Friday, June 29, 2012

The 18thC Bug Strikes Again!

This summer, I've been volunteering at a local museum and working with their exhibits group. We just finished our newest exhibit, which focuses on the First Ladies. For the opening last night, they had a few costumed interpreters dressed like first ladies, and I was asked to be Abigail Adams! (Coincidentally my favorite first lady... :D) A lovely woman whom I know from both the museum and reenacting lent me a complete 18thC outfit, including underpinnings and a silk dress she made, and *drumroll* a cap, fichu, pearl wedding necklace, and earrings THAT WERE ALL ORIGINAL PIECES FROM THE 1770s!!!!! I was so excited I almost passed out. In this awesome ensemble, I wandered around the museum and told visitors about my famous husband and son, and my time in the White House. My family and a friend even came to see me! All in all, it was a wonderful evening.

Chilling with my pals Martha Washington and Dolley Madison
Photo Credit: John McKay at the Plymouth Canton Patch
(To see the rest of the article, go here.)

But now...

My pining after my very own 18thC outfit has grown to become unbearable. I went to the custom corset pattern generator (link!) earlier, which I've had in the back of my mind for some time now, and made myself a pattern for stays. They're a little early for Rev War, but should do the trick of squashing me flat as a board without too much trouble or the cost of another pattern. I then found a piece of fabric that was exactly the right size and weight in my stash, which was left over from making my Civil War reticule. Destiny? I think so. It's a lovely thick teal moiree, which I think will look stunning with the white binding I'm planning. I am lining the stays with the ticking fabric that I recently found in the JoAnn's remnant bin. (At about $6 for 3/4 yard, I couldn't resist. I have a longstanding love affair with ticking fabric, and no idea why.) I knew it would come in handy--it's a bit sturdier than most cottons, and I expect it to wear up decently well. I may still have to stick a layer of canvas in to thicken it up--we'll see! Now to raid my sewing stash for every inch of boning I have, and I'll be off! This will be verrrry interesting, as I've never attempted a corset or stays of any type before. I guess I have to start somewhere, and this looks easier than the Victorian corset that's also on my sewing list!

The pattern cut out on the fold.
No, the ticking stripe color does not match the teal.
No, this does not bother me.

They do not call me "She-who-starts-189-projects-at-once-and-thus-finishes-them-all-very-slowly" for nothing. (Well, if anyone did, it would be warranted anyhow...) In my defense, I'm over half done with my patriotic apron star appliques, and got a good chunk of the hemming done earlier. I still plan to have it done for Hastings, as well as my new hat! The new stays will be more of a side project, for when I'm not busy with Civil War sewing.

One last bit of news: I am currently in the middle of a giant Horatio Hornblower binge, having been introduced to it by a friend. So good! Highly recommended. I like it even better then Sharpe, though they're both great Napoleonic Wars dramas.

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