Newport Vintage Dance Week Part VII: Glen Manor Continued

TNG: What more can I say?

At the very end of my first post about the Ragtime evening event at Glen Manor, I had just shared with you our series of pictures of the “young set” spelling out our most recent acronym: TNG. You’ll have to read the captions in the pictures of the that post to see what it stands for, because this post is moving on to pictures of the Ragtime ball. Before I start on pictures, I just have to share that this ball had the most fantastic food catered for our dinner. I don’t know what company catered it, unfortunately, but it was spectacular and delicious! We all ate generous first and second helpings and were super full… but it was SO good!

The light was fading as we returned from our adventures down by the water and on the dock… This is the back side of Glen Manor with the lights on in the downstairs rooms and the twilight sky behind.
The orchestra for the night. I believe this is the New River Orchestra.
The doors were thrown wide open to the patio and gardens, which allowed for picturesque viewing of the dancers.
This was one of the venues in which the dancers progressed through a series of small-ish rooms.
It was fun to look in and watch people dance. Because they were traveling through different rooms there were always new people to watch.
There were lots of really beautiful gowns to admire.
Dancers in the main ballroom.
The interior of one of the beautiful rooms.
The fabulous red carpeted staircase. Not quite as grand as Rosecliff or Ochre Court, but still beautiful.
Most members of TNG lounging on the stairs.
One of our faithful cameramen caught lounging without a camera in hand!
None of the young set danced very much, but there were a few times we stood up and danced. This is one of them.
And another, blurry, picture of members of the young set actually dancing.
Photographic proof the Scott the Portsmouth Policeman danced (and with one of our own young set–as well as many other dancers).
On the left is Scott the Policeman. Elsewhere are other wonderfully dressed dancers.
We may not look like we’re dancing, but we had just finished a tango. One of the few times the young set danced.
We did get up to dance the Charleston!
And we basically had the room to ourselves, which meant we could be super silly!
A silly Charleston figure called something like “shine your shoes.”
Charleston in a line. A TNG favorite.
The traditional TNG “raise the roof” Charleston! (It’s like patting your head and rubbing your stomach… to Charleston while raising the roof! You should try it!)
Follow the leader. Now everyone is doing the “raise the roof” Charleston!
Double trouble! We caught one of our TNG faithful photographers and Bill Cunningham in the same picture!
I believe at least some of us are doing the “flying Charleston” in this picture.
Yay! We Charleston-ed!
We’re all laughing and smiling! Doesn’t it look like a wonderful time? Don’t you just want to jump in the photo and join us?
Two fabulous TNG-ers.
The fearless leader of TNG and the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers. What a fabulous fan! Doesn’t it just scream for sillyness?
Well, here you go! Sillyness! (Can you tell that it’s her tail? Like a peacock?)
Okay, I’m not actually asleep… but the stairs were a pretty comfy place to relax… Clearly, it is nearing bed time.
“Follow the moon path!” I said, knowing you can’t actually follow the moon path over the water. It’s a good metaphor for life though, to follow your dreams.
Last view of Glen Manor that night, with the lights on and the rising moon. So lovely!

Final tally: 72 pictures between 2 posts out of a total of 1,266 pictures total for this event. Not bad, I say.

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Newport Vintage Dance Week Part VI: Ragtime Dinner and Ball at Glen Manor

The next formal event at Newport was a Ragtime Dinner Reception and Formal Ball held at Glen Manor House in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Glen Manor was designed by renowned architect John Russell Pope to resemble the Petit Trianon at Versailles. Construction began in 1921 and the house was completed in 1923.

It is truly lovely inside and out, as you will soon see in the photos! I have 1,266 pictures from that evening… and even though I’ve slimmed down the number I’m going to share with you I’m going to have to break the evening up into two posts. The first part will be before the ball and the second part during and after the ball.

