Monday, May 18, 2015

May Fair at Rock Ford Plantation

Over Mother's Day weekend I spent time in Lancaster, Pennsylvania at Rock Ford Plantation's May Fair living history. This event was part of their Second Sundays special programing. Usually the museum represents the mid-1790s to 1805 when the Hand family lived in the house. But, for this event we wore 1770s clothing. I used the opportunity to finish up a blue silk dress that I had started four years ago - whew, so glad that it's finally finished! I used a bodice pattern that I draped based on an original.

Since I knew that I wouldn't have time to add trim to the dress, I purchased this antique mother-of-pearl fan on Etsy and this pearl necklace and earring set from Dames a la Mode on Etsy. I couldn't be more pleased with this stunning necklace and earring set! The black straw hat was purchased from Miller's Millinery.

We enjoyed dancing around the Maypole.

We had our palms read by the fortune teller.

Pam wore her beautiful white dress. She always looks stunning.

Lynette Miller of Miller's Millinery was beautifully attired in a dress from a Colonial Williamsburg print fabric. She also had many lovely hats for sale in her sutlery.

Various vendors and demonstrators showcased crafts of the last quarter of the 1700s.

Rock Ford's dance group demonstrated various dances of the 18th century.

My mother made her own dress and trimmed this straw hat.

My mother and I both purchased our silk organza caps from Arachneattire on Etsy. I am so pleased with the way that they turned out. This maker was so nice to work with and does stunning work!

My mother made herself this new silk dress for the event and purchased this antique parasol to go with it.

Her hat was purchased from Miller's Millinery. The coral jewelry set was made by Kristen from The Victorian Needle on Etsy.

Since I didn't have time to make myself two new outfits for this event I opted to wear very different accessories each day. I made this ivory silk satin and red silk taffeta hat and rhinestone and red silk jewelry and sash to wear on Sunday. I also painted my American Duchess shoes red.

It was a lovely event and I was so glad that I had the chance to attend!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Hopewell 1865

Three weekends ago I attended an event at Hopewell Furnace in Elverson, Pennsylvania. The event was an immersion weekend planned by Jessica Craig (of the Atlantic Guard Soldiers Aid Society). My mother, Nancy, our friend, Gaye and I portrayed Lancastrians visiting friends who lived in the village by the Furnace. We had specific people that we researched and portrayed. They were well-to-do ladies whose husbands owned Furnaces around Lancaster County.

I created this sheer dress and bonnet based off of an original sheer dress and a Godey's engraving and description of a bonnet. I was very happy with how they both turned out. It's been a challenge to perfect the fit of my dresses when I have to fit them on myself. I think that I've finally got the pattern just about right!

I had my tintype made by the talented Jim Pfeiffer by the creek. I wanted a very picturesque landscape image and he did a fantastic job providing just that!

My mother also had her image taken by the creek but opted for a closer portrait.

Here she is consulting with the photographer about the arrangement of her accessories.

This sheer silk dress was also based off of an original dress in a museum collection. The upper bodice is shirred by gathering the fabric over a cord. This appeared to be a fashionable bodice treatment during the later years of the Civil War (1864 & 65). Her bonnet is based off of an original and was made by Beverly Lister.

Gaye had her image made reading in front of the bridge. The tintype that Jim made of her was very lovely.

I had two images made while at Hopewell - this one was a closeup of the dress and bonnet.

In the pictures above and below you'll notice that my mother and Gaye both wear black badges, these are mourning cockades which were worn by almost everyone at this time in 1865 to pay respects to the recently deceased President Lincoln.

Here are closeup photos of the bonnet that I made. I followed a description of a bonnet from a Godey's engraving. I was able to find some original Chantilly lace on eBay that had been cut from a damaged lace item (shawl, veil, etc.). I cut the flowers out and applied them to the bonnet as called for in the description. The bonnet curtain is composed of blonde lace and black lace - also as described. 

Half way through making the bonnet I thought that it looked hideous - the fashion plate called for way more trim than I would prefer to add to a bonnet! However, when all of the components were added together it came together quite nicely. It seems that many living historians either prefer their bonnets be trimmed very plainly or that they can only afford to have a millinery apply a small amount of trim. I know that I prefer bonnets with less trim. But looking at original bonnets that still contain all of their trim - as well as period images (CDVs) - it seems that many bonnets had a great deal of trim. Perhaps more trim than our modern eye might prefer. It was a good lesson for me to learn!

The inside is trimmed with small berries that I created by clustering stamens that I had painted. On the outside you can see a dragonfly hiding amongst the feathers.