Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A lot of tv and a little sewing.

Still putting off Christmassy things, I've been ordering movies through my interlibrary loan coworker...all are supposed to be set in the 1700s but the costuming says otherwise in a few, oh well! A listing so far:

Tom Jones: I keep watching this one over and over because I love the lower class clothing! The upper class is hit or miss but the bed gowns, striped petticoats, checked aprons, caps and such on the less-than-gentry are awesome. Plot: a lot of lighthearted fun and drama with comical star-crossed lovers.

City of Vice: again, loving the lower class, someone did some good research. Fairly dark subject matter but compelling look at the beginning of London's police force. Sad there are only 5 episodes!

A Harlot's Progress: I really liked some of the caps the women were wearing, and again there was some great middling to lower class clothing. Based on what might have inspired Hogarth to sketch his series by the same name (kind of depressing, really, but I can sit through anything for good clothes).

Fanny Hill: oh Lordy, I think there's more clothing OFF people than on them, but what can you expect of one of the most racy novellas ever to be banned from sale? There are some really pretty gowns and I definitely want to take some screencaps of a few of the hats to reproduce them. Plot: the debauching of a young country girl who finds her love in a bawdy house, loses him, sleeps with a lot of people, and then finds him again. If you have the vapors over nudity, I don't advise this one. The producer is Andrew Davies of Pride and Prejudice fame, and I have to say this is pretty well done too, just very, very naughty.

The Brotherhood of the Wolf:  this had pretty much nothing to do with the 1700s, costume-wise..most of the female clothing looked like Halloween costume parodies of what uninformed people think 18th century clothing looks like, with some weird peasanty renditions of 17th century wear as well. Awful. But I've always been interested in the legend of the Beast of Gevaudan, the creature who prowled the mountainous region of France, so this fanciful rendition of one of the theories about it was fun enough to make me want to watch it again. Just not for the clothes.

And speaking of clothes I have made a tiiiiny bit of gown progress...in between all the tv. The sleeves are on and are pitifully set in but I refuse to tear them out and recut just because I didn't have enough fabric in the shoulder to prettily pleat along the top. Whatever. I'm so over 18thc sleeves *grumble*. The gown has robings down the front, and I think the back has turned out really pretty with the trim along the top. Going to bed happy tonight.





Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A tippetuous time

This weekend I finished a tippet! With the weather having turned hideously cold (high of 29? really? I know I should give thanks I'm not in Alaska but this Midwestern girl likes moderate temperatures) I've been thinking about how 18th century folk had to deal with the cold....especially women. NO long gown sleeves for the better part of the century, mostly finger-less mitts, impractically short or thin-looking cloaks...ugh I don't think I would have survived, or else I would've been unfashionably wearing blankets everywhere.

But I quite like some of the winter accessories, like muffs, and especially tippets! Furry scarves? Sign me up. Now I should make the disclaimer that I do not like the thought of murdering tiny animals to wear them, but since my tippet is vintage I figure it's ok to recycle. Here's the inspiration for the tippet:

(Marquise de Lamure, née Charlotte-Phillippine de Chastres de Cange, by Charles-Antoine Coypel (1694-1752).) 

So much gorgeousness in this painting that I don't know where to look first. The adorable lace cap, the earrings, the fan, the gloves (WITH FINGERS thank god, at least this woman knew how to be practical) and funny arm-warmer things. Of course none of my clothing is anywhere near this fabulous or upper-class, but when I spied a bit of fur at the thrift store and realized it was about the same color as the tippet in this painting, I snapped it up.

Most likely it was a coat collar at some point -- the back was covered with satin and it was stuffed inside with some dubious batting, with a row of snaps along one edge presumably to stick it to the coat.




It had a row of netting along the other edge, which came in handy when stitching the fur shut into a little tube. No idea what kind of fur it is...it's not silky enough for mink, not rough or long enough for coyote...all I can think of is that maybe it's been chemically treated somehow, or faded in daylight. A friend said it looks like a furry snake now...it doesn't! Ok I'm not fooling anyone, it kind of does.



                                                             Tada! A tippet!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holidays = progress

As I'm procrastinating cookie baking and finishing decorating the house, I suddenly find there is time for sewing now, despite being busier than ever...funny how that works. Granted, a GREAT deal of my absence lately can be blamed upon my darling new child --the iPad Mini. I almost can't bear to take a shower because of how far away from it I have to be for ten minutes (ok not quite that bad, but I feel strangely bereft if it's in another room for too long). The degree of obsession, I unwisely supposed, would be much less than that I experienced when first getting an iPhone, because surely I'd be used to the whole thing now and it would be old hat. Foolish, foolish me.