The exterior of Glen Manor.
One of the ladies’ changing rooms just off of the entrance hallway.
Once I passed through the rooms, this was the view that greeted me.
The magnificent garden was also behind the main house.
Before dinner we took some group photos. While standing in the group I took the opportunity to snap a shot of Bill Cunningham taking photos of us! We were a little afraid for his safety on the ladder, so you can see people keeping careful watch.
This is Scott, from the Portsmouth Police. He has worked this particular event in years past and really loved it; indeed, he jiggled his work schedule around to join us again this year. He was so excited by the historic clothing that he had purchased a historic uniform to wear just for the event!
After the group photo the four of us and our faithful photographers set out to be silly and take beautiful pictures.
One of our faithful photographers caught Bill Cunningham (another of our faithful photographers) taking photos of us! It was really magical to have Bill Cunningham hurrying to catch our pictures! At one point he said he would “stop bothering us for five minutes” and then five minutes later he was back again, saying “I couldn’t resist, it’s been five minutes!”
The picture Bill Cunningham was trying to capture included frantic waving of the arms…
Running around is a returning theme for us. This time we were just enjoying the beauty and being silly.
Striking theatrical poses under the trees…
I think we resemble the Muses…
There were so many lovely flowers in the garden! We found some to match each of our dresses!
Flowers to match the burgundy in my dress.
Looking the other way. I think I like the first one better, but this is lovely as well.
Purple, white, and green!
Those hibiscus flowers were huge! And they matched so well!
There was also this lovely hydrangea bush that looked so droopy we just had to imitate it.
Peek a boo!
Elegantly perched.
One more panorama of the garden, because it is just so lovely!
After being in the gardens awhile we began to be drawn toward the water…
But decided to turn and take another picture before heading down the hill.
Heading down the hill toward the water.
At water’s edge. Literally, the water was lapping at the rocks just a few feet away.
Silly time!
Looking to our left, we noticed that enticing dock…
So naturally we had to go and investigate!
Diving in! With a red moon rising beyond the water.
The sun was obviously setting as the moon was rising. We stood on the end of the dock, thinking of the Great Gatsby, pointing across the water at the moon, and talking of West Egg and the green light.
Looking off into the distance and enjoying the twilight.
The sash on the left was another of my last minute creations. 
There was a breeze and we just had to soak in the atmosphere. So magical!
Don’t you just want to jump into the picture and join us?
By this point in the week the “young set” had taken on the name TNG “The Next Generation” (of the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers). We’re trying to spell TNG, but the N is hard to see and the G is a little like a blob…
So we tried again with all caps. Can you see it?
Now do you see it?
The new name sparked many bouts of Star Trek references… I hope that you see the connection!

I leave you for now, in a magical twilight world with TNG.

Edwardian Gown Eye Candy

This fabulous vintage Edwardian dress was recently brought to my attention by one of you fabulous readers. It is for sale on eBay for $2,250! I certainly won’t be purchasing this original, but I absolutely think it is something to add to my body of inspirational images of clothing for future projects… The seller has included many pictures of the dress as well as background information on the dressmaker and a detailed description of the garment. I have included some of that information in addition to pictures for you to view here in this post.

The lace is exquisite! The rhinestones add even more sparkle! I love that there are pictures which show the closures and construction details. I classify this gown as “drool-worthy.” What do you think? Do you like it? Or not? Why?

Some of the information from the eBay seller, labellevintage_inc:

“This was created by Mrs. Catherine Donovan who was originally from Ireland (b.1826) and studied fashion in Paris. She owned the couture shop “MRS. C. DONOVAN & CO” which was located at 29 East 55th St.in New York. Her dresses in 1910 were billed at $100 and up which was extravagant as a gown from her would cost over $4,000 today!

Many of her garments are found in Museums throughout the world. There are 4 dresses at the Metropolitan Museum of Art alone. But the detailing and workmanship of these garments are worth every penny in my opinion.

