The Fat Reenactress

The Fat Reenactress

Friday, July 4, 2014

Post #5                                               Friday, July 4th, 2014

Accessorizing a quick garment

So, last week I went to a Burnley and Trowbridge gown making workshop (subject for another post) and spent a week with 3 other ladies in Williamsburg, Va. not only attending the workshop, but also spending a whirlwind trip visiting in the Colonial area.

Now, these 3 ladies are considerably younger than myself, and MUCH skinnier. There's nothing like traveling with skinny women who can put away the carbs. I did warn them that one day, Mother Nature WILL catch up with them, and start to slow their metabolisms....and I'll have a seat on the fluffy couch waiting for them. (alas....I don't think they'll be joining me for quite awhile though).

All 3 of these ladies already had planned to do "big" hair and gowns (although one girl did do a sweet little silk jacket that would have fit my thigh....) so I had planned to do something not feel like I was competing with them (because my inner dialogue would TOTALLY have been comparing me with them the entire time)

I had just previously sold all my "pretty" outfits (except the silks) because they were snug enough on me to make me feel uncomfortable wearing them....and lets face it, I have a fabric stash that could choke a I sold them in order to motivate myself into making  new garments. That pretty much came back to bite me on the ass.  I had the fabric....just not the motivation.

I ended up using a reproduction Colonial Williamsburg cotton print I bought on sale a month or two ago.I went with a cotton because....well, CW in June/July. You feel like you're 10 feet from the sun. No silk for me, thank you.  The pattern I ended up using was the Janice Ryan's Caraco pattern, for 2 reasons.  1) I had made it up before and knew it went together pretty quick and  2) it came in my size, and I had already worked out the bugs and tweaked it to my size the  previous time I had made it.

So, as of 2 days before I had to leave to head east, I had nothing made. Score one for me! Even not working, I can't seem to get things done before hand!!! The night before I had to leave, my hubby, Terry, helped me cut out the jacket. I used a REALLY heavy linen for the lining, to give the garment shape....but instead of lining the entire jacket, I just lined the body. By midnight, I was tired, so I went to bed. Wednesday morning, I woke early, packed my stuff, and actually sat at the sewing machine and did the main seams by machine. I even had a chance to set the sleeves. All the while, my loving husband used my scalloping shears to cut strips of trim for me.

Over the next 3-4 days, we were TERRIBLY busy doing these gowns at the workshop totally by hand. So much so....that the caraco sat to the side. By Sunday, if I didn't get this thing wearable, I would not have anything to wear for our 18th c. dinner that evening.  With about 2-3 hours of handwork, I did do the hem of the skirting, and basted the sleeve ends. I folded the unfinished front ends back and just pinned it closed. I am hoping to finish this garment by the end of summer (yeah....right) but it was wearable for the evening and next long as I accessorized it nicely.
Full ensemble.
I paired the jacket with a light weight blue wool skirt (the only one I could find that I actually hemmed to the butt pad I was using) and my red 18th c. shoes from Smiling Fox Forge.  To make it my own, I topped the ensemble off with a very fine ruffled apron that Nicole Rudolph had made and I bought off her, a white spotted neckcloth I got from Turkey Roost Traders, and a wired pleated cap made by Hallie Larkin. I finished everything off with a breastknot I made with pink silk ribbon and deep red cherries (my favorite breastknot to date) not only does it help close the jacket at the top, but it adds a pop of color.

evening wear. No black bonnet, can see my pink bow.
yes, I have a huge head.
Close up of cap, bonnet and neck cloth.
Lastly, the jewelry I chose to wear was a newly purchased pearl and gold bead necklace from Lauren Roosien and her company FleurdeLys Originals, and pink earrings with gold bows and a hand painted bracelet both from Amey's Adornments. Awesome stuff all!!!  My black chip hat was decorated by April Thomas of Fashions Revisited (THIS chick don't do hat decorating :(   )  and my cap had a very sheer gold/pink pouffy  ribbon to finish it all.

So, I took an unfinished garment, and camouflaged it with awesome accessories. I felt I held my own with the 3 other ladies. We each had our own distinct look.

when I do finish the jacket, it will have trim around the neckline, and around the the sleeves in lieu of cuffs. I'll post pics of that when finished. (to MAKE me finish it!!!)



  1. I love your blog! I'm just getting into 18th century clothing, so your discussion of accessories (and where you got them) is so helpful. Also, I like that you address body issues head on! I'm trying to get a family member to do CW and she complains that she is too fluffy, even though I promised to make her entire ensemble! Thank you for doing this, and keep posting!

    1. thanks! I spent a lot of years thinking I was too fluffy....but sometimes, you just have to throw it into the wind, and be awesome. <3

  2. Beautiful work. My Grandmother called that (fluffy),healthy. I understand the U.F.O's