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