Saturday, September 8, 2012

Guerriere Weekend: A Regency Saturday

As I mentioned, I'm behind a bit...but there are so many exciting things happening!

A few weeks ago the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers performed at Guerriere Weekend, which was a celebration of the bicentennial of the naval battle between the U.S.S. Constitution and the H.M.S. Guerriere.   The Constitution now lives at the Charlestown Navy Yard, and the celebration of "Old Ironsides"'s victory included an encampment of 1812 reenactors, dancing in the Commandant's house (that was us!), activities at the Constitution Museum, and several other events for the public throughout the weekend.  On Sunday, the Constitution was tugged out of her dock to sail under her own power for only the second time in 100 years.  It was quite exciting.

a contemporary image of the battle

In preparation for this, we all needed new clothes!  There was a lot of frantic sewing, and not a lot of sleep.  As a result, most of my dress is actually sewn by hand, because I did it on the train to and from work (as well as during a couple of long experiments during the day-shh!).  This project ended up being a little ridiculous because the sleeves I had made at home were cut from a different pattern than the rest of my dress, which was scaled up from Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion.  Had I not been putting the bodice together at 3am, I would have addressed the problem, but exhaustion got the better of me.  I ended up have absolutely NO range of movement, and it was a very silly sight for the dress rehearsal.  Luckily, I had time to put in better sleeves before the real celebration on Saturday. 

All in all, I really love this dress...I am quickly becoming obsessed with tassels for Regency.  Hooray for becoming a walking cat toy!
Here are some pictures of us at the Commandant's House.  All of the images are courtesy of Quinn, because I forgot my camera on Saturday.

Ladies in one of the main dancing rooms
In the entrance hall, which has lovely murals

Almost all the dancers!

Royal Marines encamped outside.  We had a lot of fun watching them drill and yelling "Dudes doing drills!!"

playing period card games in between performances with accurate cards.  Commerce was quite fun and a bit like Gun Rummy, but we cheated and didn't gamble, which removed most of the strategy...oops.

blurry, but I thought this was like a painting

dudes doing drills! (Royal Marines in red, US in blue)

A spectacular hat

on the porch.  Hooray tassels!

All that dancing and frolicking was quite tiring! However, it is hard to flop gracefully with a wooden busk.
More pictures of shenanigans and sailing to come!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Archery Fashion

I am not intentionally neglecting this blog, and have in fact been doing a lot of prep work for projects!  Unfortunately I am having computer trouble that makes it difficult to post.  Apologies for the bursts and droughts of writing recently!
In keeping with my recent need to shoot things, I have totally fallen in love with this fashion plate.

Archery Dresses, La Belle Assemble 1831
Isn't it super adorable? Unfortunately, I really will never need an 1830s day dress.  But this got me thinking about archery and fashion in general, and I did some poking around.  While archery is an acceptable sport for ladies by the very end of the 18th century, I had some trouble finding images of it.  In fact, almost all the images I found of ladies doing archery from the early 19th century (I'm on a Regency kick) related to the British Bowmen, an archery society which was open to women in the 1790s (although the society itself was much older than that).  There are two illustrations of the British Bowmen from the first half of the 19th century, which give a pastoral impression of the sport.

The British Bowmen at Gersyllt Park, 1795-1805
Meeting of the Royal British Bowmen, 1823

Aren't these lovely?  In the first image all of the participating women appear to at least coordinate, if not match.  In the second image both genders are certainly wearing uniforms.  I thought the women's uniform looked like fun (and I love green/gold as a color combination) so I did some more digging and found these two versions at the Manchester Gallery of Costume.

1790s British Bowmen women's uniform bodice

British Bowmen women's uniform, 1815-1820
The wrap bodice is a smart design for easier movement, but I really find the dress to be totally darling.  As I am not British and not a talented archer (although I plan on practicing!), I really don't feel justified making a uniform for an elite archery society...but I am heavily inspired to make some cute outerwear for adventuring!  I am thinking a wool pelisse with contrasting bottom and binding.  I'm holding off until I find wool I like, so I'm not yet sure what the colors will be.

And last, just because I love tartan ever so much, the men also had pretty spiffy archery uniforms.  This one is for the Royal Company of Archers from about 1800.

George Douglas, Earl of Morton in Holyrood Park