Inspirations

So I am doing a photo collection of what has inspired the different looks for Fredrik's and mine's masquerade costumes.

First, here are some paintings that are inspiration to our looks.

Mr. and Mrs. Hallett (The Morning Walk) by Thomas Gainsborough 1785

Self Portrait with a Harp, Rose Adelaide Decreux 1791. This is one of my most favorite portraits. The fringe on the bottom of her petticoat will be used on my gown. I love it, and I think it's a great (and easy) way to trim a gown! The flow of the bodice with the ivory silk is lovely...really nice lines. I am also going to be doing an adaption of this hair but probably not as powdered (if at all) and with red ribbons.

Sofia Vladimirovna Panina, Voille, 1791. This is evidence that I can add brush fringe around the bodice of my gown as trim...not just the petticoat.

This is the fabric of my gown. It's a mix of red and black. It's beautiful. I am especially pleased with it because in the 18th century, Sweden had a national costume (not exactly the most attractive look for women, but whatever Gustav III could do whatever he wanted.) The colors are red and black. I thought that it would be a nice play on the national costume to have a very fashionable last 18th century gown that was in the right colours, but not the style. It's 100% silk taffeta and I bought it from Renaissance Fabrics, a vendor from California. The prices are great, the fabric is great and the selection is wonderful as well! It was only $16.00 a yard!


This is also from Renaissace Fabrics. (So are the images by the way). Again, a silk taffeta, in ivory, which was common for the style of gown I am wearing (I'll just call it a Zone). Even though I have seen a Vigee-Lebrun painting of a woman with a blue gown with a purple stomach and petticoat...however, I'm of the opinion that white/ivory set off the other colour better...making it 'pop'. I don't really like the look of gowns that I see re-enactors wearing when everything is of the same colour. I think it ruins the effect of the gown, and if one is using stripes, then it can look even worse. However there is evidence of Robe a la Polonaise and other cut aways that are of the same colour, but a Polonaise has a different 'cut away' look to it in my opinion, and also jackets are smaller and use less fabric. Along with that, the jacket that i saw with the same fabric was made from a white corden linen, so it was quite simple to begin with. I think really it depends on the fabric and the design. But that's just my 2 design cents.

This is an image of the fringe I bought for my petticoat. It's not exactly as big as I wanted, or what appears in Adalaide's Self Portrait, however, I enjoy the design at the top better than the others I had seen, and the price was good. It's a shame you can't find brush fringe in more fabric options that don't involve rayon and polyester, but when it comes to trim, I don't really have a lot of options. I'm currently trying to find silk organza and not 'silk' organza for my neck tucker and elbow flouences, but that's proving to be a bit of a challenge. I might have to go with a fake material. I don't want to do this...but I think having my set is more important. I also bought more ivory brush fringe that is 5/8" wide to trim my gown in. Once I get it on the gown, I might add a red or black ribbon to decorate it further.

These are my shoes. They were a Christmas gift from my mother this year, along with brass buckles! They are a very bright red, which I love, and they will probably clash a little bit with my gown. However, I don't care, my personal style is such that I love red. Especially red shoes, and I tend to wear read with everything...even sometimes with pinks, so I just take the two reds as a reflection of a personal style. Mom bought the shoes from Burnley and Trowbridge. It's a great online company dealing with reenactor materials, fabrics, trims, books, shoes, etc. The service is great and they are just good people. They're stationed in Williamsburg and do good buisness. I try to order as much as I can from them. The only dissappointment is that I wish their fabrics were regularly updated online. I know they have a lot more than what is posted on the internet. Other than that, I can't rave about them enough. So please, give them your buisness!

For the rest of my ensemble, I will just be wearing black ribbon. It matches my gown, and it also will just further amplify how pale I am along with it being incredibly popular during the period I am dressing in.

Fredrik's Outfit

For Fredrik's outfit I am gaining inspiration from the Gainsbourogh portrait. It's going to be a late 80s early 90s suit (hopefully). The one issue I am seeing is that I believe his breeches pattern might be a smidge too early...so we'll see.

We talked and discussed, and surprisingly, going against Fredrik's standard colour of choice, there is no black in his outfit. He was actually concerned about it not having enough colour! So here is what his fabrics are.

We are doing a Navy Wool broadcloth for his coat, and like the Gainsborough, he will have large brass buttons. The pattern I am hoping to use is from Linda Baumgarten's Costume Close-Up, which has a 1790s (?) coat. It seems kinda small, so we'll see with a mock up, also as a bonus, there are only 2 button holes, and that will save me a lot of work. Fredrik (as always) pointed out that my machine does botton holes, but I would really prefer to NOT do that, as that really will be embarrassing for me as a costumier/historian. I take too much pride in the hand sewing. (Plus, I'd really love to win best costume for the work I'm putting on this for Fredrik and I)


I am in love with his waistcoat fabric. The image does not do it justice. It is also silk and from Renaissance Fabrics. They are almost out, so I bought it as a 'piece' and will hopefully have plenty of yardage left over to make a cut away jacket from this and some ivory taffeta (if i have any more of that left as well..however i think that could be pieced if need be, we wouldn't need very much...Brooke was more excited about draping me for this jacket than my masquerade gown...we didn't do yet though, simply because it's Fredrik's fabric first, then mine.)

For his breeches he will have white taffeta. This is where I was shocked, I thought for sure when I told him black breeches were accurate and normal, he'd go for that, but he still wanted the white taffeta. So, I hope he likes them, and doesn't spill anything on them. No tomato sauce, grease or red wine that night!

I'm at a loss about what to do with Fredrik's shoes. I'll probably talk to Mark and Neal about this when I visit CW. I'm not super anal about his shoes...mostly because he's doing this because I love it so much, and being the amazing boyfriend that he is, he's showing interests in my interests (It's hard not to gush about Fredrik).

Also, his hair. Men's clothing is not my specialty, though I really enjoy looking at extant examples. Fredrik is going to grow his hair out, but it will not be long enough to do a hedgehog with I think...and also it's very straight, and I think he would look ridiculous with it curled. I love the messy look at the end of the century, but I'm concerned that's just too late in the period. If anyone knows anything about male 18th century hair, and have some suggestions and advice I'd appreciate it. Fredrik's hair is fairly long all over, but not enough to pull back...not yet anyways.

Another thing I was thinking about is Brooke's fault (I'm thinking I should let Brooke blog on this thing too..hehe). I was saying how I would really like for people at the ball to know that Fredrik and I are together. Other than the fact we'll show up together, I would love to connect our looks in some way. Brooke jokingly suggested we have miniatures done of up of the other to attach to ourselves like this:

Grace Elliot by Thomas Gainsborough.

I was nosing through 18th century blogs last night and I came across this one. It's titled 'Fuchsia's 18th Century Dress'. The girl is doing a project similar to mine, but what I was really taken with was her watercolour skills. She did a self portrait as a 'miniature' looking piece, and it turned out beautifully. It's just a shame all of my artistic friends are photographers and not painters/watercolourists. I love how she has done this light wash of colour and just highlighted certain features. That along with the nice eye contact creates a really fine portrait. She could make decent money doing water colour miniatures for re-enactors I'd wager.

So that's really where I am at now with inspiration from my gown. There are other smaller details that I am including into my gown that I saw from garments in the Liverpool National Museums collection (top-stitched down shoulder pleats!), and Fredrik's outfit, but that will come later with time. I am probably going to write a post later about my gown bodice etc. I have pictures of where it's at so far, but I don't want to give too much away before the ball!

Thanks for reading & I'll appreciate any feedback/comments!

<3 <3

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