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Regency costumes, thedreamstress.com

Regency Ladies by the River or, Playing the Plantain Game

I’ve been working on my photography skills over the last year and a bit, getting better at settings, and angles, and playing with new things. I still get 1 decent image for every 25 I take, but hey, practice makes perfect (or at least, a little bit better…).

The Wellington historical sewist have been letting me practice on them every time we do a dress up event. There was lots of practicing at our 2019 Sew & Eat Historical Retreat. (Practicing does include me setting all the functions and handing the camera over to someone else).

I’m still most comfortable with ‘people stand perfectly still and pose photos’:

Regency costumes, thedreamstress.com
Regency costumes, thedreamstress.com
Regency costumes, thedreamstress.com

But once you’ve done those, and the obligatory ‘smell the flowers and look into the river’ photos…

Regency costumes, thedreamstress.com
Regency costumes, thedreamstress.com

And pretend to push each other into the river…

Regency costumes, thedreamstress.com
Regency costumes, thedreamstress.com

Then you have to get more creative!

So I taught the ladies how to play the plantain game.

Regency costumes, thedreamstress.com

It’s a shooting game you play with plantain grass heads. My first memory of playing it is with my family outside one of the cabins in Haleakala Crater. The goal of that particular game was to hit a nene goose with your grass head. It’s definitely the only kind of shooting of nene geese that’s allowed!

Here are two videos of how you do it:

I taught Nina:

Regency costumes, thedreamstress.com

And she taught everyone else while I took photos:

Regency costumes, thedreamstress.com

And it was a great success, because I got all of these, completely unposed!

Regency costumes, thedreamstress.com
Regency costumes, thedreamstress.com
Regency costumes, thedreamstress.com

Best of all we had a great time, and have lovely memories of a sunny morning by the river…

The NZSEHR 2019 in Regency thedreamstress.com
Ribbed silk with embroidered cutwork trim Materials Gift of Elsie Gray Townsend, Albany Institute, 1947.43.2ab

Rate the Dress: 1880s ribs, pleats, lace, and buttons

I missed Rate the Dress last week because I had too much on – which was not the case for the dress and spencer themselves, which you deemed almost perfectly decorated. This week I’m pushing the ‘how much can you put on a dress’ envelope – but in a surprisingly restrained way.

Last Week: an 1820s dress & spencer ensemble

A couple of you were lukewarm about the dress, but most of you loved the detailing, the pairing of blush and cream, and the wardrobe options that a dress and spencer would allow.

The Total: 9.5 out of 10

Practically perfect – the bride (if it was a bride) can feel that her dress passed the test of time

This week: an 1882-3 day dress in fawn brown

The description of this dress in my post title may make it sound like a lot. There’s pleats, on pleats, with lace trim, and overskirts, and overbodices with very interesting peplum effects, and oh-so-many buttons down the front:

Ribbed silk with embroidered cutwork trim Materials Gift of Elsie Gray Townsend, Albany Institute, 1947.43.2ab
Day dress, 1882-3, Ribbed silk with embroidered cutwork trim, Gift of Elsie Gray Townsend, Albany Institute, 1947.43.2ab

But all of this (excepting the lace) is done in one fabric, in a very restrained colour.

Day dress, 1882-3, Ribbed silk with embroidered cutwork trim, Gift of Elsie Gray Townsend, Albany Institute, 1947.43.2ab
Day dress, 1882-3, Ribbed silk with embroidered cutwork trim, Gift of Elsie Gray Townsend, Albany Institute, 1947.43.2ab

What do you think? Still too much? Or has the drab colour scheme managed to make even all that decoration dull?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

A reminder about rating – feel free to be critical if you don’t like a thing, but make sure that your comments aren’t actually insulting to those who do like a garment.  Phrase criticism as your opinion, rather than a flat fact. Our different tastes are what make Rate the Dress so interesting.  It’s no fun when a comment implies that anyone who doesn’t agree with it, or who would wear a garment, is totally lacking in taste. 

(as usual, nothing more complicated than a .5.  I also hugely appreciate it if you only do one rating, and set it on a line at the very end of your comment, so I can find it!  And 0 is not on a scale of 1 to 10.  Thanks in advance!)