Sunday, November 22, 2015

Past Event - Lighthouse Marker Dedication

The Cape Henry Lighthouse dedicated a War of 1812 marker on August 8.  The Regency Society of Virginia was invited to participate and add "historic atmosphere" to the ceremony. 

RSV photo
Brian the Engineer and I arrived a bit late, because our GPS sent us to the wrong place.  But we found it eventually, and managed to catch the second half of the ceremony.  For more photos of what we missed, check out the RSV Facebook page.

Joseph Burroughs, a descendant of War of 1812 era lighthouse keeper Travy Burroughs, with Fort Story's Col. Penree
Retired Colonel Carter Furr laid a wreath from the War of 1812 Society in Virginia.
Nancy Dabney, Cape Henry Lighthouse Site Coordinator, emceed the ceremony.
The original lighthouse with a replica 15-star flag flying in front
After the dedication, we toured the lighthouse and snapped some photos of picturesque spots - of which there were many.

The new Cape Henry Lighthouse is just across the road from the original. 

Inside the lighthouse, we paused for a moment before climbing the steep spiral staircase:

Finally at the top, the view was spectacular!

I made Brian pose for a photo, since he'd done all the work of getting dressed up for me:

One the way back down, I took a picture out of the one window halfway up the tower:

And we got a couple shots with me in the doorway at the foot of the lighthouse:

I wore my new Yellow Sprigged Dress over a chemise, yellow bodiced petticoat, and chemisette.  I accessorized with my painted yellow boots, striped bonnet, and embroidered yellow shawl.  Brian wore his Blue Linen Tailcoat, Green Spotted Waistcoat, Cream Trousers, and a white linen shirt.  His accessories included black riding boots, a vintage black top hat, and a silk cravat.  I will be blogging about all of these menswear pieces soon! 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Completed Project - New Cap and Chemisette

I neglected to take any pictures of my new cap while I was making it back in April,  but I did have the foresight to cut out two caps simultaneously from the same pattern (which I made up myself).  So I can still show how I made it, as well as discuss the changes I plan to make to the second version.

Here is my cap: 

I made it from a scrap piece of very fine cotton with a nice, crisp feel to it.  This same scrap also gave me my new chemisette, which I'll talk about in a minute.

I was inspired by my friends' caps at various RSV events:

Stacy's lovely embroidered cap
Heather's dainty cap with inset lace
I studied both of these, and also found this pattern, which had the basic shape I was looking for in View B:

Spencer's Mercantile
I probably should have just bought the pattern, but I didn't want to wait for it to arrive.  It seemed easy enough, just four main pieces - a circular crown set far back on the head, a wide brim covering the top and sides, a smaller gathered back piece to fill in the space under the brim in back, and a ruffle.

Here are the pieces of the second cap, which I intend to embroider before I sew it together:

I didn't make a pattern piece for the front ruffle, since long rectangular pattern pieces always seem a bit unnecessary to me.  Instead I pull threads and cut on the grain to make a ruffle 1.5" wide and at least 1.5 times the length of the main cap piece.

This is what my paper pattern looks like:

I sewed the cap entirely by hand with flat-felled seams and a hand-rolled hem for the ruffle:

I pleated the ruffle instead of gathering it, which I may change on the next cap.

Here are the cut pieces for the second cap:

The changes I plan to make are: 1. To make the brim wider, hence the second strip added to the largest rectangle above, 2. To cut the crown (circle piece) smaller so that the brim gets more gathered into it at the back (see below), and 3. To add self-fabric ties to secure the cap under the chin.

I traced a spool of ribbon to obtain the smaller circle from the original pattern piece.
My chemisette is from the La Mode Bagatelle pattern, and the only modifications I made to it were rounding the corners of the ruffle (which added a bit of extra challenge to hemming it) and leaving off the snaps at the shoulders to attach it to the dress - which I slightly regretted later. 

I have no in-progress photos, but here are some pictures of me wearing it:

Like the cap, I sewed it entirely by hand.  The fine woven cotton was lovely to work with and nice to wear - sheer enough to be dainty, but crisp enough to give the ruffle some body.

I love how it fills in the necklines of all of my dresses:

Blue Day Dress + Sheer Overdress
Blue Day Dress
Apron-Front Gown
Yellow Sprigged Dress
It just adds a little bit of something to jazz up a daywear ensemble.

The one downside (and this could have been avoided if I'd added the snaps, as previously mentioned) was that it sometimes likes to pop out from under the shoulder of my white Apron-Front Gown:

The ruffle also has a life of its own, and likes to blow around in the breeze:

But that's actually kind of fun.  :p  

In conclusion - I would re-do the cap the fix some of the design flaws, except that it's all hand-sewn with flat-felled seams and therefore too much work to take apart.  I will content myself with fixing said flaws in the second iteration, along with embroidery for added visual interest.  My chemisette is dainty, fun to wear, and does an excellent job of protecting my fair skin from the sun and disguising the top of my chemise when it refuses to hide.

Which is always.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Past Event - Mother's Day Tea at Bacon's Castle

On May 9, the day before Mother's Day, the Regency Society of Virginia hosted a tea at Bacon's Castle in Surry, Virginia.  Several of us ladies volunteered to either serve the tea or act as hostess for one of the five tables of guests.  We arrived early to help set up: 

So many lovely caps:

I wore my very own brand-new cap, which is proper headwear for a married lady:

The chemisette was new, too.  Adding it to my Blue Day Dress and Sheer Overdress changed the look significantly, I think.  

We might be perfectionists.
The tables were so pretty!

An RSV member, Victoria, is a volunteer at Bacon's Castle.  She portrays various ladies who have lived in the house at different time periods.  For the tea, she was Louisiana Hankins:

We, of course, were fascinated by her futuristic fashion:

During the tea, she read letters from Mrs. Hankins to her daughters - in keeping with the Mother-Daughter theme of the tea.

This table had four generations of the same family (and one RSV hostess):

And they all had fabulous hats!

My table had a mother with three daughters: 

They were all very excited to be there, and we had some lovely conversations.  They had many questions about my attire. 

Kathleen played her beautiful Irish harp, providing a lovely ambiance for the afternoon:

After I got home from the tea (after cleaning up and packing away all the china) I had Brian take some pictures for me.  I wanted to showcase the cap and chemisette, plus the flowers out front were so pretty: 

The back of the cap:

I must blog about it soon.