At any rate, at least it's got a slightly better camera than the phone so it's (unimpressive) picture time!!! I don't know how well pictures attach from the mobile Blogger app (edit: not embedded within text, apparently) but here goes!

I was watching The History of Tom Jones, which really has fairly attractive 18th century clothing (certainly a few doozies as well though) and working on sleeve drafting tonight because somehow I lost the last paper pattern I drafted.

My first en fourreau back is still a bit iffy and certainly needs ironing but I'm rather proud of it, like a kid with his first horrible glue-dripping, macaroni-encrusted, cardboard picture frame craft. I.e., I know it's kind of a mess but at least I attempted it (and without a pattern!).

In my overflowing stash I found a bit of matelasse fabric and whipped up a "quilted" stomacher to go with the dress and I think it'll be rather pretty when the edges are covered by the gown. That fabric was ungodly expensive so it's a good thing JoAnn's only had a teeny bit left.

And I'll also treat you to a picture of King Coal, Ravager of Frocks. He has already chewed small holes in the gown skirt and got the butt-spankins of his little furry life, because he knows well and good he isn't allowed near my fabric. Oh well, I guess patching is authentic.







Thursday, October 18, 2012

Most Grievous Neglect

Oh dear.  I haven't paid any attention to blogging in a great while. I had several months of pet tribulations with my poor sweet childhood doggie, Honey, and we finally had to put her down before an inoperable tumor made her miserable. She was very elderly, and had cancerous tumors removed before, so it wasn't like this was wholly unexpected, but I still can't believe the grieving period and depression has been so intense. I genuinely feel like I lost a family member...maybe because other than my parents, she was the one consistent link to good memories with my brother, who is in a very hazardous part of Afghanistan right now and whom I worry about constantly.

SO. All the stress and vet visits and bills have kept me too busy for much sewing, but in the past week I have made significant progress on the striped en fourreau, which is not going to be a very attractive dress in my opinion. The fit should be fine, I just feel like the fabric is too coarse to be anything but a work-dress. I'm having to abandon my wishful pagoda sleeve and serpentine trim dreams, because they'd just look silly on this thing, sigh.  I'm trying to do actual robings for the first time (they're just tacked onto my yellow linen gown) and it's fiddly trying to decide how wide to make them. Don't think I will bother with a matching stomacher because I have some matelasse fabric that looks almost like some of the white corded/quilted stomachers in a few books.

OH SPEAKING OF BOOKS. I'm pretty sure I'm the last one to know about this since I haven't even been reading blogs, but, MetPublications put so.much.stuff online for free pdf download.  American Portraits in Miniature, Eighteenth Century French Drawings in New York Collections, John Singleton Copley in America, Period Rooms in the Metropolitain Museum, The Eighteenth Century Woman, and...I swooned with happiness... Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the Eighteenth Century. I am going to abuse the daylights out of my free printing privileges here at work. Yes.

Last but not least, the lovely Choll at Thread-Headed Snippet awarded me a "Versatile Blogger" award...I was so darn busy being versatile that I didn't get around to mentioning it! Thank you, dearest blogger of snark and awesome! Right now I can't do the requisite pasting and referring and so-forth (in fact I'm not sure there's much point in referring because everyone I would recommend has already been awarded, drat) but I am most honored, if unforgivably absent.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Late-summer

I've been working slowly on a new work-gown of blue and light-grey stripe, and it's the first en-fourreau I have ever attempted. The fabric is at least part linen but has a rougher texture to it...this will probably end up just being a lower-class gown because of the fabric, but hey I might make detachable sleeve ruffles and make up some serpentine trim out of extra fabric for the fun of it. The back pleats are a LOT harder than I was anticipating, sadly, but they didn't turn out too badly I think. Pardon the wrinklyness...it just came out of a work bag.


