Friday, December 18, 2015

Time for Tea - Regency Style

Gosh, time really flies when you are busy. And that’s what I have been. So busy that I have become a bit lax in my blogging over the last month, and it’s about time that I played catch-up. First up, early in November, I attended a Regency tea hosted at the home of a fellow re-enactor and costumer. She invited us over to enjoy tea and put on a spread of food using recipes collected from cookbooks of the period (of course, taking into account our various food intolerances). It was lovely to try out some of her period baking creations. It really makes me want to have a crack at some of my own historical cookbooks.

Unfortunately, the day turned out to be one of the hottest days in November. Not really a surprise given that we live in sunny Queensland. But this day, the humidity was right up and the heat was cooking us all. You would think that given how flimsy regency gowns look that we would be cool enough. Unfortunately you never really consider the layers that go into regency - chemise, stays (made of a 3 – 4 layers of fabric), petticoat, gown (lined). And even though they are all natural fibres, it can still be quite warm. We spent quite some time fanning ourselves and sipping cold water as we wandered the shady gardens of her home.

For the occasion, I decided to finish my new regency stays – created from Jill Saleen’s book Corsets. I made the 1790s transitional stays. I don’t have any photos of them worn as they are VERY low cut at the bust. In fact they don’t really cover much at all, but they do provide the correct support for the new gown that I made. Earlier this year, I was gifted a chunk of yellow gingham muslin which I just knew would be perfect for a Regency gown. I decided to use a pattern that I had made previously but with a couple alterations (buttons and elbow length sleeves). I love how soft and pretty this gown has come out. The only disappointment I have is that the bonnets I currently have don’t really match too well, so there might be a new bonnet in my future to really make the outfit pop (yellow?).

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