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A Warm Winter's Walk in Williamsburg

2019 was the year of Colonial Williamsburg. I usually make it down to historic Disneyland once a year, if I’m lucky, but this past year I visited 4 times!

Last February some friends were going to be in Williamsburg for an historic vendor’s mini-marketplace, so I tagged along for the weekend. We were mostly in modern clothes, but we rented a house in the historic area for a couple of days, and spent one morning and afternoon wandering the town in 18th century costume.

This trip seemed like the perfect excuse to wear my cream wool redingote again, only paired with some different accessories to make it feel like a new outfit. Originally, I planned to wear my satin and faux fur mantle and muff, but it ending up being too warm to wear for more than a few pictures. Instead, I wore my sheer black ruffled mantle and a newly decorated black wool hat. My other accessories included a walking stick I purchased at Colonial Williamsburg the year before, earrings and a little pinkie ring from Dames a la Mode, green riding habit boots from American Duchess, and a padded silk reticule for my camera.  

The hat started life as a cheap wool felt hat from Target. I first decorated it to wear with my early 1780s riding habit, but I was never really happy with the shape or ribbons. For this incarnation, I wired the brim and then rolled the felt over the wire to give a nicely finished edge. It was my first time trying this technique, so it’s a bit wonky in places, but it gave the hat just the right structure it needed. I added a band and double bow of antique black and silver ribbon, and two large antique ostrich plumes.

Since my redingote is made from a sheer, delicate wool, I added a silk taffeta hem facing to protect it from the bricks and oyster shells of the historic area. It’s simply a strip of white taffeta that I attached with running stitch. Unfortunately, I made it a bit too wide at first, and it makes the hem fall oddly in these photos. I’ve since narrowed the facing so the skirt hangs better. The next time I make a redingote, I want to add a set of lacing strips like you see on the LACMA redingote. I skipped this when I first made the dress, but without a sash to keep the tension at the waist, the pins loosen with wear and cause wrinkles. I know this would be less of a problem with functional buttons and buttonholes, but I prefer the adjustability of pins. I may go back and add it to this dress, but if not, I definitely want to try it on my next redingote.
Posted: 1/13/2020 10:46:44 AM by Aubry | with comments
Filed under: 1780s, events
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