Another busy week…

We’re looking forward to seeing the new wall hanging in Reception. Hopefully it will be on the wall soon.

 
Final adjustments were made to the Poldark-esque clothes for the murder mystery that took place on Saturday night, and we got ready for the second May Bank Holiday Costume Day.

                                                                               ~~~~~~
Today we had another Costume Day, which turned out to be a record breaker for us – 165 visitors dressed in 4 hours. Time to put our feet up for a bit! 

                A few of the visitors’ comments:

“A fantastic experience that was entertaining and informative. A huge thank you to all involved”.

         “Great idea! My 2 yr old didn’t want to take it off!”

“Amazing costumes. Came back twice! A great experience. Thank you”.

          “A lovely, fun and informative activity. We all enjoyed dressing up in the beautiful costumes. Thank you!”

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Whodunnit – more uses for curtains

The Murder Mystery last month was well received and the actors looked just the part in their 18th century outfits.

Outfits for the stable boy, the clergyman and Lord Wentworth joined those for Lady W and the chamber maid. They consisted of shirt, breeches, waistcoat, coat, neck tie, tricorn hats and wigs. Lord W’s suit was made from curtains bought originally for a bridesmaid’s dress along with left over curtain material from Lady W’s petticoat for his waistcoat. 

There were a lot more buttons involved than I expected and seemed to be forever covering buttons!

We were very pleased that the clergyman’s outfit fit so well because we were given relatively few measurements and it was first tried on the day before the performance.

We took a few shortcuts: Two of the tricorn hats were adapted from floppy black felt hats from Primark. Buckles for shoes made from card wrapped in foil with a black piece of material behind. Football socks were a short notice substitute for stockings.

We found that the wigs needed a fair bit of attention to make them look reasonable as they didn’t look much like the pictures on the packets. Luckily we have a hairdresser in our midst to put it right.

Yards of gathered fabric trim was also added to Lady W’s dress to finish it off. 


A couple of photos from the dress rehearsal:

Murder most foul (or another way to use two pairs of curtains)

Amidst the usual Tudor clothes making we’ve been asked to make costumes for the Murder Mystery Evening at Trerice on 15 July. The whodunnit is set in 1768, the year of the last Lord Arundell’s death, which means jumping forward two centuries and researching a whole new era of clothes. Ever up for a challenge, this meant turning to Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion book 1 and trying to make head or tail of pattern books by Elizabeth Friendship, as well as looking at existing garments, portraits and other resources. 

Recycling some skirts that were lurking in a cupboard, with the addition of a Janet Arnold pattern for a suitable jacket, the chambermaid now awaits some linen accessories to finish off the outfit. 

There’s also a sack dress for a noble lady, with panniers, in progress, made from two pairs of curtains.


The panniers


The petticoat


Detail of petticoat waist, based on a surviving petticoat in the MET Museum??  Seemed like a good idea as it should reduce the bulk of material around the waist a bit. 


The robings over the top, with a bodice that closes in the front to have a foundation to pin the stomacher to – ideally there would be a corset but there might not be enough time to complete one, on top of everything else.


Back of the gown


Gown with stomacher balanced in place.

It’s looking something like they’re supposed to at this point but the front and the sleeves weren’t sitting quite right and I wasn’t happy with the back much either so it all came apart again. 

Out came the sleeves. 

Off came the piece at the back of the neck at the top of the pleats. 

Apart came the shoulder seams. 

Pleats unpicked and reordered slightly diffently. 

In went a back yoke piece that I didn’t understand previously why it was needed – now I did. When inserted it did actually make a difference to the front, because it affected the lie of the shoulder seams. 

Shoulders resewn and the front pleats realigned, everything sitting a lot better so far.

The sleeve flounces also went through a makeover. At first they were just one, lined, but this made them too heavy, so out came the unpicker again. Now with two flounces for each sleeve, out came the pinking shears to attack the edges, and one became smaller than the other to sit on top of its partner. The flounces were finished off with two layers of lace underneath before attaching them to the sleeves and then sewing the sleeves back on to the gown. 


The revamped dress:

The men’s costumes are still in mock-up stages, and seem a bit too long, so possibly back to the drawing board with those. 

For more details about the Murder Mystery Evening visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/302b7675-3f0b-4a51-a9c8-957f43858a2d/pages/details