Long before winter had arrived, I had a vision for getting atmospheric winter woodland photos of my recently posted about 1884 Wool Plaid Dress and 1885 Wool Mantle. (The links are to previous posts about these garments that have tons of inspiration, patterning, construction, and finishing details–check them out if you want to see more details up close or learn about how these garments were made.) I was joined in my plans by a friend (who blogs at Plaid Petticoats) who also had a winter-y bustle dress that, like my ensemble, needed to be appropriately documented and photographed. In this post, I’d like to take you with us on our photographic ramble to show you some of the beautiful winter sights that didn’t make it into the detailed construction posts.
We began our adventure with photos at a local ruined estate called Bancroft’s Castle. We’ve walked up the long, steep hill to this location multiple times in modern clothes, but wanted to prove it was possible in corsets, bustles, and snow, as well as having the wonderful setting for some of our photos.
Bancroft’s Castle was built in the early 20th century but destroyed by fire within a few decades. Now, the only parts left standing are the stone walls and fireplaces. The site is open to the public and often quite crowded, but in the freezing temperatures we had it pretty much to ourselves. I love this photo, which captures the ruined walls, open levels, and stark trees. Even the iron fence seems to suit the mood!
After taking advantage of the different sections of the castle, we moved on to a path along the nearby river .The path meanders across fields, up and down hills, along the river, through the woods… and more!
It was a beautiful, sunny, very cold day. There was relatively new snow that covered everything. Being just a few inches, it was not deep enough to be a hassle to walk through in a long skirt.
The open field trekking felt very much in the spirit of adventuring women of the late nineteenth century, though it was made slightly easier by the fact that we could follow existing tracks rather than having to blaze our own trail.
After crossing the fields, we arrived in the woods along the river. The bare trees made wonderful views for musing as they stood in the snow.
The river is large enough to not freeze over entirely, though the shallow edges were covered with ice. I appreciated the bands of interest provided in this view. Snow, bare shrubs, ice, wonderfully reflective water, grey trees, green pines, and very blue sky.
In particular, I was struck by these trees with their curved trunks artfully reflected in the river. The bursting silhouette of the trees is fun all on its own but even more pleasant to look at when joined by the reflection. It feels exuberant, despite the bare branches.
The wooded area was soon interrupted by a stand of pine trees. I could easily envision them being foreboding, in an Anne of Green Gables way, but they were also bathed in golden sunlight which brought a certain magic that was cheery and bright.
It was a great place to stop and take photos. I love the next one for the depth, but if you look carefully you can also see that both bustle ensembles made it into the shot, which amuses me.
A bit of post-production on the part of my Plaid Petticoats friend produced this Harry Potter patronus image. Her dress is Slytherin inspired!
After the stand of pine trees was a small creek that fed into the main river. We looked into going around it, but of course finding the end wasn’t really feasible and the other side had a river. So… It was over the creek time!
Other trekkers had laid logs and branches across the creek to create a makeshift bridge. With the help of the ‘bridge’ we made it across with no problems!
After that it was easy going along the river and then back through the woods and fields. Both of our dresses were none the worse for wear, though part of my hem facing had been pulled loose on a branch and then collected quite a bit of snow inside. Getting all the snow out was a bit challenging, but it was easy to resew the hem once the more difficult task was completed.
I had a great time tromping about in my dress–proving that climbing hills and scrambling down ravines and across creeks is completely do-able in a bustle!