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Here there be Pirates,

Arrrrr Matey! A Pirate Picnic

Last October Redthreaded hosted ‘Fall for Costume’ on Instagram, with daily themes.  One of them was ‘Pirates’, and I realised that I’d never dressed up as a pirate!

That was clearly an omission that must be rectified, so I threw a pirate picnic.

After all, what the point of being a costumer if you can’t let yourself go and be totally dorky every once in a while?

Here there be Pirates,

So I invited a bunch of friends willing to be dorky with me, and we all raided our wardrobes for striped shirts and big puffy white blouses, and boots and hats, and cutlasses and blunderbusses, and weighed anchor for the treasure coast.

Here there be Pirates,

The location I picked is conveniently quite deserted, so that we could be blissfully undisturbed in our dorkiness.  Because while I don’t mine being dorky, I like to do it as inconspicuously as possible!

Even more conveniently, it was relatively sheltered from the strong, blustery Northerly wind sweeping across Wellington that day.

The wind did a lovely job of fluttering our feathers and sweeping our sashes most artistically.

We did decide that most of the classic ‘pirate-y’ clothing – all those feathered tricorn hats and heeled boots, hoop earrings, and big shirts and trousers, are totally impractical for all the things you’d do as a pirate.  The wind tried to blow our hats away, and tangled our sashes round our legs, and whipped our hooped earrings against our face.  All most inconvenient!

Here there be Pirates,

I’d meant to go for full 18th century lady-pirate, in stays and layers of petticoats, but was feeling sartorially lazy, so went 1930s-costume party pirate, with my Wearing History Chic Ahoy trousers, a striped singlet adapted from my personal T-shirt pattern, and lots of bracelets and sashes and a tricorn hat.

Also in attendance was Eloise of Linen & Linings.  I met Eloise years ago at a Versailles themed mystery dinner, and have recently reconnected.  Someone else in Wellington as mad about historical sewing as me!  I’m rather in awe at her speed though – she decided to make her husband that shirt, and handsewed it in just a few days!

Here there be Pirates,

Madame O, as always, had the best feathers:

Here there be Pirates,

And there was even a baby pirate, who thoroughly enjoyed the Pirate-y antics:

Here there be Pirates,

Here there be Pirates,

Much fun was had, and nobody had to walk the plank!

Here there be Pirates,

Rate the Dress: Edwardian pink and Lace

Wearing History and I are hosting Edwardian & the Great War March on Instagram: (TagL #greatwarmarch) for all of March, carrying on from American Duchesses’ Victorian February and Dames a la Modes Georgian January.

If you’re on IG you can join us by sharing anything relevant to the daily theme from between 1900-1924 and tagging @wearinghistory and I (@thedreamstress)

Edwardian & Great War March #greatwarmarch hosted by @wearinghistory and @thedreamstress

To celebrate, March’s Rate the Dresses will be themed to those years. There is a ton of variations in fashion from between 1900-1924, so I don’t think you’ll get bored!

Last week: a beaded ca. 1810 dress

No one could deny that the beading on last week’s dress was exceptional.  Some of you found the dress itself a little nightgown-y.  That beading definitely wouldn’t have been fun to sleep on!

The Total: 8 out of 10

Mostly I think for the beading!  Without it the dress wouldn’t be anything.

This week: a late Edwardian dress in pink velvet and lace

Dress, 1910’s From the collection of Alexandre Vassiliev

Dress, ca. 1910, From the collection of Alexandre VassilievThis afternoon or restrained evening dress combines the lush romanticism of the early Edwardian era with the vivid hues and more streamlined silhouette made popular by the Ballet Russes and other modernist and exotic influences.

The layering of fabrics and textures is typical of ca. 1910 fashion.  Delicate, sheer tulle mutes the lush cyclamen pink silk velvet.  The circular and floral lace applied to the tulle appears to be an earlier 19th century lace – possibly from the 1860s.  The final layer of lace is a lush metallic lace, which adds visual weight to the hem and borders, and carries out the progression of textures from light to heavy.

What do you think?  Do the materials work together?  Does the saturated pink keep it from being too sweet?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

(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!  Thanks in advance!)


Labyrinth with Wearing History Nanette Blouse thedreamstress.com01

The Nanette Blouse goes geeky

What do you do if you realise that if you add a wig, grey leggings and a vest to the Wearing History Nanette Blouse, you have a perfect Jareth from Labyrinth costume?

Obviously you have a Labyrinth photoshoot!

Labyrinth with Wearing History Nanette Blouse

And what do you do when your friend’s 11 month old looks exactly like Toby from Labyrinth had a twin sister?

Obviously you make little Tobie a red & white striped top and leggings, and steal her for your photoshoot!

Labyrinth with Wearing History Nanette Blouse

Don’t worry, I gave her back before the 13 hours was up!

Labyrinth with Wearing History Nanette Blouse

It turns out that Labyrinth is a great theme for a kiddie photoshoot, because you get to use fun sparkly props.  They are perfect for keeping the wee one distracted and looking in the right direction.   My sparkle is a Czech glass necklace and the prism top from a decanter – I was improvising!

Labyrinth with Wearing History Nanette Blouse

Labyrinth with Wearing History Nanette Blouse

My makeup is another improvisation.  It was all done with a single $5 eyeshadow palette!  I’m not a makeup expert (to put it mildly), so I was really pleased with the outcome.

Labyrinth with Wearing History Nanette Blouse

I’m not so pleased with the wig.   It’s a wee bit too sticky-upy, and a wee bit black and white. I had to order it weeks in advance and there wasn’t time to find an alternative once I realised I didn’t love it.

Those familiar with New Zealand plants will notice that these photos were taken a few months ago – it just took me a while to process them.

Labyrinth with Wearing History Nanette Blouse

The photos were taken by little Tobie’s mum (on my camera) and dad (using theirs).  Mr D came along and played background support and interference.

Tobie loves Mr D, and loved being the centre of attention, with me dangling pretties, and mum and dad and Mr D all cooing at her, so for a long time we had an extremely happy, cooperative baby.

Labyrinth with Wearing History Nanette Blouse

Eventually though, she got tired, and hungry, and all the smiles stopped.

Labyrinth with Wearing History Nanette Blouse

The perils of working with small children!

You can see a more serious version of me in my Nanette Blouse here.