And now onto my very eventful and busy last weekend. It started out with my attendance at Proclamation Day at Newstead House after work on Friday. They do it every year and it is always lovely. It was a stinking hot afternoon and I was perspiring quite badly (ladies don't sweat! ;) ) while I was getting ready, but because of where Newstead House is situated on top of a hill on the point of the Brisbane river, it is always breezy and cool. Which is a really fantastic thing when you are layered on up in Historical clothing.
It was the occasion to wear my latest ensemble. Normally I am super organised and well done before the event, however this time I just kept procrastinating and ended up finishing on Thursday night. Note to self - never again! It is way too stressful, all week I was trying to get away early from work to get my project finished, but it just wasn't happening. At any rate, I wore my new round crinoline ensemble. I made this one out of some lovely tartan silk that I picked up on-line. I only bought about 5 metres of the stuff so I was scrimping as much as I could on fabric. I cut the skirt with the bare minimum width necessary, made the waistband out of cotton (you don't see it) and faced the skirt instead of hemming it. The facing actually helped to weight the skirt down anyway which is always important with silk. On top of that, my bodice is cut straight across at the bottom which again saves fabric and I used a matching plain silk for the waist sash and reticule lining (a lucky remnant find at a fabric shop - there was just enough at 70cm). I actually went very simple on my dress, the sleeves are cut using the lining pattern piece so that they are small and only slightly gathered instead of full puffed, and it is trimmed with a simply matching fringing. I was also stupid enough to hand-stitch eyelets up the back of the bodice. They look great but I always end up putting them too close together and I had 20 to sew over instead of a more realistic 14.
I also made a half hair garland that sat around the back of my head above a low roll of my hair. It was a bit of a challenge working out how to make the garland. It's easy enough to see pictures of how they are decorated in fashion plates, but there are no sketches of the inside or how they are constructed - so it gave me a bit of free licence. I ended up using a strip of 1" wide raffia (the stuff that they make a lot of race hats out of these days). I wove some of my hat-making wire through both edges and bent the ends over. When I was decorating the pieces, I ended up folding the raffia in half at each end so that it would be thinner at the fronts on my head. I then decorated it. I started with some velvet leaves as a base and then added the flowers. It would have been a lot quicker to hot-glue everything on, but I didn't want to destroy my flowers if the garland turned out badly. In the end it really worked. I just had to bend the ends up slightly so that they curled around my head correctly and then bobby pin it all in place.
At any rate, it all worked out really well and I was pleased with the final look. My cousin also looked absolutely fabulous in her new bodice and we had my dad with us as an escort and driver (it is very difficult to drive while wearing a crinoline). I even got him all dressed up in his grey Victorian suit.