FABRIC:
This is made of peach satin (formerly peach silk) and covered in exquisite ivory lace with re-embroidered patterns done with silk thread. The lace gives hints of Orientalism (which was made popular by Paul Poiret ) with its Royal Pavillion shapes on the back panels. The rosette and belt details are done in peach silk.

This enchanting garment features a fitted satin strapless bodice covered with a blouson bodice of lace. The bodice features a low square neckline and the dolman sleeves are short. Both the neckline and arms are decorated with cream glass and gold painted cut steel beads. There is an inner netted bodice which helps with the weight of the dress.

The empire waist is decorated with a ruched sash which is adorned with rhinestones, each individually sewn on a gold lame’ backing in the shape of a buckle.

The straight satin skirt is covered in two tiers of lace at the front. Each tier is decorated with cream glass beads and gold steel cut beads in a chevron shape. The tier is separated with a silk band featuring a large silk rosette. The top tier is adorned with crystal cut glass beads around the hemline.

The back has a surplice detail on the bodice with the silk band closing at the back decorated with more rhinestones.

The lace skirt is made of 3 tiers with one extra panel which attaches to the finger as a drape or can be left hanging as a short train. The top tier and second tier are both decorated with crystal cut glass beads.

This closes with several snaps, hook & eyes and tiny crochet buttons at the back.”

Thank you, Kimberly, for bringing this dress to my attention!

Back Detail of the 1912 Tea Gown

A few posts ago, while I was sharing pictures of the Titanic Weekend in April, I included images of the front of  my new 1912 black and ivory silk tea gown and mushroom hat. Unfortunately, I didn’t have good pictures of the back of the dress at that time… but now I do, and it is time to post them!

The back of my 1912 tea gown. I like the belt that crosses and swoops up (hard to see, except that the line of beading is interrupted by the belt) and the side back seams that end in pleats (it looks really cool while I’m walking!).
It’s a little hard to see in the first image, but the side back seams make a few intentional right corners before opening in inverted box pleats that help form the train. Here is a close-up of those seams: unfortunately, they pucker a little in the silk charmeuse because I didn’t think to stabilize them before starting to sew and snip corners… Let that be a lesson to you!
Another view of the back seam and pleats.
Here’s a side view, so you can see the front and the back.
And a recap picture of the mushroom hat.

I was able to wear my freshly painted and moved-button Astorias with this dress and others at Dress U recently, but you’ll have to wait to see pictures of the finished shoes–they’ll be coming in another post soon!

Titanic Weekend Part III: Pictures of the Events

Here we are, a third and final installment of posts related to my recent Titanic-themed weekend. You can read more about my tea gown and matching hat as well as my evening gown in previous posts. I think I’ll limit my commentary to captions. Here we go!

The weekend began with a casual Steerage Ball with a light and charming atmosphere.
Saturday afternoon was a formal tea to relax after a morning dance workshop.
Fabulously dressed people were all around!
I do love flounces, in any period.
In lovely whites, a staple of the Edwardian wardrobe.
There were picturesque photo opportunities, of course.
And the men were just as fabulous looking as the ladies.
The weather was lovely and some people took the opportunity to talk a walk outdoors.
While others took advantage of a less strenuous opportunity for enjoyment indoors.
Saturday evening was a formal dinner and grand ball.
So we all donned our finest finery...
And after dinner, danced the night away to live music.
There was a balcony and staircase that added serious elegance to the room.
Dancing, dancing, dancing...
Of course, a girl must rest sometimes, and why not with a fabulous fan? The room did get quite warm.
This backdrop was just lovely, and so perfect for pictures!
Picturesque!
Pictures were taken in abundance.
At 11:40pm (which is when the ship hit that ill-placed iceberg) we took part in a moment of silence to remember those who were lost followed by a haunting final waltz to the melancholy melody which was the last song played by the band as the Titanic sank.
On Sunday, I was able to wear my 1913 walking suit and hat on the Museum Stroll. I wore the blouse and skirt to the Steerage Ball, with a wonderfully simple, yet very Edwardian coiffure, but of course I didn't get pictures of that... oops. There were fabulous outfits all around, but it was difficult to get pictures given that we were spread throughout a museum!

