Friday, August 12, 2011

Volunteering in 1790s Costume for the Costuming Society of America at Ashland: A Success!

Dramatis personae: Jenni (middle), Polly (right),
me (left). Also, look! My plumes are standing forward,
the way they are meant to be. They soon swung backward,
the bums.
This evening the Jane Austen Sewing Society/Bluegrass Regency Society volunteered at the kickoff of the Costume Society of America's Summer Symposium, at Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate.

Polly, Jenni, and I demonstrated trapunto (wadded quilting), goldwork embroidery, working with plumes, and rolled hemming for symposium participants, while they nibbled on hors d'oeuvres and when they weren't touring the Ashland estate house or looking at its costume collection. Jeannie took all the pictures; thank you, Jeannie, you were so sweet to do it, especially as you were not feeling well.

It was such a delight to listen to, learn from, and talk with kindred spirits, people who have made costumes, fashion history, and textiles their life's profession or passionate hobby. They were all such kind, interesting people, so willing to share information about themselves and their work. It was a treat to meet students and their professors, docents and researchers, professional theater costumers, and conservators, to learn about fabric conservation, and oh, so much more, all set in such golden-green beauty. There is nothing like Ashland's grounds on a handsome summer evening.

Thank you, CSA and Ashland, for having us. We so enjoyed helping out and spending time with you, and we hope that the rest of the symposium is a grand success, and that your dinner cruise goes off like a happy dream.

After having a chance to think about it all more, I'll write more, but here are some of the pictures.

The only costume notes for the moment: yes, that's a new hairstyle, one closer to the real deal for 1795, and it features innumerable curls made with a combination of rollers and a good curling iron, and the addition of a massive looped chignon in back, of artificial hair. I still haven't figured out how to get curls to stay on top of my head. Have tried pinning my curls up, etc., etc. and may resort ro adding tiny rows of artificial rouleaux. Still, this style is close to some fashion plates and some prints and portraits, so I am happier with this evening effect than I was with the effect last round.

The bandeau is a strip of buckram wrapped with silk, which is then manipulated with stitches to introduce some pleats and folds,  and then tied in front and pinned with a vintage brooch set with brilliants. The necklace is a double strand of potato-strung freshwater pearls, with ribbon closure.

Finally, no, the plumes did not stay right way round on my head for long. This iteration I just plunged the end of the plume behind the bandeau and into my curls. Last time, if you recall, it had been wired to a thin structured under-bandeau that was hidden behind a soft, wrapped bandeau. Round three experimentation ahead. I am busy reading in magazines of the era trying to glean bits of evidence.

Finally, aftermath :} There's that massive chignon, now let down, and all the curls coming undone after being let out of the bandeau.

The next morning: Jenni of Living with Jane wrote about the event too; please do have a read!


Kleidung um 1800 said...

Dear Natalie,
I am so glad you've given your abscence a minor break to let us know all about the event at Ashland!
Whoooohoooo - I'm even more happy that it was such a success and that you've all thouroughly enjoyed it!
Thanks for sharing the pictures and hopefully there'll be another event like it soon!


PuppyLovePrincess said...

ohmygosh, this sounds like so much fun!