Of course, like all of our events, costumes are not required...but gosh it makes it all the more fun!
Our first year we decided to expand the title of the picnic to "Georgian" to incorporate a number of silhouettes of this time period. We usually have everything from panniers and bum pads to sleek lines of the regency period.
There are a number of great tutorials and commercial patterns out there to get you started. I have personally used a few different patterns from commercial sellers that I think have worked quite well. Mill Farms has been easy for me to use and I have fashioned a few different jackets from their $10 pattern.
Below is my mill farm jacket at the first picnic (and as you can see with my bright pink...you don't have to be historically accurate hehe)
Fellow around the web costumer Koshka-the-Cat has a fabulous tutorial for petitcoats similar to the one above:
That jacket and petticoat are a basic and good start to the 18th century.
I have also used Sense and Sensibility patterns for regency era and found that they are easy to use...I am a more advanced sewer but I think both of these patterns (the Mill Farms and Sense and Sensibility patterns) are good for a beginner-intermediate.
As for the men: I have used the Rocking Horse Farm 1795-1820 Tailcoat pattern
...as the pattern suggests, its not for a beginner. But a great alternative costume for men that is simple would be a pirate type shirt, slim-fit khaki pants, and a vest of some sort....all of these could be found at a thrift-store (which is my favorite place to quickly refashion costumes and stay on a budget)
Now for accessories. Accessories can really put the final touches on any costume.
Think about first: the top side..meaning your hair or a hat. Most ladies and gentleman wore some type of hat for this time period.
If you go early think about a wide brimmed straw hat with a low crown for ladies. Pretty faux flowers and ribbons are great decoration. Poke bonnets work well for the Regency era. Hair is either worn up (really high and big or curled back, sometimes hidden under a mob cab)
As for the gentlemen: Top hats or tricorns are great for this period...or think George Washington hair ;)
Mitts are another great accessory which I am thinking I will be making this year (if I can get to it in time)... A great example is from Cynthia G. at www.cfgriffth.com... check out her costume galleries page for the entire 18th century outfit she finished this year! Its charming!!!...GREAT ACCESSORIES!
Be sure to check out our groups flickr pages from previous picnics for other great ideas:
Hope to see new and old faces next month at the event!