All in all, a lovely weekend full of fabulous clothing, beautiful music, and wonderful dancing. What a recipe for amazing memories!

Titanic Weekend Part II: All About The New 1912 Day Ensemble

We took a rather in-depth look at my new 1912 evening gown. Now, on to the second 1912 ensemble that I also wore during the weekend: day gown and hat!

Gown and hat with (unbuttoned...) white kid opera gloves. I'm so pleased with the overall effect! Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of the back. There are cool details back there, so another fashion shoot will be required in the future...

This gown is constructed from silk charmeuse. The skirt is a single layer in addition to the overskirt panel in front. The bodice has a foundation of the same white cotton as my new evening gown. Mounted on to that cotton are (from the neck down) layers of ivory silk charmeuse, ivory silk flat lined with fabulous ivory colored diamond lace, black silk velvet, and black silk charmeuse. The overskirt panel is trimmed with matching silk velvet and the belt is constructed of the same. There are small buttons on the overskirt velvet trim (because, really, the Edwardians just loved adding buttons everywhere!). Because the back bodice mirrors the front in its style (which unfortunately I don’t have a picture of right now…), I had to be crafty with my closures. The dress has two places that open with hooks and bars: the left side from just under the arm to a few inches down the hip and the left shoulder seam around the neck to the center back of the collar. The effect is a form fitting dress that looks like it was magically donned. The side closure is straight forward, with the foundation layer hooking first, to take the tension of holding the dress tight, and the outer charmeuse layer hooking over that simply to stay closed. Again, the foundation is essential to achieving the elegant, effortless exterior. The neck closure is a series of hook and bars that turn different directions to accommodate the seams: front to back at the shoulder, hooks that hook up on the collar to attach it to the back neck, and hooks going sideways on the center back of the collar.

In addition to the gown, I also constructed what I call the “mushroom” hat, which you can read more about in this previous post. I created the pattern for the hat, which is basically just a shaped brim with circular side band. The side band support the crown, which is a circle that is pleated to create that “mushroom” shape. I love the hat! It lends such an air of Edwardian drama and elegance to the look! And I am so pleased the the “mushroom” shape worked out!

Hm… Patterning this dress… Well, the general skirt shape is from Janet Arnold, but it is adapted to have two symmetrical box pleats that terminate at the top in delightfully detailed seams (which I really, really need pictures of!). The bodice pattern was draped with many references to my inspiration image. I created a basic shape for the bodice and then cut in into the different pieces (ivory silk, ivory silk and lace, black velvet, and black charmeuse) so that each piece would fit together perfectly. The belt is slightly shaped but doesn’t actually have a pattern.

The dress is inspired by this image from a 1910 issue of the magazine Bon Ton.

I'm sure you can guess, but the dress I was referring to is the one on the right.

In the end I made a few changes: I added a train, discarded the white under sleeves (I made them, I tried them, and they just didn’t work! They pulled the bodice in all sorts of weird ways… Maybe if the were not so tight they wouldn’t pull so much? I am fine with having gloves cover my lower arms, anyway.), and drastically scaled back the beading. Perhaps you’ll remember my plan to bead this dress? Well, the beading was drastically scaled back because I didn’t like the beads I bought as much as I thought I would (they are rectangular and larger than I thought… not seed bead-y at all), I realized I didn’t want to devote as much time as it would take to do the amount of beading I originally intended, I didn’t have enough beads to bead all four panels as much as the one panel I completed and I didn’t want to buy more beads, and I didn’t like the beading motif I had created, nor was I inspired to change it. You can see that I did leave one outline shape of beading on the bodice in the velvet section, but the rest was scrapped. That one line is repeated front and back (symmetry, you know). I did actually complete the overskirt top panel, but decided not to use it after my scaling back plan was complete (you can see it, below). I’m going to keep the beaded panel and see if it finds its way onto another project one day… I would still love to do intense beading on a garment, but I’ll have to pick a different one, because it wasn’t measuring up to my expectations for this dress.

