December 23, 2016

Project Planning: Sky Blue 1830s Ball Gown

At last, the fall semester is finito, so it's time to get back to sewing!!  And I'm very excited to share the first, new project of the winter season...something special...drum roll 1830s ball gown made from a gorgeous sky blue and gold sari!  

Right side: sky blue with gold embroidery.
Underside in gold (left).

A couple of months ago now, one of my Aunt's "de-stashed" and sent us several boxes full of sewing supplies and fabrics.  It was just like Christmas, and, to my great delight, this satin sari all the way from India appeared.  Burn test (unfortunately) confirmed that it's most likely poly, but that doesn't take away from its gorgeousness!

The embroidered motifs of the body.
In its entirety, the sari measures a little over five yards.

A band of the pallu.

I had been saving the sari for a later project, until Ariana sent me this picture from the new mini-series about my favorite monarch, Victoria

 Jenna Coleman as the young Queen Victoria.
(Image via: DailyMail)

And then, I knew exactly what I needed to make next...a blue and gold 30s ball gown of my own!  So I turned to Pinterest to start gathering inspiration: 

Portrait of Amélie du Bois (1803-1891),
by Alexandre-Jean Dubois-Drahonet, 1821
(Image via: Christie's Lot 178)

Lucky for me, blue and gold seemed to be a period appropriate combination!  I will be modeling the sleeves and waist treatment after this portrait: 

Ann McCurdy Hart Hull (1790–1874)
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut
(Image via: Smithsonian)

And I found THE inspiration here:  This confirmed the use of a single, long lace flounce across the neckline and short, puffed sleeves. 

Portrait of a Lady by Alvan Clark, ca. 1835
(Image via: MET Museum, 38.146.3)

Lace flounce(s) seemed to be popular in the late-1820s and early-1830s especially over organdy or tulle over-sleeves: 

(Image via: Pinterest)

I plan to draft a two-dart bodice much like this portrait: 

Regina Daxenberger by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1829
(Image via: Pinterest)

Julie Grafin von Woyna by Friedrich von Amerling, 1832
(Image via: Pinterest)

Wow, no expense spared here - I bet that silver embroidery cost a royal fortune, not to mention those jewels! 

Dona Maria Cristina de Bourbon, Queen of Spain
by Vicente Lopez Portana, 1830
(Image via: Pinterest)

In examining period film representations, Jenna Coleman as the young queen in Victoria (which is a charming mini-series by the way) often sports the lace flounce and puffed sleeve style:

Jenna Coleman in Victoria.
(Image via: Tumblr)

Emily Blunt, also as Victoria, in one of my favorite period films, The Young Victoria, appears in the style:  Costumes by my one of my favorite designers, Sandy Powell.  It's like a frothy, lemon cake, I love it!!

Emily Blunt in The Young Victoria.
(Image via: Tumblr)

Once I finish my gown, I'll need to find a dance to wear it to!  

A Couple Dancing by Lionel Peraux
(Image via: Tumblr)

A French Soiree, 1819
(Image via: Black Tie Guide)

Time to get to work...

December 21, 2016

Ginny's Yuletide Adventure

In sum, December simply flew by!  Between finals and three weekends of Yuletide in the Country Tours at the Genesee Country Village & Museum, there just wasn't enough time to do much else.  Though, with only one, last final remaining, I am very much looking forward to getting back to the things I miss most - sewing, blogging and fun with friends!

Speaking of friends...this year's Yuletide featured anything and everything from the real life engagement of the star couple of the dance soiree, to the classic snow ball fight or two, and a truly merry (in the 19th century meaning), revamped scene with Mrs. Boyle, crowned "Lady of Misrule & Her Lusty Guts."  Never a dull moment in the village!  

In fact, while I was busy playing Mrs. Munger's shop assist, Hannah, charged with decorating a cake with delicate frills and candied flowers for Mrs. Butler, Ginny (our traveling doll) enjoyed the best Yuletide tour thanks to a great many friends...From her tour guide, Judy J, who made it all possible, to the Thomsons and St. Nick.  Mrs. Munger, and the Fosters.  Not to mention, the village fiddler and dancers...A great "thank you" to all for making our night!  So, without further ado, please enjoy Ginny's Yuletide Adventure, as captured by our favorite tour guide, Judy:     

Awaiting adventure on the steps of Livingston-Backus!

First stop: A little holiday shopping at the D.B. Munger Confectionery with assistance from Mrs. Munger, herself!

Second stop:  A visit from Santa!  The Thomsons are a proud family, who'd happily share what little they have with anyone, but wouldn't accept the same charity for themselves.  Full of the holiday spirit in their hearts, a little cheer for their pockets would go a long way to brighten their Christmas Day!

(Photograph credit: Judy J.)

Third stop:  Invitations to Mrs. Livingston's extravagant soiree were in short supply, though Ginny and I were personally assured a seat by the generous hostess herself (no "strong" tea or bribery of any sort required)! 

Such an elegant spread, the Livingston's sure do know how to throw a grand Christmas party!

What are you doing down there, Ginny?
I must have a word with your tour guide...
(Photograph credit: Judy J.)

Fourth stop:  To the Town Hall, just in time for the dance! 

Thanks for serenading me, Mr. Fiddler!
(Photograph credit: Judy J.)

The lady in red saved a dance just for me!
(Photograph credit: Judy J.)

When it comes to dancing, the more the merrier I say!
(We loved your "photobomb," Pam!)
(Photograph credit: Judy J.)

All that twirling around sure made us thirsty...
(Photograph credit: Judy J.)

A photo with my favorite tour guide (left) & dance partner (right)!
(Photograph courtesy of Judy J.)

Fifth stop:
 Making merry with the Boyles, crowned the "lord and lady of misrule!"  In their words, nothin' like unfeigned gaiety and unrestrained spirit!

Fine food, finer folk, finest drink!
I'm beginning to wonder about that tour guide of yours...
(Photograph credit: Judy J.)

Final stop on the tour:  Christmas with the Försters and their family traditions.  O Christmas Tree!  O Christmas Tree!  Thy candles shine so brightly! 

O Christmas Tree!
(Photograph credit: Judy J.)

What a wonderful Yuletide and end to the 2016 museum season!  All that's left to say now is that we sure hope to see you in the upcoming, 2017 season...

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!” 

A Christmas visit from St. Nick.
(Photograph by Judy J.)