I have very busy week with work and family but I thought I would write a bit of a mini post about what being a GTRG has taught me so far….
That maybe with a little help and support ball gowns can be done, also if you go to Las Vegas you come back to Lady Jen having power sewn a good chunk of it.
While dancing if one gets lost in the dance, stick your hand out and smile. This is the Lady Kenzie’s key tip!
Hand sewing take time but it so worth it
On that note don’t use a daring needled for sewing a ball gown
That the dance I was writing was a bit of a mess but it was fixable
That my hubby likes it when I work on dance stuff, as it involves no bits of fabric
Lady Jen is to short to be on the mens side while danceing the Duke of Kents waltz
Thus you have it things I have learned so far!
So as Devon mentioned in our last post, we had an absolutely great time at the Spencerville Heritage Fair!
We spent Friday morning getting ready for the day, and also Devon and I had a chance to stroll through Kathy’s garden/yard and pretend we were in a BBC drama. The best part is that this picture was candid, I really was making that ridiculous face.
Here are the Good Time Regency Girls’ Pictorial Top Ten from the Spencerville Heritage Fair:
So as you know we have made the trip out to the county side, and soon will be heading out to day one of the fair! Right now we have started our prep for the day, having spent last night up late sewing. Lady Jen has been working on her hair already, and me? Well woke up like it was Christmas morning and have been taking in the view. So are you up to something historical this weekend? Seems like most of the summer 1812 events are kicking off. Let us know in the comment section and remember we will be Tweeting all weekend so keep an eye out for updates.
Ok so I have gone with a bad pun once more. This post is going to be about my new set of stays and how this is the most excited I have ever been over an undergarment.
For folks who have been reading the blog, you may already know that I have been working on a dress and learning to sew. The gown (which I promise to blog about) is a historic pattern. The dresses I have worn up to this point have not been the most historical. The first dress was a costume that has Velcro in the back. My Mom and I built it not realizing how deep into this I would become. The next dress I bought. It’s great but has been made for us ladies without the historical underbits, but can still make the dress work. Up to now both dresses have been perfectly serviceable and I will keep wearing them. However for the next ball, something I wanted was to go big or go home.
All off of that leads me to building this new dress and to be in need of stays. Now some of you may know what stays are. Some may not. Those of you who are new to all of this, stays are more or less the proto sports bra. They lace up at the front – corset style. They are not very restrictive though do make you sit up straighter.
I was lucky Lady Jen had started work on one only to find that it wasn’t working out for her. This was a great find for me as while it was far too big, it was fixable. This is the point that I would love to tell you how I sewed the stays and worked out how to make them work for me. However full credit to making them work is 100% with Lady Jen.
The other day I got to put them on for the first time. Not gonna lie…my girls looked spectacular! I have never been much of a busty sort of gal and yet the up and lift. Then something surprising happened. After a few hours in them ( I was excited and didn’t want to take them off) I was still comfy. Like sports bra comfy! This was not something I had expected to happen. Not only that, but because I had to sit up straighter my back was feeling really good.
So I guess I have been meant to wear stays? Right now it is sitting on my coffee table waiting to be packed for the ball, but it’s sort of daring me to put it on and wear it under my shirt. What do you all think jeans and a t-shirt and stays?
Some where in Anne Of Green Gables she mutters over doing needle work. She’s making a quilt and finds it boring. I read this in grade three and the thought of having to sit with a needle and thread doing the same thing over and over….well lets just say that I had to agree with Anne.
I’ve never been good at sewing. My Mother used to work from home sewing so the machen would come out late at night. This was made clear I was not to touch and that it was nothing but work. Grandma sewed and like too, however she was always to busy. I think also I knew deep down that I would never be able to ask her about sewing things that weren’t practical. So help on a costume was out.
