Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Peasants Are Revolting

Or, Never Say Never In Costuming;

Or, The Fugly Bedgown.
Also...it appears that I am a fan of blue and orange, which didn't occur to me til I realized which post was immediately below this one. Heh.
So...I hate bedgowns. (Just, as in, I don't generally want one on me, not that I hate them indiscriminately on all and sundry.) Yes, they are appropriate in certain contexts, yes, they are practical, yes, they are fugly. And yet...I have made a bedgown. Don't ask about the (somewhat suspect) motivation; suffice it to say the Usual Suspects and I got a bee in our bonnets to be the Bedgown Brigade at some point this fall. Washington's Crossing 18thc market fair seemed an appropriate deployment, so towards the end of summer plans were made and sewing was done...


Hmmm... skeptical of bedgowns.
 True confession time: I finished all the sewing on this outfit in August apart from the caps, but I didn't wear it til weekend before last, and it's really not the type of outfit that photographs well on a dress dummy! (Plus, since I'm spending most of my time on schoolwork and not sewing, I'm happy if I can manage one blog post a month here.)
 There's not much detail to speak of; the bedgown (which, by the way, I can never remember if it's supposed to be one word or two; I first saw it written as one word and so that's what I do, despite spell-check constantly yelling at me) had no pattern, just looking in Costume Close-Up at the overall shape, vaguely measuring around myself, drawing on the fabric, and saying..."sure, that looks fine." The mostly-wool-but-probably-somewhat-poly-blend fabric I used was 62" wide, so it's stupid-simple, no piecing required, and there are only two seams.
No piecing required on the outside fabric, that is...
Entirely for my own amusement, I decided to make the lining all out of linen (and a few cotton) scraps from my scrap bin. Hand sewing a T-tunic really doesn't count as a challenge for me at this point, so I wanted to give myself at least a little bit of something interesting on this garment! Not to mention using all those scraps didn't even make a dent in the scrap bin...clearly I keep too many scraps...
Aren't scraps great?
I made sure to match the fabric at the cuff-ends of the sleeve so they wouldn't look stupid when worn rolled up, but the rest of it was a free-for-all. Ended up being 19 different pieces sewn together! *starts humming songs from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat*
The linen petticoat is equally as boring construction-wise, redeemed only by its delightful orange color. I actually intended to make it a couple of inches longer, but by the time I'd washed it and trued up the edges, that was all I had left. Okay then! My usual unbleached linen under-petticoat is actually a couple of cm longer than this one (and thus couldn't be worn under this one!), so the orange one will double as an under-petti too when it's not doing peasant duty.
Apron and kerchief are from my stock of accessories that seemed peasanty enough for this occasion.
I made 3/4 of the caps appearing on the Usual Suspects (including myself); I went on a bit of a cap-making binge after I finished the bedgown and petticoat. I've collected a few commercial 18thc cap patterns that I hadn't had an opportunity to make, so I felt inspired to try out the ones that were more peasanty! Caps with the navy bedgowns are both Country Wives patterns, and Robin of the orange bedgown has a Kannik's Korner cap, which definitely wins for most ridiculous! All hand-sewn, made from mid-weight, relatively coarse-woven linen.
I can't say I've really experienced much limited movement in 18thc fitted gowns or jackets once I started fitting my sleeves correctly, so I won't go so far as to say a bedgown improved my ability to move, but it's definitely very unfitted! Felt like I was in 18thc pajamas, really. ;) I can see the appeal in terms of time/money/effort to make a garment like this; I made it in a couple of days (3? 4?), and that's not anywhere near full days of sewing, plus includes the 19-piece lining! When you're used to garments with a waist, though...this thing isn't really very appealing.
Dang, girl, put that apron back on! Yeesh.
(Although we all did wear stays, thankyouverymuch, as you can see the top ridge in some of the pics if you look closely!)
Misbehaving, as usual.
The day itself was nice - the weather could definitely have been better, it wasn't the sunny, brisk fall day we were hoping for (too warm, very humid, and occasional raindrops, actually), but we always love playing graces, eating 18thc cakes and pastries from a very delicious bakery, and sitting on walls overlooking rivers, getting picturesquely covered in ants.

Actually I think we were somehow worse at graces, overall, than we were last year...
The hoop landed on the ground so, so many times...
Because who doesn't love a good "spot the cell phone" costume pic?
They let us sit in an empty room to eat our lunches, very nicely, since there were no tables set up this year, and the ground was damp. This *did* lead to several interactions of "so what was this house used for??" "Lunch." *while slowly and obviously unwrapping a Wawa hoagie* "Oh."
Gettysburg Remembrance Day weekend is up next, in November, and though I'm mostly doing re-wears, I am trying to get a fancy-dress outfit finished for the Friday night ball! Mainly because those short hoops are so ridiculous, that if I'm making an outfit specially for fancy-dress, I have to have one of those, right? Of course right!

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