20th Century

Tea Parties, me, the Prime Minister’s residence and a very good cause

In addition to all the stuff I am doing like teaching and sewing, I have a very exciting event coming up.

On Monday the 11th of June I am donating my time as the featured speaker at Save the Children’s annual fundraiser – an afternoon tea at Premier House.

Yes, Premier House!

That’s the Prime Minister’s residence!  It’s like speaking at the White House or 10 Downing Street!  (well, the White House or 10 Downing St in a country with 4 million people, but still!)

I am, needless to say, looking forward to it.

As it is an afternoon tea, I’m going to speak on the fashions related to tea: the links between the tea trade and the trade in Eastern textiles, the introduction ‘afternoon tea’, and of course, tea gowns!

Tea gown of satin embroidered in colours. Tea gown of chiffon with lace front. 1899

The official invite says:

Join textile historian Leimomi Oakes for afternoon tea and an informative and amusing history of tea and the fashions that tea inspired.  The talk will cover the introduction of tea into Europe in the 17th century, the invention of ‘afternoon tea’ by Queen Victoria’s ladies in waiting in the 1840s, the late 19th century fad for tea and ‘tea gowns’, and the dying glory of tea gowns in the years between the World Wars.  Models in recreations of historical fashions will illustrate the talk.

If all goes well with my sewing, I’ll have two new outfits I (in progress, but not yet blogged about) included in the talk.  More excitement!

If you are in Wellington and interested in coming send me a note through the contact button at the top of the blog, and I’ll send you an official invitation.  Due to security at Premier House rsvps are essential.


  1. Oh my! What a cool opportunity, and it sounds like a really interesting talk! I’m not in Wellington or anywhere near, but I hope it goes well (and I look forward to seeing the new outfits!)

  2. wow that’s amazing! Your talk sounds like it is going to be so interesting. Wish I could come but sadly live a few too many hundred thousands miles away!

  3. Lynne says

    Oh, how wonderful! The big question, of course, is – what are you going to wear? Enough blogging material here for days!

  4. The Mad Purple Chicken says

    What an amazing opportunity! I would come to your talk if it wasn’t on the other side of the planet.

  5. Elise says

    Congratulations on being so singled out. That’s great. Are you asking the guests to dress up?

  6. Polly says

    I ditto MrsC’s comment. I love the word SQUEE but seldom get to use it. This is a SQUEE moment for sure!

  7. What an exciting opportunity! How cool is it that you are the *the* expert that they call in to talk about this subject! Take lots of pictures (if it’s allowed)!

    • Oooh, I don’t know if pictures are allowed or not – I’ll have to look into it.

      I don’t know if I’m the most ‘expert’, but I probably get the most points if you add up ‘expert’ & ‘entertaining’, which is what you want for an event like this! And I’d rather make history accessible and entertaining (as long as it is still accurate) than be the most expert expert in the world! That is where my skill lies.

Comments are closed.