Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen of 1860s Conference: Part 4

I forgot to mention my Needle and Thread purchase in the marketplace.

I love it. It's very soft cotton, very light weight but not really sheer. I only wanted 8 yards but that left only 3 on the bolt so I bought it all.

The weekend programs opened with the presentation of the conference dresses. All speakers and workshop presenters are sent a length of fabric; ladies are asked to make a dress and men a vest. Previously the fabric has been a cotton. This year the fabric was a wonderful tropical weight Italian wool.

This year ladies were asked to make a garment. There were dresses, coats, a traveling dress and a bathing costume.

Here is mine. I'll have another post dedicated to the construction later.

 Gentlemen were asked to make vests.

The day's presentations began after the fashion show. The conference is split into two tracks, one track more female slanted and one more geared toward men. I attended the ladies' track.

The first presentation was K. Krewer "What's in a Name? An Attempt at Disambiguation and Taxonomy of Mid-Victorian Attire". In this talk, K discussed our modern day use of terms to describe dresses such as camp dress, wash dress, tea dress, traveling dress. She pointed out that camp and tea dress are not period terms, wash dress described the qualities of the fabric (washable) and the difference between ballgowns, evening gowns and dinner dresses are sometimes hard to distinguish in period magazines without the descriptions. She also pointed out that formality of an event had more to do with the event itself rather than the time of day. She also addressed some incorrect ideas such as the amount of light in ballrooms and the color of ballgowns. It was a very interesting talk and made me really think about "truths" I've always accepted about period clothing.

The next speaker was Patricia Grunwald and "Hemlock is a Natural Product: Health Care in Mid-19th Century America". In this talk, Patricia discussed the history of pharmaceuticals, medical training, and home health care. It was both interesting and a bit frightening to hear what was available at the time.

After lunch we heard Beth Chamberlain and "From Moths to Fashion: Metamorphosis of the American Silk Industry"; another very interesting topic. I had no idea there was a concerted effort to produce silk in the US.

The final presentation of the day was Carolann's "Merciful Heavens, It's Hot! How to Stay Cool at Warm Weather Events." During this talk, Carolann discussed making events more period correct in warm weather such as laundry activities occurring early in the day. She also suggested other activities such as eating outside, utilizing bodies of water that might be at the event or putting your feet in basins of water, hanging out in a root cellar or spring house, and of course, planning your wardrobe accordingly.

With the end of the presentations we were dismissed to prepare for the Fancy Dress Ball.

1 comment:

Civil Folks said...

Annette, great topics.

I have never been but we would like to go sometime. It sounds like you had lots of fun and learnin'.

I love your Spring picture, too.