A Bit of a Pickle (and I’m not talking food)

Cloak Room, Clifton Assembly Room, 1817, Rolinda Sharples

Cloak Room, Clifton Assembly Room, 1817, Rolinda Sharples

If you cast your gaze to the right, you will notice a…problem. I really want to attend the all-too-rapidly approaching Jane Austen Tea and meet people with like interests. Since this will be my début to the world of the Austonians/Janeites in the area, I would very much like to look reasonably good. Acceptable. You know what I mean. A correct period dress, not jeans and sneakers.

As I write this, the calendar reminds me that I have 9 days to go. And as of this morning I have a whopper of a cold. At least it will be done by the 8th. Everything else, not so much. So let’s recap.

Finished and/or ready to wear:

  1. Victorian split drawers (I am not quite ready to go with the Regency version, and starkers is out of the question.)
  2. Chemise
  3. Drawstring petticoat
  4. White stockings
  5. Reasonably Regency-ish shoes
  6. Bonnet (but it’s straw, which is not winter wear)
  7. Long white kidskin gloves, not gauntlet – haven’t found a proper pair yet
  8. Reproduction pearl earrings (genuine pearls)
  9. Reproduction pearl necklace (also genuine)
  10. Antique French lace cap that will substitute nicely for a “nicer” mob cap.
  11. Late Georgian – Early Regency brooch (the real thing)
  12. Kashmir wool/silk shawl (also the real thing)
  13. Finished silk sari from India that doesn’t make me itch and break out (I’m allergic to silk. So of course I like reproduction clothing that requires the use of silk to get the right look. Am searching for reasonable alternatives.)

Awaiting completion:

  1. Set of long stays
  2. Gown
  3. Turban
  4. Reticule (looks like I’ll be sewing this one)
  5. Something to keep me warm

So, even though I have more than twice as many things ready as things that are not, the critical items are on the wrong side of the fence. And time’s a-wasting.

I’d been getting pretty antsy about this. Then 2 days ago I ran across this video post by Jennifer Rosbrugh, motivator of the overwhelmed, confused, and desperate. Dealing with Sewing Burnout and Staying Encouraged was the balm of calmness applied in the right place at just the right time. Soothe your ruffled feathers here: http://historicalsewing.com/dealing-with-sewing-burnout.

It’s pretty obvious that burnout is not my problem. Rather, it’s under-burn. So, taking Jennifer’s words and encouragement to heart, I’ve made a decision. Although it pains me to write this, let alone do this, I am going to wear a massively push-up underwire bra. Unless, that is, a miracle occurs and I get my stays done. I won’t have a true Regency fit, but if the alternative is to not go, I’ll live with it. For now.

The gown is rather essential. I have pattern, fabric, scissors, and a big flat surface. Green light.

The reticule I can make from extra, coordinating fabric and hand-sew it all the way. No gussets, so we’re good.

I am hoping that the turban doesn’t turn into a big problem. I have the fabric. I have the feathers. And there is a little plastic (gasp!!!) thingy I can use as a form until I can get a hold of the proper stuff.

Fortunately I can borrow a lovely, hand-made, long wool cloak for warmth.

Wish me luck. I just thank my lucky stars that this is a tea and not a formal ball.