The second historical costume I ever made and the second historical costuming event I ever attended was the Great Dickens Christmas Fair, late last November. For those who aren’t familiar with it, Dickens is a little like Ren Faire but for the 1830s-1860s. Last year I did 1856 as best as I could with the resources I had at my disposal:
For financial and fabric-sourcing reasons I decided not to make another dress from scratch, so instead I’m upping my game by improving my accessories. Here’s the plan:
- New Headwear. I got a gorgeous black 1850s bonnet from Atelier Mela at CoCo, and I’m going to trim it to go with this outfit– probably burgundy and gold, because they pull easily out of the dress. I’m also making a morning/day cap to go underneath it and add some extra floof. BIG improvement over my $7 ebay bonnet.
- Shawl. I spent a few months earlier this year mounting 1830s-1850s Boteh shawls for our current exhibit and they are MASSIVE. The earlier ones are often 5′ x 10′ and the hoop era shawls are ~6′ square. They actually work amazingly well with the large crinolines. Instead of using a modern shawl I’m going to buy a couple yards of wool crepe and make it into a 55-60″ square, which will better approximate the actual size of these shawls.
- Reticule. I’d like to make/find something better, but this may or may not happen. It’s not really a priority.
- Hem/skirt length. I wore flat shoes last year and my skirt was a tad too long and I kept stepping on it. Instead of redo-ing the hem I’m going to wear shoes with a 1.5″-2″ heel– a more common shoe style for this time period, and I won’t have to worry about also hemming my crinoline. I don’t own the right kind of boots and can’t really justify buying them, so I’m wearing character shoes instead. No one can see my feet, after all!