Just a quick one because I again am writing late at night right before I have to go to sleep. These are some dream projects that I would love to do once I have underwear from every time period that fits correctly and money to buy all the beautiful silks in the world.
Some of you may remember I attended the George Washington Ball in Willamsburg a few months ago and posted about trying out a Regency hairstyle from Janet Stephens’ YouTube channel. Unfortunately it ended up not working so well at the ball – the comb kept slipping and falling out, and I didn’t really have the range of arm motion to fix it, so my hair was kind of wild and free for most of that ball.
However, with one modern concession I was able to make this a sturdy, ball-viable hairstyle. I put a hair elastic at the bottom of the French braid section before twisting the length up and putting the comb in – which kept the top of the French braid in place, which supported the comb so it didn’t slip down. This way the hairstyle ended up being very secure and comfortable and I didn’t have to touch it all night (and it was so easy I put it up on the subway!).
I also found the perfect red sheer scarf in the scarf swap at the CSA conference, which was great!
We had a lovely night of dancing at the Beau Monde (Regency chapter of the Romance Writers of America) conference. It amuses me to no end that enough people write Regency romance to have a their own chapter in a professional organization.
I’m hard at work on my new gown for Ren Faire, so you should see a post about it soon!
Next weekend I’m going down to Williamsburg for the George Washington Ball! All of my 18th century stuff is in storage, so I’m going to wear my apron-front Regency dress that I started last year at a Burnley and Trowbridge workshop (it just needs a hem now!) In preparation, I tried out this tutorial by the amazing Janet Stephens, hairstyle archaeologist:
These were my materials – a silky charmeuse-y scarf, and this super pretty back comb I got on eBay! It’s plastic, but it has the look of bone or ivory.
My hair is not quite as long or thick as the model’s in the video, but it worked pretty well! In future, I think I’ll have to start my french braid farther up my head, and pull it tighter – the back comb did slip a bit. I also want to find a different scarf, for two reasons: this scarf was really too much scarf, I think, and I want a red scarf to go with my dress, if I can find one! It will also look nicer when the ends of my hair are curlier. I’m going to keep practicing this week so by next weekend it’ll be sturdy enough for a night of dancing. Yay!
Here’s the back:
My pick for the 1820s is notable for a few reasons: it’s my first pick to be based on a period source, as well as my first pick to have a story focused entirely on women. And that is the 1999 miniseries Wives and Daughters. The novel Wives and Daughters was originally published as a serial from 1864 to 1866, and was the last novel written by Victorian novelist Elizabeth Gaskell. Mrs. Gaskell was a rare Victorian woman author who was successful during her own lifetime, and her writing was and is still known for its remarkable sensitivity and sympathetic portrayals of people from all walks of life.
(I thought Movie Monday sounded snappier than Nineteenth Century Movie Recommendations, so I went with it.)
Here you have my pick for the second decade of the 19th century: 2005 three-part miniseries To The Ends Of The Earth. Based on the book series of the same name by William Golding (author of Lord Of The Flies), To The Ends Of The Earth is a particular favourite of mine because it is Regency but not Jane Austen! (You would not believe how difficult it is to find things that are Regency but not Austen that are any good).
This is the first in a series of movie/TV recommendations for period pieces set in the 19th century by decade. I conceived this idea on behalf of my classmates in Costume History, for whom my professor has recommended selections such as Bright Star and Age of Innocence. As a lover of 19th-century clothes and an avid watcher of television, I have watched a large quantity of period pieces, and as an asexual skeptic who hates love stories, my taste in period pieces tends to veer off the beaten path of Austens, Brontës, romantic epics, and bodice-rippers to some lesser-known selections. I’m going by decade to try to keep pace with what we’re talking about in class, and to show the range, variety, and evolution of 19th century styles. And these are all pieces that I love love love, and I want to tell people about them!
In an effort to force myself to draw more, I’m trying out a Sketch Saturday feature! So prepare for sketches of varying quality on completely random subjects (fair warning though: they will mostly be clothes).
For my first Sketch Saturday, I drew out some designs that I’ve been pondering this week for Disney Princess regency dresses. This was an idea that one of my Williamsburg friends had for a fancy dress party, which sounds pretty brilliant, honestly. It proved to be more challenging task than I had originally anticipated; Disney princess dresses are most recognizable for their large, sweeping shapes and bold colours, whereas Regency dresses feature small, intricate details and a (sometimes but not always) more subdued palette. So they’re not perfectly historical, but I think they’re both historical enough and recognizable enough to work. And finding Regency equivalents for different motifs, sleeve styles, etc. was some pretty fun research.