Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Colonial Deluge

Every Christmas my university would host Lighting of the Green, a holiday event for Nashville locals. Amy Grant sings, there are lots of snacks and pictures with Santa, and it generally kicks off the season.

For the past two years, members of the theater department provided walkaround actors who helped direct guests and answer questions. Since I was one of only two members of the department who could sew (the other being my sister), I was in charge of casting and costuming.

In 2008, we had a combination of Disney and Dickens characters. I sewed a few new pieces, but most costumes were cobbled together from the costume shop and my personal costuming closet.

However, in 2009, I was informed that theme would be colonial America. Wonderful! I grew up with visits to Williamsburg and I love the time period.

Bad news? Our costume shop contained only four possible dresses (one with a 36" bust, one with a 34", and two with 32") and a few pairs of knee britches. I would have to make everything else. And so I did.

Here's how I spent my Thanksgiving vacation in 2009:

I sewed four pairs of knee britches, two short gowns, ten dresses, eight petticoats, two aprons, and half a dozen pinner caps. Due to my lack of time and lack of accurate patterns, almost everything was self drafted. But all in all, they turned out nicely.

Blue and gold shortgown with gold pinner. The actress also wore a gold petticoat.

Purple stomacher gown with purple pansy stomacher. The petticoat was the same fabric as the stomacher. The print was anachronistic, but I just loved it, and it was perfect for the actress who wore it.

Floral stomacher gown with striped stomacher and petticoat. I worked with my friend Lindsey to sew this, so she did most of the work herself! And it was her first project, too.

Four pairs of knee britches. Yikes! I hate sewing pants...

White muslin gown (the only one sewn directly from a pattern). The cloak was from the shop.

Mint green floral frock gown. And she was totally wearing a bum roll too.

Blue frock gown and pinner. It was inspired by the American Girl Felicity doll's birthday dress.

I made the knee britches; the rest was from the shop.

Blue silky polycotton dress with white cotton petticoat. Totally inspired by Felicity's Christmas dress. (Doesn't she look like the Felicity doll?)

I didn't make any of these pieces, but I did put it together.

I didn't make their outfits either, but I did reconstructive surgery on that frock coat suit. It was ripped twelve ways from Tuesday!

Blue satin frock gown. This one is my was inspired by a dress from the Marie Antoinette movie and has 17 1/2" yards of ruffles!

Pink cotton and white muslin chemise a la reine, also inspired by the Marie Antoinette movie. I'm probably going to make one for myself.

The pink monster! Sewn from a terribly awful polyester satin from my stash that did nothing but fray and bunch. It broke five machine needles and is now languishing in my scraps box, thinking about what it's done.

Plaid shortgown and petticoat, inspired by Felicity Merriman's school outfit.

Red and white flannel gown with red cotton petticoat. My absolute favorite! It fit her like a dream.

I made a dress for myself as well, but I don't have any pictures of it.

It was a lot of time, energy, and stress, but I think the end was well worth it!
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