While I have a few wee SCA projects to work on at the start of this year, my main sewing goals between January and May are going to be all 18th century, all the time. Why? Because we’re going to France, baby! My husband & I are renting a chateau in the south of France with the same group of friends that rented an English manor house back in 2010. And all our costume events will be 18th-c. themed because look at this place:
The state of my existing 18th-c. wardrobe is pretty sorry. A lot of things don’t fit or are just really old & sad. The only thing that I particularly like is the purple silk jacket. So I need more clothes. Also, my hubbi needs more clothes because he only has one 18th-century suit & can’t wear just *that* for two week’s worth of events (note: we don’t plan to spend the entire time in costume — more like every other day, but still, that’s a lot of playing dress up!).
Here are my plans at this moment, which are subject to change, but you gotta start somewhere…
Years ago, right before several of us went to Colonial Williamsburg for a quite excellent conference, I started making a redingote out of red & black striped mystery material (meaning, questionable fiber content, but it has a nice drape). The project had fitting problems, & I ran out of time to fix it, thus it’s languished in the UFO pile ever since. But I’m determined to resurrect it.
It was loosely inspired by this black & red redingote fashion plate from Galerie des Modes, & I made a batwing collar & cuffs from black velvet painstakingly hand-edged with black silk ribbon. I also collected a bunch of vintage black velvet buttons for the center front & cuffs.
This will be worn with the black silk ruffle-hem petticoat I wear with approximately 99.99999% of my 18th-century wardrobe. I’d love to make a ginormous black Gainsbourgh hat to go with it, but I’m already packing a ton of luggage (we pre-paid for extra bags when we bought our plane tix!), so I may go sans chapeau en France, but make a new hat for later, such as at Costume College.
Chemise a la Gothique
I started this on a whim last year right before Costume College in the vain hope it could be my Gala gown. I got as far as making the bodice & sleeves but did not attach them.
It’s extremely vaguely inspired by the portrait of Maria Anne Fitzherbert, in that she’s wearing what possibly could be a black & white chemise gown.
But I was mostly inspired by the fabric, a delicate & delightful silk/cotton blend with a stunning border print in black. I bought this at the L.A. Garment District in 2010 & immediately knew it was meant for a frothy, froofy chemise gown. I have zero historical evidence for printed chemise gowns, but whatever. Colored ones existed & this fabric looks period-esque, so let’s call it a mash-up.
Black Robe a la Francaise
Because I need a new francaise, dammit! Sometime last year, I found some yummy black tone-on-tone silk online crying out to become a new gown for France. We hadn’t even picked a chateau yet or really confirmed that we were going. But the dress demanded it be made & be worn in its country of origin. Who was I to deny such a thing?
I’ll make Kendra drape me, as she did for my Carnevale francaise. Not exactly sure how I’ll trim it, but I do like the black tonal thing going on in this fashion plate, especially with the white ruffles.
I’m also thinking I could rip off the expensive black lace from my Eugenie skirt & use that on the underskirt here for an extra lux touch. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
Tempted to wear the tall white pouf I made for Leonard with this, but again, packing, oi!
Rubens’ Masque Costume
When I saw this painting at the Huntington in L.A., I fell in love. Must have that costume! Also turns out that there was something of a trend in the early- to mid-18th century for being painted in this dress, which is an homage to a painting by Peter Paul Rubens of his second wife.
Kendra even gave me some black silk satin to make it with (because she loves me!). However, I’m putting this on my “maybe” list for France because I don’t really need it when I have the francaise.
But I will make it, & this will be my Costume College Gala gown for this year (I’ve peed on it, you can’t have it 😛 ).
I simply must have a period dressing gown to swan about the chateau in. I have a little fantasy about starting one day — rise leisurely, throw on my dressing gown over my chemise & stockings, & have a cup of coffee or chocolate while sitting by the windows. *sigh*
And I have a bunch of soft burgundy silk taffeta in The Stash perfect for the dressing gown. I may need a prettier shift to go with, but that’s easy enough to whip up.
Cape or Mantle
This may be a necessity, due to the time of year. Late spring/early summer weather is hopefully sunny in the south of France, but one must be prepared.
I don’t have any plans or fabrics for a little cape or mantle, but of the period images I’ve seen, I like this one the best. Just gotta line it with something super-warm!
To help my hubbi decide on his new suit, I put together a Pinterest board of fashion plates, extant garments, & fabrics, which he narrowed down. In fact, he PhotoShopped together this ideal image of what he wanted!
Not sure if I’ll make historically accurate pants (I hate to do so, & he’s not a fan of wearing them) or fake them. TBD. I also have a tricorn bought at Colonial Williamsburg to trim up for him.
Just as I want to swan about, so does my husband. So he gets a period robe, & I’m picking out a burgundy & gold striped silk, yet to be purchased.
This should be enough for both of us. I have plenty of hats & other accessories, & he should have enough shirts & stockings to last for the trip (without needing to do laundry every day :).
I might possibly bring along Leonard’s suit for some cross-dressing fun, tho’ I’d want a daytime wig that I’d need to style. Otherwise, I should be able to use wigs I currently have.
Still, that’s quite a large to-do list. Best get crackin’!