Jumping back on the bandwagon that I seem to be so good at falling off… With a year’s worth of thanks to Mem of Star and Scissor, I’m very excited to making a fresh attempt of blogging this August with the start of CoBloWriMo. What’s that you ask? A month-long spin on NaNoWriMo but just for COstume BLOggers.
The upside of not getting around to writing anything since last June (as in 2016) is that I truly have plenty of costuming attempts, events, and successes to catch up. As am often writing at the midnight hour, and logic may or may not be a factor, I’m going to work backwards through my costuming endeavors as I do this catching up. And if I get lucky, everything will make an appearance and perhaps I’ll even get some new costuming done this month, too!
So… first up, some details from a Dress Like a Georgian Day outing with friends M.J. and E.S. in historic Newport, RI in very early July. The lovely Mrs. S of Sew 18th Century invited some friends to join her for a picnic and tour of the historical neighborhoods and it was such a treat! We picnicked at Battery Park which was overlooking the water and adjacent to a boat ramp that allowed us to walk in and get our feet wet if we wished. In an odd turn of events, the weather was unseasonably cold for July … a mere 74 degrees or so, and as luck would have it, I had decided to wear my favorite ivory wool gown.
What I was especially thrilled to show off was my newly recovered antique parasol… with tassels! I even made a matching reticule. Now to understand how exciting this was for me, you must realize that I am terrible about finishing accessories. Terrible, I tell you! I’m happy to make undergarments and gowns all the day long… but bags, bonnets, and bunches of other little things? Who has time?
This particular parasol most likely dates to about 1870-80s – as it’s not quite so tiny as many mid 50s & 60s examples but not as large as later versions either. I’m still not sure what the handle is made from – it’s not wood, plastic, or bakelite but the jury is still out on other possibilities. It was purchased via ebay with a matte black silk cover in poor condition and fringe of 4″ deep black lace. I do plan to recover it in black and reuse the lace, which was in near-perfect condition, but wanted to try a temporary cover first.
I’m not one to use muslin very often so I dove right into my box of silks and found a remnant of peacock blue silk taffeta. After a few tests, I drafted a triangle shape that was close to the original black cover pieces and set about sewing eight pieces together to try the fit on the parasol frame. The first attempt was absurdly small, but the second attempt yielded a better fit and is what you see in the photo. The best part? TASSELS. Dear me… tassels are my new everything! Eight tassels on the parasol, one on the reticule – all handmade, and in fact I think the last two on the parasol were finished while picnicking.
But all this tassel and parasol excitement has me a bit tired, so I’m stopping here and will be back tomorrow with more details on the peacock parasol and reticule in all their glory!