I had a Nana I was really close with though she saw sewing as a domestic task I as a modern woman wouldn’t have to learn. She thought that anything past knowing how to fix a button or a small tear was a waste. Better to read a book or do the crossword.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I have started with the help of Lady Jen and the moral support of Lady Kenzie have been learning to sew. Its been a bit slower then I thought…
While I have been working on a ballgown (more on that in another post) I have been most pleased with my work on a shift. You see I have decided that I am going to hand sew ALL BY MYSELF the whole thing. So far so good and I have been woring on it for a few days now in the evening.
Last night I think I hit a new lvl in how I regard my work. Up to this point on some smaller projects if a mistake was made I would sort of just let it be and sew around it. However as I settled down to sew I saw I had made a set of mistakes and before I could wave it off I reached for the scissors and pulled out the stitches.
I fixed a mistake, not just made one! Why am I so excited no idea, but I feel that as far as my sewing goes I have sort of lvled up. If it was a game theme music would play and a new item would become unlocked. Maybe that’s how I should be looking at this. So below your will find my new set of stats.
Lady Devon lvl 2 sewer, new item- shift
Brienne of Tarth.
Now here is a lady I can identify with. Prefers trousers to skirts, leather to velvet, and is happy to make her own way in the world without the aid or hinderance of men. But something happens to this magnificent lady when you change the wardrobe.
She looks uncomfortable, awkward, a fish out of water. Somehow her short-haired androgyny stuffed into a pink velvet party frock seems wrong. And boy do I identify.
Because here is what I usually look like…
….and here are my party frocks…
I have had the opportunity to wear my dresses a good half-dozen times over the past year, and I still feel awkward in them. They are just so damn pretty and cleavage revealing. And the crazy thing is that I have plans to make even prettier ones in the near future. Prettier, more historically accurate, I have a thing for the tiny pleats that hang in the back of some gowns. I have turned into this strange creature that can spend a few hours in a fabric store, imagining how awesome a dress made out of this or a fichu made out of that would be. I’ve started making some bonnets and day caps to camouflage my super short-cropped hair, and I purchased a pair of pink leather slippers to do regency dancing in. I am not sure if I will ever feel completely at ease in this ultra feminine regency garb, but for some reason I am having (and attending) a ball in it. And at the end of the ball when my carriage turns into a pumpkin and my gown turns into blue jeans I do breathe a little sigh of relief, as Brienne must do when she gets to climb back into her armor.
For the last month I have been working on a hand sewn day cap. This millinery adventure came as a result of two events. The first was attending a Georgian breakfast, in which the only head attire I had was a scarf that I wrapped into a turban. The scarf was slippery, and the day involved constant trips to the powder room to re-wrap the blasted thing. I was envious of the ladies in attendance who had day caps and bonnets and made a mental note to acquire an easier and more comfortable type of head attire to wear to regency themed functions.
The second event was the happy accident of meeting two regency good time girls in dance class. Since that time we have taken to meeting on a weekly basis to sew a variety of regency clothing and accessories. Having recently finished a ball gown and a day dress I was looking for a new project, remembered the turban trauma, and day cap it was.
I did some internet research and found this tutorial page about Victorian day caps: http://www.darlinganddash.com/daycaps.html
The biggest issue I had was with lace. Initially I bought a straight-edged lace (shown on top of photo) which was extremely stiff and difficult to try to wrap around the curves of the cap. The second lace I tried was far superior (shown on bottom of photo). It was soft, and had a curved edge that not only wrapped easily around the curves, but also had the benefit of making the stitching used to attach it invisible. Being a beginner sewer this is a good thing. The entire cap only took one package of the second lace at a cost of $2.69 purchased in the craft section at Wal-Mart.
The cap took about 8 hours to make. While sitting in a small circle in regency costume, a cup of tea growing cold on the side table, the other ladies chatted away about family, books, and films, but I said very little. I was completely engrossed in the stitching and started to notice a quiet, calm head space that began to surface. Having spent a small fortune over the years on mindful meditation classes and instructional books, I was pleasantly surprised to trip over mindfulness while sewing a day cap. The head space was wonderful.