And this is Max, who was "helping" me by flopping down on my fabric when I was showing the back pleats to my mother. He has a downright princely sense of entitlement so when I went to pull it out from under him, he growled. I covered him with the rest of the skirt and he took a nap. Oh dogs.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Long-overdue event pictures

Wow I have had a case of the summer lazies, bigtime.  I haven't even attempted any projects since the first weekend of June, which was when the biggest 18thc event around here was held -- the Rendezvous. There are always a deplorable number of the ole grizzled mountain-men types with their amazingly Caucasian-looking squaw wives making Hamburger Helper meals in the skillet, but I do think it's improving little by little. The actual context is a range from 1720-1820, in an area where the French first settled and established a series of forts along the Mississippi, then the English came and took over, and Americans filtered in after that. So it certainly allows for a lot of re-enacting leeway (still doesn't excuse Plains teepees and slovenly looking wenches in chemises, paisley drawstring skirts and bare feet, but that doesn't stop some people. Sigh.).



The weather was so beautiful this year compared to last year's, which was in the 90s and 100s and humid as a sauna. In fact, it was downright chilly in the evenings and early mornings! I was so glad I had brought my mitts and heavy wool wrap! I did a lot of sitting by fires until the sun was up and going. I didn't make a fire near my tent because I figured I'd never be there to watch it anyway, so I wandered around until I found friends with fires. Friday I wore my grey linen petticoat, navy blue jacket, and pink-checked apron, and was very cozy with my grey mitts.

Mr. E and I visiting while we wait for the day to warm up

My wretched Simplicity gown came out of the closet again, although the addition of cuffs, a better stomacher front, and polonaising it made me much happier to be seen in it than last year, or the year before. I'm hoping that when I get another gown done this fall, I can retire the Simplicity yellow gown for good. It's just got a lot of structural issues that I cannot fix because I haven't got any more of the fabric. It is some sort of nice linen blend and feels great even on hot days, but the sleeve seam in particular is in the wrong spot and the back is a hideous faux-fourreau. The linen is really too limp to polonaise but I've already hemmed this thing like five times and wasn't about to do it again just to get it off the ground. I had a quilted "puffer petticoat" that made it stand out a lot better but I got too warm by the afternoon to keep it on. My pretty painted Devonshires were on but I didn't get a good shot of them in action. They stood up pretty well to all the grass and gravel with just a few nicks in the leather.




But I did get invited to be in the "fashion show"! So excited! They put me up with a couple of other ladies of various stations, and a really knowledgeable young woman, whose name I forgot (Kate, maybe?), gave a lovely talk about what clothing would have been seen and on whom. I was so grateful for many of the points made during the show, like if women went without stays which was rarely, they would have worn a bedgown, that men just did not do anything without waistcoats unless they were laboring, and that the Indians in the area did NOT live in teepees and wear full Plains headdresses. Hopefully the visitors who attended then went away and looked at some of the more stubborn "old-timers" who refuse to change and maybe asked them some questions like "why are you dressed like such and such? we just heard that they didn't do that here."  There were definitely some fantastic Indians who were part of the fashion show, and they were so well researched as to their clothing, facial markers, head feathers, and accessories. I was really impressed by them and so was Mr. E., who is determined to be an Indian next year, and got in contact with one of the guys. Guess I get to make him a new shirt with a print on it...HE can go live over in the Indian camp and I will stay on the respectable side of the fort with the other palefaces.



The final day I wore my new pink gown, which, while pretty, was HOT. No more heavy fabrics for me. Parasols, I found out recently, were definitely in the area about 1730-40, being mentioned in a will, so heck yes I was gonna carry mine even if perhaps the shape isn't quite right. I was tired of being in the sun. And I wore one of the little miniatures I made, so fun! And no neckerchief because I was a hot cranky loser.


And I got to be in the fashion show for the second day as well! The young woman again narrating the women's section looked down at my pink silk-clad feet, paused in the middle of what she was saying, and said "Girl, are those American Duchess shoes?! Hot dog!" I had to giggle that out here smack-dab in the Midwest, Lauren's lovely shoes have gained notoriety already!


I had a really lovely time and got pictures taken a lot although I apparently ALWAYS smile like a chipmunk on crack, sigh. Will have to make my goal for next year to smile in a more civilized and mysterious manner.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Gearing Up (slapdash clothes, miniature portraits, and shoe-binding)

Next weekend is the biggest 18thc event around here, so I have been hurriedly throwing some last-minute things together for other people. My gentleman-friend now has three pairs of breeches, two I sewed myself (baggy, saggy, but at least he won't be running around in a loincloth, ugh), and the other...was formerly an unspeakable atrocity. I should have taken some before pictures but I was sure it wasn't savable.



