All posts filed under: 18th Century

Two women in 18th century dress stand in front of a fence. Behind the fence are a pair of Highland cattle.

Georgian Frolics in the Country

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 …

Robe a la francaise, brocaded silk & metal, ca. 1755, Museo de Roma

Rate the Dress: a Robe a la Francaise in rococo brown, ca 1755

I can usually anticipate some of the reactions to a Rate the Dress, but I was completely blindsided by the initial reactions to last week’s royal fancy dress.  Sure, it wasn’t a court jacket, but badly made seems a harsh accusation for a 200+ year old costume that still looks nearly pristine!  The frat boy comparisons did crack me up.  Isn’t it odd how our modern perceptions of a ‘look’ completely change how we see it in a historical garment? However, after the initial wails of ‘tacky’ and ‘cheap’, a whole bunch of you swooped in with 10/10 ratings.  There were 14x 10/10 ratings, compared to only 11x of any other #!  The enthusiasts pointing out that the costume was awfully fun, did exactly what it said on the tin, and was quite practical for a theatrical performance.  After all, a real bear skin would have been extremely hot and heavy and hard to move gracefully in! Thanks to all those 10s, Karl got a 8.4 out of 10.  Rrrrowr! (sorry, I couldn’t resist!) This …

wild man co

Rate the Dress: 18th century Wild Man costume

Last week’s Rate the Dress was a natural-form day dress in palest blue and silvery ecru.  To no-ones surprise ever, the rosette bows festooning the lower front bodice of the dress were not popular.   You deemed the rest of the dress both boring and fussy. It didn’t score a single 10/10 rating.  The ratings, like the dress trim, mainly slid to the bottom of the rating heap.  Overall ‘Whirlpool: The Dress’, as Rachel dubbed it, managed a paltry 6.6 out of 10. Moving on: it’s time to look at a historical fancy dress for our annual Halloween Rate the Dress! Before there was Tarzan, there was Hercules, Bacchus, and Wild Men: all costumes involving animal skins, and greenery.  Variations on the theme date back to the ancient Greeks & Romans, (and possibly earlier).  Wild Man costumes were popular throughout the Middle Ages.  In the 18th century the wild man idea became linked to a romanticisation of nature and untouched society.  Thanks to the Swedish monarchy’s fantastic habit of keeping their clothing, we have an …