Picturesque Regency Moments

During this year’s Regency Dance Weekend, we captured some of my all time absolute favorite shots of my Tree Gown. I saved them for this post rather than including them in the overview of the weekend.

These first few were taken at our hotel. While the blue walls don’t scream Regency to me, they do coordinate nicely with my dress and make for a stunning background. The idea behind these is along Lizzy Bennet lines–lounging in a windowsill while comfortably contemplating life. This gown has the most beautiful drape to the skirt! It’s soft and full without being too fluffy.




The next batch was taken at tea. One of my friends had brought the book and it is perfect for us, since we know a dance called Sir Roger de Coverley that was danced during this period. I had to pose with it!



Then we went on our promenade, where we got some excellent photos of the gown with accessories: shawl, spencer, and bonnet. I like how the tree mimics the flowers on my bonnet.


Mixing up my Jane Austen stories, these pictures by the water remind me so much of Persuasion and the unfortunate visit to Lyme. I just love everything about this outfit! The fabrics, the details in the trimmings… it all coordinates so well without being perfectly matching!




Regency Dance Weekend 2016

Way back in April, I was excited to be part of the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers’ annual Regency Dance Weekend again. As usual, there were lots of dance classes, an informal ball, an afternoon tea and promenade, and a formal ball. It’s always a joy to do Regency dancing in Salem in historical halls built during this period.

I thought I would share an overview of the weekend to start off my six-months-late sharing of the event. I did actually post about one thing from the Regency Weekend a few months ago. My new shoe poms! Here I am showing them off while artfully covering our refreshment table at the beginning of Saturday evening.


I’m wearing my Refreshing Apron and 1819 Ruffle Gown with flowers I made for it back in 2014. I’ve inspired a friend to make an apron as well, so we had to showcase them together!


Unveiled, here is the refreshment table from the informal ball. Yummy! There was even a homemade jelly (visible in the back).


On Sunday, we took the opportunity to take a group picture in our lovely hotel. The building is quite full of history, though the hotel is new in that building. We enjoyed our stay very much. It was great to have a common living room to relax in as a group. Plus, who can complain with having historical paintings on the walls?


After group pictures, we headed to Salem Old Town Hall, where we were meeting for tea and as a starting point for a promenade to the water. It was a bit chilly for April this year, making shawls rather welcome to stay warm.

I wore one of my all time favorite dresses, my 1815 Tree Gown, with my 1819 brown spencer, green shawl, and 1815 Tree Bonnet.



Sunday evening was the grand ball, held in Hamilton Hall. I wore my 1811 Elusive Blue Gown with the turban fillet.


Hamilton Hall is lovely with a sprung floor intended for dancing and large mirrors around the walls. Here are the dancers all lined up and ready to go!


Another neat feature of Hamilton Hall is that the dance floor is actually on the second floor, meaning that every guest is able to ascend and descend the stairway to get to the ballroom–perfect for pictures!


All in all it was a lovely weekend. I’m really looking forward to next one in April 2017! It’s really special to have a weekend to get in such depth for one period. Here are my accounts of past years: 2013 and 2014. In particular, 2014 had blog posts which really express the special quality of this event.

Gibson Girl Vignette

In September, my friends and I had a last picnic of the season to take advantage of the summer weather before it faded into fall. Along with other picnics we’ve had in the past, we again met up in the Boston Public Garden with our picnic blankets, food, drink, and croquet set.


We’d decided on a turn of the 20th century theme for our clothing and I took the opportunity to dig a 1903 outfit out of the closet that I don’t think I’ve worn since 2012, at Dress U and Newport Vintage Dance Week. It’s an orchid lawn skirt (and a bolero I didn’t wear this time) and a white silk and cotton lace blouse.


This wearing, my hat had been re-trimmed in a more pleasing fashion than when I wore it in 2012 (in fact, all the lovely millinery flowers are only pinned on so it’s easy to change, not that I’ve bothered since I put the flowers on about two years ago) and I had practiced my Gibson Girl hair in January and now know how to achieve the look with minimal effort.


I was very pleased with the result! Next time I plan to wear a hat with a Gibson Girl style I’ll put the opening of my hair pad at the top of my head rather than the bottom, and likely leave a little space to make the front a bit more flat so my hat doesn’t tilt up. Where’s the fun if I don’t learn something new every time I wear historical clothing?

A Hint Of Coming Projects

It’s pretty busy here at the moment. I’ve been spending most of my energy doing productive life things, which hasn’t left a lot of energy for writing blog posts. In the meantime, I’ve been plotting what my next projects will be. The big ones on the to-do list right now are a new 1860s evening gown for later in October and a first ever 1830s evening gown for December. I thought I’d share a little taste of those two projects. Sparkly bits that will be incorporated into each gown!


Regency Face Curls

Remember this post from last December about my green Regency shawl and the photoshoot for my Vernet project?


From the wearing of my green Regency shawl.

For both of those Regency period hairstyles I took the time to create narrow curls to frame my face and I’ve been meaning to share how to achieve these perfect curls ever since, but am only just getting to it. However, I can’t take credit for the idea myself. I was inspired by Sanna and Noora during the Vernet project. I believe we had a conversation about it in the Vernet seamstress group but I can’t find the content at this point, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. (They both used straw curls for their hairstyles in this post of Sanna’s and this post by Noora, if you’d like to see how this technique can turn out on other hair types.)