The breeches in the middle began their life as a canvas pair of long trousers, only they were the skinniest trousers I have EVER seen...like the 18thc equivalent of skinny jeans. Also, at one point, they had been dyed with a walnut stain, only over time they faded to a delicate pastel shade of pink. 18thc pastel-pink skinny jeans. And to top that off, they had stains and light patches and a blown-out posterior from a sudden skid down a hill. But for the heck of it, I thought "at least he'll have a bum-around pair to cook in instead of ruining the nice corduroy ones I made" so I cut them off, dyed them with some random powder-dye from Walmart, and while I wish they had stayed the rich dark blue that they were before a rinse and a wash, I have to say that the dusty blue is an improvement on pastel pink. The splotches and stains aren't gone but he's delighted. I even sewed some non-functioning buttons on the sides.


Then I also unwisely promised a friend that IF I got the chance, I'd try to whip up something for her to wear if she came down for the day, so she gets a purple ensemble.


Lovely former lavender drapes on top, darker purple bedsheet skirt on bottom. There was no way I was going to buy fabric from anywhere but the thrift store if it might not even get worn!

 Yeeeahhh I don't really know what that is. It's a rare caraco-shortgown-jacket. Good thing my friend doesn't know the slightest about accurate clothing.

And this week, I got some lovely things in the mail, all the fault of Lauren over at American Duchess, as usual. First off, an "imperfect" pair of silk Georgies (pfft, looked fine to me) that I dyed a lovely light pink. Then some petersham ribbon from The Sewing Place in "misty blue" and "peach blossom" to bind my two silk pairs of shoes with, as Lauren demonstrated on a pair of her Regency shoes a while back. It is SUPER easy. I just picked up an Aleen's craft glue pen from Walmart and applied it to the petersham ribbon in small sections, which you then press down onto the shoe and kind of stretch and smooth and pinch it to make it "stick." With the blue shoes, I didn't have faith that the glue was sticky enough so I carefully paperclipped the ribbon to the shoe, and ended up with weird wire indentations all along the ribbon binding. I went ahead and just trusted the glue on the pink shoes and they turned out fine.


 
     Accessories galore. I wish all my shoes could sleep in bed with me, I love them THAT much.

And lastly I got some fun pendants and clear sticker cabochons from an etsy seller Lauren recommended in her miniature portraits tutorial, so that all I had to do was print off some pretty portraits from the internet, glue them to the pendant, and stick the clear sticker cabochon over the picture! So easy, so cute. 

 
Aww. Imaginary sweethearts. The guy is a total historical hottie.


So that is what I've been up to lately...unless I miraculously get time this week to dress up in what I'll be wearing next weekend, I probably won't post until I get time to go through my photos after the event...so excited to finally wear all the things I've been working on over the past year!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Ultimate Dream Shoe

I have always had a shoe fetish. There are definitely a good 60 modern pairs in my closet...most of them only cost about $1 from the thrift store though so I figure it's excusable, and I really do wear them all (If you ever read this, I DO, MOM! Truly)!

So every time the American Duchess herself, Lauren, puts out a new 18th century shoe, my bank account sighs in dismay, because it knows it is about to take a hit. I was very reluctant to spend that much money on a shoe I would only wear a few times a year at re-enactments. However, when my first pair of silk Georgianas arrived, I fell completely in love with the craftsmanship, the smooth leather sole, and the graceful shape, not to mention how incredibly comfortable they were for hours on end. Then came the Devonshires, equally perfect and in durable leather, which I had fun painting and then re-painting, and will probably re-paint again in the future.

Now comes THE shoe I have been waiting for....the Pompadour...A glorious confection of jacquard, ribbon and smooth leather, in either white (which I saw on her Facebook was EASILY dyeable) or black (which I'm getting, because I need a solid black pair of shoes but don't want boring smooth leather). Cannot WAIT for them to come in! If you're at all thinking about them...go order! Lauren needs 100 orders to put these into production and I will be heartbroken if she doesn't make it! These shoes are beautiful collectors' items, but I have no doubt will prove as durable as the silk Georgianas, which I have worn outside several times now (though they are not made for outside wear) and they have held up beautifully in grass and gravel.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Sewing/Work bags

Man-clothing is killing my soul right now...I derive no pleasure from boring waistcoats and breeches, but I did make a solemn promise that I'd make a full outfit for a gentleman-friend. I'm cutting a lot of corners with material, patterns, and sewing machine on long invisible seams, but luckily he doesn't care (YET. I'm waiting for the day he demands complete accuracy and hand-sewing, eek). The shirt is done (yay bedsheet), the waistcoat is being sewn (yay thrift-store drapes), and the breeches are cut (bargain-table corduroy and Jack Sparrow pattern? Sweet). I haven't decided if I want to make a not-historically-accurate frock coat from said costume pattern since this ensemble is going to be worn in the heat of summer. He says "yes," I say "I'm not fanning you when you die from heatstroke."

