Tuesday, March 7, 2017

18th C Ensemble for Riley's Farm

This is a quick review for an 18th C ensemble I did last year for 
Riley's Farms 18th C  Colonial Faire event.

It was going to be very warm, even though the event was to be held indoors with air conditioning.  I knew I wanted a breathable fabric that was light weight cotton, silk would have been even too hot for this 100+ weather.  I had the inspiration, I had the fabric, I had the pattern.  Time to make it happen!

My inspiration gown and fabric closeup:                                                     
My Pattern and Fabric:

The fabric was a find at a local thrift shop, Ralph Lauren, Cotton Sateen, King Size sheets, six of them, for three dollars each for a total of $18, in perfect shape.  The pattern was $10 off ebay.  We all know Wingeo is more of a "Wing and a prayer" sort of pattern company, but this one for anyone with at least an intermediate sewing knowledge, should be fun and easy.  There are some light math calculations involved in the skirt yardage estimations, just as an FYI.
What drew me to this pattern was the back of the gown:
Very different from anything else I had seen out there, because who wants to spend all this time and effort to make a gown and have it look like everyone else's?  The pattern is based off an extant pattern the company owns, though no photos are provided, only noted in the instructions.
On the back of the gown, from the neckline to the hemline, is one solid piece of fabric with three giant darts/tucks/pleats, whatever you would like to call them, at the waist for fullness.  Pocket hoops are requred for the proper effect:.

Link to my blog post on making mine: http://vintageattirew-dnalof2007.blogspot.com/2014/08/18th-century-pocket-hoop-panniers.html

There are pleats from the front of the bodice around to the sides, but not in the back.  When pressed, it looks like two giant box-pleats when pressed flat.  It is very pretty and very unique.
The front of the ensemble has plenty of hand-cut ruching throughout, plus vintage lace at the sleeves.  The Stomacher was the easiest thing to make, but this was my first try with straight pinning a stomacher in, and I have to say, it was kind of scary, even knowing my corset was a protective layer of sorts.  Once I was all pinned in, I will say everything held in place perfectly, nothing came loose even while dancing, and I was never stabbed by my pins. Though I will say, I kept expecting to be for the first fifteen minutes or so, after that first initial concern, I could relax more comfortable knowing my gown was not going to draw blood.
The fabric was perfect for this ensemble.  The cotton sateen had just enough shine to it to make it shimmer with movement.  It was lightweight and cool to wear.  I had also make a very sheer cotton batiste 18th c chemise to wear underneath, again as a cooling layer against the heat, that worked very well.
Start to finish took approximately ten days.  I used my own hair, no wig, and did my own makeup, both of which took much longer than expected, even with practice.  I also made up some modern shoes to look the part!  Such fun!  Enjoy!

This ensemble was for Riley's Farms 18th Century Dinner Dance Masquerade in Oak Glen, California. They do a very nice job of this event, and have a great facility.  The 18th Colonial Faire runs several weekends in the summer.  Only down points for me, distance and it is right in the middle of summer and can be a bit warm.  Another interesting tidbit, if an attendee does not have proper 18th c attire, RF has a costume department that can dress them from head to toe in historically accurate attire for both men and women, and this includes hair and make-up included in the price!  Well worth the price for the amazing 18th century entertainment, stage show, historically accurate dinner, and dancing for a magical evening!
Link to photos of the day: http://dnalofdesigns.zenfolio.com/p677353493/slideshow

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