Monday, March 25, 2013

I Could Have Danced All Night

Oh, the ball!  It was so much fun!  I wish I could go to one every weekend.  :)  But you want to see the pictures, don't you?  Well, wait no longer!  

My accessories for the evening - American Duchess stockings and my newly decorated slippers (blog post on those coming soon!), long white silk gloves purchased at the bridal store where I work, pocket mirror for last-minute hair touch-ups, gold necklace and earrings, a drawstring reticule purchased at the Michigan Renaissance Faire last summer, my invitation, and of course I couldn't go time-traveling without my sonic screwdriver!  
I had to work on Saturday during the day, so I put my hair up in pin curls the night before, taking them out in the morning after they were dry.

I do so love pin curls.  
I then had to figure out some way to put it up so that it would still look good after a full day of work.  I started by pulling most of my hair up into a high ponytail, leaving two sections at the front free.  Next I divided the ponytail into a front half and a back half, creating a loose bun with curly ends sticking out from the front half, and an even looser "poof" with curly ends from the back half.  I twisted the front sections back and pinned them up into the bun with the ends hanging down, to create a look of carefully orchestrated chaos.  

My cousin Melissa provided the pearl necklace I used to drape across the front part.
This was after a full day of work and an hour-long drive (during part of which I napped)!
I carefully planned my accessories, as I wanted to be as period-accurate as possible.  I have very little "real" jewelry in my wardrobe, but I wanted to be authentic.  With this in mind, I decided to go with a charming coral necklace that was once my grandmother's, along with tiny diamond earrings that my other grandmother (who owned a jewelry store) gave me when I was a baby.  Both have real gold settings, so I felt they were as authentic as I was going to get.  

The gold flowers around the earring studs are removable, but I like them on.  
And of course I wore my adorable new slippers, which I had dyed, painted, and decorated with ribbons.  They were so fun, though!  And I got quite a few compliments on them.  :)  

Now for the dress!  Well, dresses.  :p  I'm glad I decided to make them separate, so I can always wear the blue one alone, or the white one over another dress in the future.  (If you missed any of my making-of posts, look here.)  

The ensemble turned out the be pretty comfortable, aside from the fact that I couldn't raise my arms above shoulder-height.  :p  Having no Regency stays (yet), I wore it over a white tank top with a built-in bra.  I also wore a knee-length petticoat with a small ruffle, which kept my long skirts from getting caught between my legs as I walked and danced.

I attended the ball with my cousin Melissa (in white) and our mutual friend Meghan (in white and green).

I loved Meghan's dress!  You can see her costume blog here.  
The ladies preparing to dance
Awaiting instructions...
I was very impressed by nearly every aspect of this ball.  There was so many people there!

And almost everyone was wearing proper period attire, or at least a reasonable facsimile. 

I had as much fun watching the dancing as I did participating.  The music was live, which as a lovely treat.

Does anyone know what this instrument on the right is called?  
The dancing was taught and led by a Dance Master, who first instructed us on the various sequences we would be performing, then called out the movements in time with the music after we had learned them.  My favorite dance was the Cotillion (I believe), which was essentially a square dance.  It had a refrain and several verses, and was marvelously complex from an outside perspective, but quite easy to perform once you knew the movements.  I wish I'd gotten a video of that one, but I didn't think of it until too late.

The Dance Master called out the cues
And people danced!  
Let's see if I can embed a video...

Looks like I can!  

I had endless fun critiquing all the lovely dresses I saw, as well.  I was most impressed with the ones that I could tell were made in the apron-front style, especially as I have yet to complete mine!  :p

My new friend Sarah (in the ivory dress with lace sleeves) made both her dress and her sister's (the ivory dress trimmed in burgundy).  Her blog is here.  
This was one of my favorite dresses of the night.  
Another of my favorite dresses
I also loved this sheer red one!  She was fun to watch when she danced, because the green under dress showed where she held up the train when she spun.  
I spotted this American Girl doll wearing a Caroline outfit, which made me so happy!  Love the little spencer and bonnet - not to mention the boots!  
I loved the shape and trim of this lady's sleeves - so similar to my own!  
This dress was my absolute favorite.  
Sorry this picture is blurry, but it's the best one I got of the front.  I believe her gown was made from a sari.
This girl had a fantastic turban!  And I love the draping of her bodice, too.  

I just realized that's Samantha from The Couture Courtesan!  Small blogging world!  

This guy wouldn't stop moving, but I just adore his coat!  
*sigh*  Why don't guys dress like that anymore?  
I enjoyed seeing the various ways ladies would bustle their dresses up for dancing. 
(If any of these pictures are of you and you don't want me using them, please feel free to contact me and I will take them down.)  

There was also food!  Everything was yummy:

Cucumber sandwiches, cranberry scones, strawberry jam tarts, and raspberry mousse
They also had a big punch bowl full of water with lemon slices, which was very refreshing and necessary!  All that dancing got me rather warm, especially as both my arms and legs were encased in silk!  And I learned that everything is slippery when you're wearing satin gloves...  

I also got a dance card, but I didn't use it:  

I didn't use the sonic screwdriver either, but it was always on hand should the need arise!  

Now I just need to make a spencer, a bonnet, another dress, more shoes, an embroidered shawl, and oh yes - more excuses to dress up in pretty dresses and go dancing!  

A sure sign of a good night - even my dresses look tired!  


  1. Im glad you went! My story was that I had planned to go the third year in MI and began making a dress, but never finished in time. The year I completed the dress, it had moved to IN. I have sold the dress I had made this year, the same year it went to MI. In other words,I have never had the chance, but Im glad you went! LOL

    1. Aww, bummer you kept missing it! Maybe you'll get to go next year? I probably won't, as I'm moving to Virginia in a few weeks, but it is a lot of fun!

  2. It looks like you had a lovely time! I love all the dresses and all the mens' coats. Also, the instrument on the right in the picture is a dulcimer! My Grandma plays one. :)


    1. The dulcimer, of course! Thank you, that was driving me crazy. :p And yes, I had a perfectly lovely time. :)

  3. hello!! i'm so glad you had a great time! my friend katie and i saw you go up the stairs and caught a glimpse of your shoes. "OMG LOOK AT HER SHOES!" we both said! your gown is lovely too! if you see me again, please say hi. i don't bite :)

    1. Thank you! I had a lot of fun decorating those shoes, as you can see by my latest post:

      I will definitely say hi to you next time! I gather you're moving to Virginia this summer? I'm moving there in a couple weeks! Eek! I haven't even begun to pack...

  4. What fun!
    The instrument is called a hammer dulcimer, and it's played with little padded hammers,
    Auntie Nan

    1. Thanks! I should have watched it being played, but I was too busy watching the dancing. It was so much fun - I want to go to another!