So I have been using the little breaks I've been taking to look at 18th century work or sewing bags, thinking that might make a nice small project to take to events. There is such a variety out there in various collections!

 Love this pretty little bag from the Met, although it's a bit late in the century, 1795.


 This one from the National Trust Collection looks VERY much like it could have been made from an old embroidered waistcoat. Doesn't that placket of trim in the middle look like the pocket flap?


Huh. A drawstring bag from an auction...not really any info (late 18thc, early 19thc), but it's interesting, even if not very attractive. Makes me think of Native Americans in Maine for some reason...


This one from the V&A collection is quite exotic looking; date is very vague (1700-1800), and the silk was made in China with the ribbon added later once the bag was made up in Europe.


 One of my favorites, also late in the century, circa 1799, France, silk, from the LACMA collections. But am I willing to go crazy on embroidery and tassels? Not sure yet.


Woman's drawstring workbag, "Ce panier de fleur" 1780-1800 Origin: Europe, France, from the Colonial Williamsburg collection. 


 Listed as a "Sewing bag" 1750-60, French, silk, from the Met's online collection. This one is very much to my liking; it looks easy to make and doesn't involve a lot of embroidery if I could find similar fabric.

 Late in the century at 1794, but it's pretty much just a plain sewn fabric bag with a channel for a drawstring...nice to know they existed! From the National Trust Collections. I think it's pictured folded in half. Actually if I attached handles to it, this would make a lovely modern-day bookbag...


1790 bag. Maybe other people don't mind this color scheme but I find it SO reminiscent of 1970's couch upholstery fabric :(  Still, another one that doesn't entail a lot of embroidery! Also from the National Trust Collections.

This is by far my favorite bag, because look how easy it would be to make! I like the bright cheery colors. There's no specific date pinned to this one, 18th century is the narrowest guess by the National Trust Collections.


And then, I found this...

A "handkerchief case." WHAT?! Like there wasn't enough to embroider with tapestries and pillows and workbags and samplers?! 18th century women apparently felt the need to embroider the bejaysus out of everything they could lay their hands on. I bet they would have embroidered their dogs if they'd held still long enough. Who needs a handkerchief case?!  

Incredulity aside, it's got an interesting description of materials used by the supposedly North American maker: Birchbark, Moosehair, Silk. I wonder if some frontier wife, longing for finer civilization, decided to make something pretty with the materials she had. Perhaps she gave it to her husband for his birthday and he said "How nice, dear....what is it?"

I didn't even look at reticules, gaming purses and the like! Nice to know though that if I run out of other projects, I can always make a handkerchief case.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Painted Devonshires...i.e., tax procrastination!

Alright, I am mostly done with my taxes, but as always happens with something boring, I started itching to do a quick project that wouldn't take as long as the new en fourreau I've been planning. With Angelus leather paints from Dharma, I had previously painted my American Duchess Devonshires a pretty sort of maize-yellow (ok it was a little more mustardy than anticipated).
 So pretty, but I'm always tweaking...

But ever since I saw Caroline's ridiculously gorgeous painted silk shoes, I have been dreaming about doing a little bit more to my yellow Devvies. So I was flipping through What Clothes Reveal by Linda Baumgarten and spied an adorable pair (page 19) of yellow (possibly more ivory, it's hard to tell because it depends on the lighting in the pictures) brocaded silk with blue trim, and fell in love!
 Sorry, terrible scan of the photo from the book but you get the idea
Much better photo cropped from this one at CW's website

Previously, the shoes had been coated with the Angelus leather finish because they were ready to be worn, so when I made up my mind to re-paint, I took the leather preparer/deglazer to them, which is fascinating stuff -- technically you could take off every coat of paint on the shoes and get right back down to the white leather every time you felt like having a totally different pair! 

I managed with just a few of the Angelus colors: white, yellow, champagne and sapphire, mixing to get the shades I wanted, and spent the last two nights painting away while watching the first season of Game of Thrones.