Scrapped beaded panel. A mix of silvery and black beads. I started in the center with the somewhat wonky lines, can you see improvement? I think it would have been distracting from the dress to have four panels like this.

Titanic Weekend Part I: All About The New 1912 Evening Gown

I recently returned from a successful Titanic-themed weekend of events, including multiple vintage dance opportunities. I’ve been working on some new clothing for these events since January, which you can read more about in my past posts relating to the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic. I’ve been rather remiss in posting updates about the progress of the new dresses I constructed for these events… So my first task is to share pictures of my attire and explain the inspiration and construction of the garments.

I created two new 1912 ensembles: an evening gown and a day gown with accompanying hat. Let’s start with the evening gown!

My camera had a challenging time capturing the colors and shimmering sequins on this gown, but this is a good representation of the colors. Look! I wore my ballroom dance shoes, which worked well, and my white kid opera gloves and pearl drop earrings... fabulous!
Fabulous painted backdrop! Perfect for taking photos, although my camera didn't quite catch the colors so well in this photo. I think this gown is so much more fabulous in person! I was told that the sequins just shimmer in subdued mood lighting.

This gown is burgundy silk charmeuse with a gold silk charmeuse underskirt. The bodice is gold silk layered under gold sequined net. The sleeves are the same gold sequined net flat lined with nude colored tulle: the tulle provides unnoticeable stability for the net layer. The burgundy layers are pleated up and held in place in two places by gold silk and sequined net covered buttons. The bodice and skirt are lined with brown cotton and the entire dress is mounted on a foundation of some extra white cotton which I have an excess of in my fabric stash. The foundation layer is essential to the drape of the dress, because it provides stability as well as a layer to attach all of the pleats and drapery points to. The foundation allows the burgundy silk to effortlessly hang and artfully fold without looking heavy or as though it serves to hold an weight. The foundation layer also supports the underskirt which is attached at about knee height (thus not extending all the way up to the waist and saving fabric). If you plan to create a draped Edwardian gown I strongly suggest that you include a foundation layer: the practice is historically accurate and will help your dress look effortless rather than heavy. This gown closes center back with hooks and eyes along the gold sequin area and a complicated series of further hooks and eyes at the top of the burgundy back drape. The hooks and eyes help create the tension that is required to keep the waist carefully draped in elegant folds across the waist.

There is not a hat associated with this gown because hats were not worn for formal evening events. I did create a wonderful Edwardian coiffure with loops and puffs of hair on the crown of my head surmounting the two front sweeps from the front as they swooped around the base of the back of my head. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any closeups of the style. I feel it is necessary to encourage you by saying that the more often I practice my Edwardian hair styling the faster I am and the better the styles look. You, too, can have fabulous Edwardian hair! Practice! Practice! Practice!

I draped the pattern for the foundation, bodice, and sleeves. The underskirt is a mix of information from the usual pattern book culprits (Janet Arnold and Norah Waugh) that I took in and then kept in mind while flat patterning a knee high underskirt pattern. The outer draped layer is just that: draped. It was a good challenge–I would have a hard time creating a flat pattern of that layer. All I can say is that it is just one rectangular piece of fabric that was sometimes frustrating and draped with many references to my inspirational images.

It turns out that the evening gown is a mash-up of two gowns (pictured below) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I think I started by aiming for the pink dress but wound up moseying my way along to the pale blue dress. Do you see the influence of both the pink and pale blue dresses? I do…

1914 Callot Soeurs evening dress
Side/Back of the same.
1911-1914 Callot Souers evening dress.
Side/Back of the same.