A few weeks ago my historical costuming friends and I rented a cottage in the country for our fifth(!) annual Historical Sew & Eat Retreat.
On Sunday we took a drive along the back roads in 18th century dress and admired some cows and explored the delightful Hattenburn Gardens.
The cows were interested in our grass, but not brave enough to eat it out of our hands…
I wore my Extremely Exuberant Amalia ensemble, and Nina wore her just-finished Angelica gown in the same fabric, in a slightly less exuberant colourway.
(fun fact: this fabric is made by the same manufacturer as the in/famous Our Flag Means Death breakup robe!)
Other than me, it was an Angelica fest. Mme Kez wore the sample Angelica she modelled, and Averil sported another just-finished Angelica, in country appropriate linen, altered to be front fastening with hooks.
And somehow we all, excepting Nina, forgot our bust bows. I don’t know how. Mine was sitting on my dressing table, complete with pin, when we got back.
The Hattenburn Gardens were lovely, with amusing and informative signs about the artwork, the plants, and permaculture. There were picturesque koi streams:
And lovely old benches (which Nina and Averil engaged in a ladies fisticuff battle over):
And shady spots to escape the blazing sun:
But the best thing about the gardens? Cats! I will never not be excited to see a cat!
He just loves me for my feathered hat. See how he ignores Nina? He had just espied the hat!
Cats and costumes. They just go together!
After touring the gardens and getting slightly blinded in the glare, we headed off for some very 18th century appropriate…
It may not be ices at the Pot and Pine Apple, but real fruit ice cream is a delightful New Zealand experience, and we certainly delighted and amused the customers and staff at the roadside fruit shop.
Real fruit ice cream is frozen fruit of your flavour choice (I got strawberry and boysenberry, but cherry is also a firm favourite) blended up with vanilla ice cream right in front of you and swirled out into a ridiculous tower of fruity deliciousness.
They asked if we had come from filming something. We were very good and just said it was a hobby, instead of being cheeky and saying we were off the set of Time Bandits, which was filming in the neighbourhood!
A most delightful time! I highly recommend low pressure frolics over high pressure events!
Three little girls from school are Wheeeeeee!
A day of simple delight. You all look wonderful, with or without bust bows!
One of the catches about costuming is that you really need an excuse. You need to wear the stuff you make. It can be an organised historical group like the SCA, or an historical commemoration even, or even a play. Just sitting round on the computer in your own costume won’t do. The idea of an annual weekend away for a small group of costumers sounds to me like an almost perfect solution. And the countryside makes for some wonderful photo opportunities!
You all look lovely, costumes , cats and ice cream sounds perfect . One of them reminds me of our famous Larry , the Downing Street cat , who is also tabby and white
Always enjoy your blog posts , costumes and cats are two of my own passions too
Thank you! He does look like Larry doesn’t he? My favourite fact about Larry is that he was so bad at his job that for a while they had to bring in a secondary cat (Freya) to do the job for him.
absolutely stunning ensembles, and a very joyful looking photo set. one of my favourite things to do is get together with a group of costuming-minded folks for food and fun in a chosen period attire style…i’m always vaguely surprised that more people don’t do it! thanks for brightening the day with this happy post.
Thank you! I think more people don’t do it because it took the group of us at least 2 years to sew the things for all our outfits – and it takes quite a dedicated group of sewists who really like each other to put that much time in! But it was worth it
The dresses are charming.
Oh these pretty pictures are a treat for the eyes! I agree, I really love a casual costumed get-together. You can usually get better photos too, because people aren’t so stressed out about making sure they are making the most of a limited-time event. Much less pressure than a big expensive ball or some far-off destination that requires plane travel.
You might have posted about it elsewhere, but I’d love to know what kind of camera you used for these pictures, it handled the outdoor lighting so beautifully whatever it is!
Wonderful post. I savored every frill and fabric. Well done ladies!