Not gonna lie...they spent last night beside my bed so I could see them when I woke up, haha. Are they exact copies of the brocade CW shoes? Nope! I couldn't see every angle in the photos and had to guess at a lot, and took rather a lot of artistic license with the flowers because really, plants are NOT my forte (I mostly paint medieval illuminations).  Also, the shine of the leather will always give the shoes away as not being fabric, but I am thinking about getting the matte leather finish (I had satin finish before) to see if it will cut back on the shine a bit.  Unfortunately, these shoes are WAY too fancy to go with any of my current gowns...guess I'll have to make a new one! Drat ;)


Thursday, April 5, 2012

18th Century Vacation Part 1: Gowns, Waistcoats and Sundry

I'm not sure if I should put all these pictures under a cut...I don't think it's like LJ that stretches out the "Friends" page since my blogger dashboard only ever shows a fraction of people's posts. If the layout is a problem for someone and I need to cut it, please let me know! I will not at all be offended! Maybe just a little ;)

In advance, I would like to apologize profusely for the sad quality of the photos...Coming across these items was the farthest thing on my mind that day and the only camera with me was my iphone, which is PITIFUL in low light. Plus I was shaking a little bit like a child with a Halloween night sugar high.

All these items come from the Old Exchange in Charleston, SC, and I didn't see any signs prohibiting photography or online sharing of images, so I'm hopefully not breaking any laws!

 
I highly recommend reading the history of the building on their website if you're curious: I probably should have because then I would've learned that "Charles Town" was the fourth-largest and purportedly wealthiest city in colonial America. Holy cow, NO idea. Anyway, super cool that pirates and signers of the Declaration alike were kept prisoner in the dungeon...it was incredible to press my hands against the very brick they had walked and sat on. And the ball room where George Washington danced...anyway, I may make a separate post on architecture/gardens later. 

On to the artifacts! I'll reiterate some of the labels so you don't have to squint, but I THINK you should be able to click on pictures to get them larger (Edit: NOPE. Apparently they're not ALL clickable. I've got them up on my Flickr though if it's easier to see.) If you'd like to use them elsewhere (even with the wretched quality) please ask me first :)

Knitted Mitts

"Lace fichu and cuffs, origin unknown" (uh oh, "fichu." Hallie Larkin would have something to say about that...)

Lace that appeared in a portrait in 1759


"Memorandum File" just looks like a stitched wallet to me but of course I couldn't see the inside. It's cute...I like it better than flamestitch.


 
"Wedding fan 18th century owned by Elizabeth Allen Deas." GORGEOUS. 


 
"Huguenot Relic - Ladies' silver stomacher." This was beautiful...it looked like doily of metalwork and spangles, and I guess would have been sewn onto an actual stomacher.


 
Cute!



 
Ugh, the stitching of young girls back then makes me feel woefully inadequate.


 
Waistcoat belonging to unknown


 
Waistcoat belonging to Henry Laurens




 
 
Waistcoat belonging to General William Moultrie



Waistcoat belonging to Thomas Sumpter


And my favorites...the two gowns. It must just have been my backwoods ignorance to be surprised that both were sacques...with such a thriving international port to both the Indies and England, clearly they were a lot more cosmopolitan than I first thought! It probably should not have been such a shock to me because in my area where French colonial wills exist from 1720-50, anywhere where a silk gown was mentioned, I'm guessing it would probably have been a sacque. Again, sorry for the poor quality, the phone camera and the glare off the glass cases were not helping.


First gown, a "Dove's Neck Brocade Dress" notable for the silk supposedly having been produced in South Carolina:




Is this "fly fringe"? It's very pretty trim.

The stomacher opened down the middle...is it "compere" even if it doesn't have buttons?

 Closeup of the sleeve ruffle, and you can see the pleating at the hip just beyond it, I'm assuming to help the gown smooth over panniers or pocket hoops.

The sleeve cap/shoulder

Sorry, very poor shot of the back...my mother would NOT let me get down on the floor and shimmy under the case to take a picture. What do you mean, polite people don't do that in a museum? Dang.

Gown #2, a "Yellow Brocade Dress":



Close-up of self-fabric trim on sleeve

Probably linen lining from what I could see of it, and I really liked the serpentine trim. 

 
View of the stomacher

And the woefully inadequate back-view. Very pretty gown...wish it was in good enough shape for them to put on a mannequin but the silk had so many tiny shreds in it that I'm sure they didn't want to put that much strain on it.

What do you think? Did they do a decent job dating these items? I wasn't sure about some of the wording or dates on a few labels but I'm too amateur to do any disputing. It was just lovely to have a chance to be so close to all this and I'd go back in a heartbeat if I got the chance...with a better camera.