Monday, March 08, 2010

Conference 2010

These pictures come from the "Ladies and Gentlemen of the 1860's" conference this past weekend in Camp Hill, Pa. I am not posting any photographs of the originals on my blog yet...these are just of some of the many activities we enjoyed. This first one is a pre-conference workshop with Lynnette Miller of Miller's Millinary on making Coronets. It was lots of fun and an opportunity to meet new people. There were lots of different options on what to do and what to put on it and they were very easy once you decided what you were going to do with the design.

After the workshop and before eating dinner, I went back to my room and worked to finish my coronet. I'd picked out flowers to put on this one, thinking it would be nice to brighten up a silk day dress I'm planning on wearing to a tea in May. The dress is burgundy and dark green with black trim and highlights.

Coronets were very popular during the 1860's and later. Lynnette showed us multiple period CDV's of women wearing them with day dresses. They were an indoor item, to be worn when receiving morning visitors or at a dinner or such that wasn't quite fancy enough to wear a ball headdress with. This is a $10 gold coin from a little later to show the coronet. They sometimes had hairnets attached and sometimes not.
The next day I took an artificial flower class from Martha McCain. She does the Museum reproduction patterns for Simplicity (for more information click here ). The class was very busy, we really had to work hard with guidance from Martha, her husband, and another helper, to get all three flowers done by the end, but there they are. They're all made out of highly starched fabric, dyed, goffed (a form of spot ironing with special tools for the purpose) wired, and glued using 1860's techniques and tools. Some dresses of the era had many of these attached, as did headpieces and bonnets...a very time consuming project for the seamstress! This is something I enjoyed doing, but would be difficult to make at home without all the right equipment. Still, it was a fantastic workshop and I learned a lot!
While we were in the Friday night sessions I managed to work on another, less floral Coronet. I'd bought the kit at the Marketplace earlier in the day. This one is done with stars and pearl beads and a bit of purple ribbon on it. It'll get more use than the completely floral one. I think it turned out beautifully.

Our sessions included many items that were fascinating from Period Ribbons to Texas, to Musical composers, and much more. One on Saturday had the Wildcat Regiment Brass band that did a presentation of historical music and information about Regimental bands in the 1860s. Mark took a picture of the slide because we were surprised to see the Maryland seal on the original sheet music of the "Bonnie Blue Flag". The band was also one of the two groups that played at the ball that night. They were great!

After our sessions, everyone went back to their rooms to change and get ready for the dinner and the ball in the main ballroom. As you can see there were all manner of ball gowns and day dresses, Regency and Late Victorian eras were also represented as well as some modern dresses. The dinner was delicious, the company was enjoyable, and the Ball was fantastic. Mark won a doorprize that was a gift certificate from Corner Clothiers (Cara of Corner Clothiers has made all of his civilian clothing) for a Cravat or tie so he got a new tie for the outfit which looked very nice with his vest. I won a gift certificate from Miller's Millinery and got a head piece (hard to see in the pictures) that I wore to the ball.

Unfortunately I have yet to make a silk ballgown that I'm happy with so I chose to wear this day dress, one of only maybe two that I own that fit right now. I can see that I'm going to have to get sewing this year and get some lighter colored dresses (and a ball gown) made and also get some of this excess weight off myself so my other dresses fit.

These are couples lined up awaiting the Grand March to begin the ball. During the Grand March, everyone gets to see everyone else that is present, which is wonderful for checking out all the dresses, fabric, trim, and such, and saying hi to friends. This ball room was very nice and it was big enough to accomodate the number of dancers.

Mark snapped this picture of Angela and Maggie in their beautiful ballgowns. These young ladies are two of my very favorite people. :) Maggie and Angela have been in several sewing classes I've taken in Gettysburg with Carolann Schmitt and I've really enjoyed socializing outside of classes as well. Unfortunately I had to miss the ball gown bodice class that was taught in November but I'm hoping to get taking classes again this year.

Some scenes from the dancing. Civil War era dancing is very easy, and it frequently has you changing partners and dancing with other people. It was a way for the people of that era to socialize and to meet and flirt with other people in a safe and chaperoned setting. We've always enjoyed the caller of this dance and have danced with him before through .

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