This time last year, when I realised that I couldn’t afford to go to Costume College 2018, I sobbed** about it to some friends, and the amazing Miss Priscilla said “Awww, we’ll throw a New Zealand CoCo for you”.
Which is a pretty amazing offer considering that Priscilla isn’t a historical costumer!
In wonderful synchronicity, Nina of Smash the Stash had had me bring back a bunch of Regency sewing patterns from CoCo 17 so she could make a Regency wardrobe, and she started holding monthly historical sewing get-togethers.
So once a month for all of 2018 Nina, Priscilla***, Eloise of Linen and Lining, and Hvitr of Historical Living (and sometimes Madame O) have been getting together and working on historical sewing projects, and planning a reason to wear what we were working on. And our reason, while not quite NZ CoCo, was wonderful and lovely (and maybe even better).
We settled on a Labour Day Weekend sewing and dress up retreat, and found an adorable cottage on a beautiful estate just an hours drive from Wellington to hold it at. It was the five of us, and Zara of Off-Grid Chic, who we have recently converted to the dark-and-involving-lots-of-handsewing-side.
Nina is also interested in historical food†, so the retreat grew to include historical food.
And, despite a last-minute broken foot, and a really talented truck driver†† who managing to crash his truck full of hazardous goods so spectacularly that he closed the main road out of Wellington for almost 24 hours at the start of Labour Day Weekend, meaning that I had to drive the extremely-scary-I’m-never-going-to-do-that-again-unless-it’s-life-or-death Paekakariki Hill Road ††† we had an AMAZING time.
I’ll post a bit more about our menus, but for now here are some of my favourite photos of the event.‡
I’m hoping that the other blogging members of the group will blog about their garments soon, so I won’t post too many individual images of anyone.
*Only we had so much fun we want it to be biannual, or triannual.
** Not really sobbed. More ‘posted sad faces about it on Facebook’.
*** Who managed to sew four pairs of outrageously patterned pants, one dress she didn’t like, and no historical garments whatsoever.
†I’m blaming the fact that my Regency dress is too snug on the amazing Eccles cakes and other historical treats she trials on us every sewing get-together.
†† Don’t worry, he was barely hurt^ , so we can be suitably annoyed at him without feeling bad.
^ Except for his dignity, which I imagine was severely bruised.
††† And I’m from Hawai’i and have road tripped all over NZ, so my standard for ‘extremely scary’ is pretty high. I’m totally OK with hairpin turns. Hairpin turns with a sheer 200 meter drop on your side, and no guard rails^? Not so fun.
^ And way-too-big for the road at any time muscle cars heading to a rally in Wellington on the mountain side.
‡ Taken by me if they don’t include me, and whoever isn’t in the photo if they do!