From my Vernet project photo shoot.

The secret to getting really lovely corkscrew curls? Drinking straws used as rollers. This works for shorter length hair to create the oft-seen small curls around the face, but it also works just as well for longer hair. Have you heard of using straws for curls before?

The look is achieved by rolling wet hair around a drinking straw (with or without product–I’ve tried it both ways and have achieved good results) and letting the hair dry. Sanna and Noora reported that after rolling hair around the straws they knotted the ends of the straws, pinned the rolls to keep them in place, and left them in overnight. My method was slightly different. I cut my straws in half, rolled my hair around the shorter straws, pinned them in place, used a hair dryer on them until they were dry, and then took them down.

You could also use this technique to create curls for other time periods. The ‘hedgehog’ styles of the later 18th century are one possibility. What types of hairstyles have you created  (or do you now want to try!?!) using this method?

Henrietta Maria At Sunset

Where I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, we would often have stunning summer sunsets that would bathe our western facing house with vibrant red-orange light. We get far fewer of these dazzling endings to summer evenings here in New England, especially with such depth as those Northwest sunsets. Honestly, until we had parked at the chosen location for this photo shoot, which happened to have a western view, I hadn’t realized how orange the sunset on this particular day was.

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The day had been a busy one and I had to hurry to look presentable and throw on the dress to catch these photos before the light faded. I wasn’t sure there was enough light left to get good photos, but I actually really love the unusual orange sunset light.

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I purchased the rayon print fabric I used to make this dress last winter from Blackbird Fabrics. I have an ongoing effort to try to add pattern to my modern wardrobe, which is mostly solid color garments. I didn’t know what I was going to do with the fabric, but then in the spring Leimomi (the Dreamstress) asked if I would be willing to do a favor for her relating to her soon-to-be released first ever Scroop Pattern, the Henrietta Maria. Squee! Of course! And my thank you from her was the pattern itself! Perfect!

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So this is a Henrietta Maria. The pattern is great, with clear directions and helpful tips. Leimomi has also posted some extra tutorials for the dress on her blog. I took advantage of the suggestion of adding elastic to control the waistline because without it the dress was looking like a bit of a muumuu, what with the busy floral print and the straight shape.

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The construction is straight forward, with the only time consuming part being the 44 tucks that make the dress particularly unique. They’re not hard, and their placement is clearly marked on the pattern, but they are time consuming. I think they took me about 3 hours to sew all by themselves. They could probably take less time, but I was very careful to match each guide line and sew them with precision. And the end result is worth it.


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The inside of the dress looks like this. I used the lace edging method that Leimomi also blogged about. It provides such a nice, tidy finish without any visibility on the exterior. And all the tucks keep the lace in place perfectly.

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Like the tucked edges, the hem edge is also edged with lace that is machine sewn onto the raw edge. The hem is sewn with a cross stitch that is pretty much invisible on the exterior.

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Here are a few more pictures from the sunset photo shoot. I’m not sure why there was a worn statue of a frog in the midst of the trees.

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You can see more lovely versions of this dress on Leimomi’s blog here. Click back through previous posts with the tag to see more. There’s also a shirt version. Check them out!

Bubble Dots At The Aquarium

This summer I found some time to make some everyday modern clothes. Here’s one of those garments, a simple gathered skirt made interesting due to the ombre printed fabric, which reminds me of rising bubbles.

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I’d seen this fabric at the store, didn’t buy it, then saw it again about a month later and decided (or was convinced by friends…) to purchase it. I finished off the bolt with somewhere around 3 yards, which was perfect for a full hem.


It looks pretty snazzy with a petticoat under it, so I’m hoping to have some excuse to wear it someday as 1950s instead of modern. In the meantime, I’ve worn it with a variety of white and oatmeal colored tanks and tees, both of which are nice continuations of the ombre effect of the skirt pattern.

The skirt is a mix of hand and machine sewing. The only seam is serged. The hem is hand sewn to be invisible. The zipper is hand picked because I didn’t feel like dealing with a machine zipper foot. The buttonhole is hand sewn because I didn’t feel like dealing with a buttonhole foot. And the inside of the waistband is sewn down by hand to keep things tidy.

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Hand picked zipper. Cute curved tab on the waistband to echo the dots with a lone vintage button from the stash.

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Look at that pattern matching!

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Tidy seam and hem.

For pictures, I wore this to the aquarium. It seemed fitting, with the bubble dots! I greatly enjoyed the larger animals–penguins of three types, seals, and sea turtles. I went with Mr. Q, who remembers going to see Myrtle the sea turtle when he was young and on school field trips. Sea turtles have long life spans, so Myrtle is still there, floating around. The aquarium has this to say about her:

Myrtle, our green sea turtle, lives in the Giant Ocean Tank. She has lived at the Aquarium since June 1970. She is approximately 80 years old, weighs more than 500 pounds, and eats lettuce, cabbage, squids, and brussels sprouts.



Hi Myrtle!

There was another large turtle in the giant ocean tank as well, named Ari.

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And penguins! They are so cute and funny!

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All the water in the tanks came out looking like the same colors in my skirt in these pictures. Perfect!