Monday, April 6, 2015

Original Bustle Dresses

I couldn't resist snapping a few photos of several of the original bustle dresses from CMU's historical clothing collection as they were sitting in the shop waiting to be used in a costume history class a few weeks ago. There are so many gems in our historical clothing collection!

Above: The insides of a bustle era wedding dress are as beautiful as the exterior. The bodice is completely lined in striped silk and the seam allowance edges are finished by folding the excess seam allowances from the fashion fabric and silk lining fabric in on each other and stitching closed. I've never seen this done before - what a lovely idea! I also love the bias cut striped bone casings!

I love the lines on this purple silk bustle dress.

Stunning pleated trim and delicate silk buttons.

The cuffs are to-die-for!

Look at the adorable bow right at the center back - so pretty!

The hem is a work of art!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Yuletide at Rock Ford Plantation

Over Christmas I had the opportunity to volunteer at Rock Ford Plantation for their Yuletide events. Christmas events at historical museums are always lovely, and Christmas at Rock Ford is one of the most charming presentations I've seen. The dining room table is always set with the most decadent food display, the rooms are lit by candlelight after dark, the air is filled with live harp music and the hallways are alive with dancers rustling beautiful silk clothing. The ambiance is magical. Here are a few pictures - better late than never, right?

I wore my sheer silk organza gown with the orange silk robe. Both pieces are based off of originals from Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion. I created a stole with black fur to keep me toasty warm.

My mother's gown and robe are based off of the same patterns. We have similar tastes in modern and historical clothing! Her dress is made of an embroidered cotton.

The informal parlor bathed in candlelight.

Paper chains were used as holiday decorations in the informal parlor.

The formal parlor.

In the evening we dressed in fancy attire, during the day we worked below stairs in the kitchen. My mother has been hearth cooking for years. I enjoy tagging along when I get the chance. This time we kept it simple and made beef vegetable soup and potato rolls. Yum!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Silk Regency Dress

Back in the fall I made this silk regency dress to wear to a living history day at Rock Ford Plantation in Lancaster, PA...and then I never posted pictures of it! I'm committed to eventually posting pictures of my creations on this blog...hopefully someday I'll get better at blogging!

This dress is made from beautiful silk taffeta from Renaissance Fabrics. I've come to love their silk selection and excellent customer service.

This pattern was based off of an original silk dress from Pennsylvania. I've used this pattern for a number of dresses because it's a great style for the 1795-1805 years portrayed by docents at Rock Ford Plantation. Fashion in these years was very transitional and dresses still had a good amount of fullness in the bodices and skirts. This dress bodice has a fitted lining in the back with the silk gathered in place while the front has no lining and a drawstring at both neckline and below the bust. This is how the original was made.

Above, my mother, Nancy, wears a dress that I created from the same pattern.

Two ladies sew in the formal parlor at Rock Ford.

In the informal parlor bulbs are prepared for spring.

My mother made this lovely red wool mantle with silk lining and pom pom fur trim. I want one!

Here are a few more pictures of my dress taken in the dining room.