Monday, November 30, 2015

Berthes, Fichus and Pelerines

So began my busy Genteel Arts November; or so it seemed. My first workshop was in Gettysburg, Berthes, Fichus and Pelerines. These items are dress accessories that can be used to change the look of a dress.

A berthe is a large cape-like collar falling over the shoulders and bodice of a dress (Schmitt, Carolann. Berthes, Fichus and Pelerines, pg. 3) and is usually a separate piece from the dress. We see these often on evening gowns.

A fichu, alternately was more shawl-like and comes over the shoulders to the front.

Collection of Carolann Schmitt

Then there is the pelerine. I really think this is what the "dreaded triangle thingy" is attempting to imitate. A pelerine is more cape-like and can match the dress, changing a bodice cut for evening to something more appropriate to day time.

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising
Pelerine 1855-1860

I had taken Carolann Schmitt's Fichu workshop at the Civilian Symposium in March and thought perhaps I would like a pelerine. But I looked at my wardrobe and decided another fichu would be better, one with long tails.

As with all of the Genteel Arts classes, a well researched handout was provided that included period descriptions, illustrations, bibliography and instructions for constructing the chosen garment and, of course, the patterns. Before we started sewing, Carolann gave a lecture on the different accessories including more period photos and originals; she had a few originals with her to show as well.  You can see these in the Fichu workshop pictures here.

I did not have enough of the netting I chose to cut the pattern exactly as the pattern called for; the pattern being one piece over the shoulders, so we altered it a bit, adding a shoulder seam to accommodate the size of the pattern.

Once the pattern was cut and the pieces sewn together, I added net ruching.

Once the ruching was in place I will add a narrow black velvet trim down the center of the ruching; this I still need to finish. I will probably also add a small hook and eye at the waist to hold it as I do not want to wrap it around the back although that is an option.

These pieces are really quite easy to make and can add so much to your period wardrobe.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Welbourne 2015

I have waited so long to be able to attend this event. The participants staying in the house are limited and those who have been before get first right of refusal to stay on the property. It can take some time on the waiting list to get in, but it is worth the wait! This is the type of event we all dream of - period building, few intrusions - period moments abound.

Welbourne is in Middleburg Va., Loudon County, horse country. It is beautiful! The drive down from Pennsylvania was very nice with all the trees in full Fall color, and the weather was perfect.

The house was originally built in the 18th century and added on through the years and remains in the same family. It is also on the National Register and the land is under a conservation easement. The house serves as a bed and breakfast on a regular basis.

The organizer of the event requested little or no photos so I tried to abide by the rules and personally have very few photos; however several others did take photos and Jim Pfeiffer was on hand to take tin types. You can find links to the various collections at the end of this post.

I arrived on Friday evening although several had been at the site since Thursday. My roommate for the weekend arrived at the same time and we were shown to our room. We stayed on the second floor and shared a bed, being good friends that wasn't an issue. We quickly changed as dinner was just about ready. 

During dinner, I think, we maintained first person very well. We discussed our experiences through the war and what the future might hold. 

At this event we were lucky enough to have two wonderful African American interpreters, Cheney McKnight and Anita Henderson. Cheney cooked lunch and dinner for us and Anita served. The food was wonderful and period.
Tin type by Jim Pfeiffer
Saturday evening after dinner we sat in the parlor and talked, read jokes and other pieces and had Pimms. I had never had Pimms and now I think I'm addicted. There was also a piano in the house so I attempted to play a bit. I need a keyboard again and practice!

Saturday was my first full day at the event. Breakfast was cooked and served by the bed and breakfast staff and was very good, a full American breakfast. After breakfast I sat with some of the other Pennsylvania ladies for a tin type on the porch. We were all in our wrappers. Jim also made a group tin type and I had my own done. 

Tin type by Jim Pfeiffer
After photos I spent some time making a sewing box. As usual, though, I didn't finish it. It would make a great conference workshop, so I'm researching the design for how period it is. It came from a modern book on Victorian projects but it did not have any documentation on it's use during the period. It's a cute little box though.

One of the activities for the weekend for the weekend was a Friendship Album. These were popular during the mid-19th century and included verses or little tokens. We hope to continue this into the next years' events and have a record of our event.

Later in the afternoon some of us went to visit the horses. Welbourne also serves as a retirement ranch for horses. We brought apples and they were a bit skittish at first, then they realize we had apples and they wouldn't leave us alone.

I also played more piano and enjoyed tea on the porch.

Dinner was great!

After dinner we had some entertainment in the parlor with a play from a ladies' magazine and other readings. 

We made it an early night though after such a packed day.

Sunday was a laid back day. After breakfast there was a prayer service.

Following the church we had a reenactment of Garner Peters and Scrivington's return. Garner Peters was a slave who left his owner during the war and taking a prized horse, Scrivington. After sometime, Peters decided to return and brought the horse back with him. It was quite an event at the time.

Many of us then took carriage rides.

After the rides everyone began packing up and leaving. It was a great weekend! Jessica Craig does a wondrous job organizing these events! I can't say enough for her knowledge and thoughtfulness in providing us such amazing events in which to play. Eagerly looking forward to the next ones!

Additional photos can be found in various places throughout Facebook; here are a few links:
Day one, Day two, Day three