With a capital A.
Massive Grand March
A very Grand March indeed
If you tie everyone up on one side of the room, it looks like there is more space.
I don't recall which dance this is. I think the Opera Reel.

There's Mother, on the sidelines
So much Spanish Dance
You can always spot Mr. Fezziwig, because he's so very tall!
Sneak Preview of THE CORALINE

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Batmangirl and Robinette

I should catch up on things that happened forever ago, but which I failed to post about. So here's something delightfully silly for you - my too cool sister Julia took me to see the latest Batman movie at the midnight premier at my favorite theater. You see things I've sewn all the time, but this time I got to borrow Julia's super cool super hero super Robin outfit. I have no idea how she ended up being such a good seamstress, but her stuff is great. She debuted a brand-new batman outfit, but lent me her old Robin dress so we could match. Too cute! Plus, we got tasty victory popcorn. It was great. Also, she was a better blogger than me, so if you want to get her side of the story (she even already used the best pictures, making my post a little pointless), check it out here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Guerriere Weekend at the Charlestown Navy Yard

This weekend was AMAZING. CVD did a fabulous performance at the Commandant's House at the Charlestown Navy Yard. This was part of their Guerriere Weekend celebrations - in 1812 the USS Constitution fought the Guerriere and won spectacularly. For the Bicentennial, they got a bunch of 1812 reenactor groups in for a camping event in the Navy Yard, and the Constitution went out under its own power for only the second time in the past 100 years or so. The whole event was a pretty big deal, and we had an unspeakably wonderful time in their gorgeous 1805 house. I should sort these pictures into a sensible order, but it is too difficult. In the interest of not taking any longer to post this, here are random pictures with commentary.
We put together a great lunch. Pickles! Alex and I both understand that pickles are the ideal food.
The punch bowl was for raspberry shrub that I made, which people found quite inoffensive for a vinegar-based drink. There was also delicious syllabub thanks to Julia R, and great cookies to dip in it from Raven. Not to mention lots of bread and cheese and Gibraltars (old fashioned peppermint and lemon candies made in Salem, MA).

Eating food, but more importantly you can see how cute Julia's hairstyle was.
We went out to see the Constitution! This was on Saturday when it wasn't moving.
Another picture with the ship.
I think I'm pulling on my gloves. Anyway, don't we look pretty? We had some good down time for chatting and playing games, in between dance performances. After all, we were there ALL DAY Saturday and for several hours on Sunday too!
See? Some nice casual sitting. I think they were just playing cards, but you can't see the cards anymore.
Blind Man's Buff is actually fun! Somehow I did not expect that.
Some key features for making it fun? Play with silly people you know pretty well. Play on a solid floor (not on grass), so you can hear them walking about. Make sure to bait your friends - it is funnier to watch and more likely to get you caught.
Mother wins an award for being the funniest. You see Mark catching Julia in this picture. While he was trying to identify her, Mother leaned on her shoulder and said "But do I really have to do this again?" She completely faked him out, and he was awfully surprised to find himself facing Julia. It was really hilarious.
Because the furnishings are modern (the house was a designer house a few years ago), we actually get to sit on them. This was as comfortable as it was pretty.
The third floor is all covered with these fabulous murals. I wanted a picture of myself with the pretty boats.
Mother took a picture with Bunker Hill, though. The murals are modern, but they are very pretty.
Me with another ship, in a little stair alcove. You can see the silly hair I attempted for the day.
After a long day of performing and a lovely concert, we hosted a ball for the reenactors. A lot of them didn't stick it out to the end, but a few dedicated dancers did. It was really nice to meet some of them, and also to meet a lot of nice rangers. Some of the rangers even tried dancing with us! Everyone did really well, so we did some pretty complicated dances.
Of course, then we did some more performing on Saturday. I don't have the best pictures of us performing because I was too busy dancing and thinking to take any. We did have a dedicated photographer (thanks Laura), so perhaps when I see her pictures I will do another post.
Oh, back to blind man's buff. I told you I hadn't sorted these for order - sorry!

Another one!
And another shot of the ball.
We had really great musicians. Seriously, they made my day!
Guerriere the Terrier! The Navy Yard has a charming museum (you should go!), and obviously we went straight for the gift shop.

But there were other museum shenanigans. Here Julia and Raven reenact a melodramatic parting.
I have a cannon!
Quinn scrubs the deck.
Cute girls in hammocks! Just for the record, that creepy guy creeping on us is actually a cut-out, and part of the museum exhibit. We didn't notice him as we took the picture, but he looks pretty funny now that you look at it...
Poor Julia is hungry.
This was my favorite! We tried our hand at tying up a sail. Mixed success... but we look really cute doing it.
The weather was great on Sunday, so we had a fabulous picnic.
Here is the Emma looking very pretty, watching the Constitution come in from its trip. We had a pretty epic adventure ourselves, as we raced to find a good spot from which to see. Word of warning - hopping a fence is never my strong suit, but a regency dress is an odd outfit for adventures of this nature.
Isn't she beautiful?
Remember, we tried this at the museum, but I suspect these guys were a lot better at it. Plus they are actually really high up. Impressive, no?
We were the ones who went running for a new spot. I think it paid off.
I love this one, where we're waving.

With cute soldiers! We also talked to some of them earlier in the day, and a few of them had come to the ball. Soldiers who dance? Fantastic! When we saw them all standing together we had to ask for a picture.
Ah! I've hardly talked about clothing. An oversight. I had a new white dress (and Julia a new pink one), but my favorite part of this outfit was the jewelry. I stole this pretty coral necklace from some box of Mother's a while ago (she doesn't mind sharing, though). When I was in Vienna we saw some grape earrings like this at a museum gift shop and almost bought them, but then we didn't. Then I decided I had really wanted them after all, because coral jewelry is such a very regency thing and we're heading in the direction of doing much more regency dancing and events (what can I say - people actually like it!). I found these on ebay and it was clearly meant to be! The end.