Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Georgian Picnic costumes on the cheap

On Nov. 13, the DFW Costumers Guild is hosting a Georgian Picnic at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens.  This is the second year for this event.  We decided to make it an annual event after we had so much fun basking in the fall gardens last year.

The costume turnout was of a wide variety of 18th Century.  Some people came to the event in Marie Antoinette inspired frocks and some came in more American styled clothing.  And then some came in later 18th Century fashions more of the Jane Austen bent.  Everyone looked Fantastic!

As always, we hope that as many people who are interested in the period will come to our picnic, but sometimes people worry about being "Period Correct."  Don't let that worry you.  For one, costumes are encouraged at all of our events, but not required.  And in addition, 18th century garments can be just about the simplest costumes to make if you know how to cheat.

Exhibit One - the Chemise Dress (Chemise A La Riene):

Marie Antoinette, the queen herself, in a Chemise Dress

Also Marie Antoinette in a simpler version of the Chemise Dress

Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Marie Antoinette's portrait artist, in a different kind of chemise dress.

Izabela Lubomirska, a Polish noblewoman in a lovely Chemise Dress

Madame DuBarry in a higher necked version of the Chemise Dress

Madame Seriziat in another Chemise Dress without much lace, but with a fichu.

Reconstructing History makes a pattern for a Chemise Dress, which I believe also includes a pattern for a fichu.  That pattern should be pretty period accurate.  However, if you already have a white chemise for your Renaissance Faire garb, you can save that $30 for the Reconstructing History pattern.  All you need to is find a nice wide ribbon to tie at your waist, some ribbons to tie the arms, and then a small amount of muslin to make a fichu.  You could also add lace to the neckline and wrists of your chemise if you are willing to take that particular chemise out of your Ren Faire Garb closet and permanently transition it to 18th century.

Exhibit Two - Empire Waisted Dress:

Period correct Regency dress includes a light under dress, a pair of stays, and then the dress.  However, if you get dark enough material for the dress, you can skip the under dress, and frankly, the Regency stays were designed to do Exactly what our modern bras do - lift and separate - so you can skip the stays and just wear a good bra if you don't have the time or inclination to make all of the correct underwear.

Here's a photo of us at this year's Regency Tea.  One of us in that picture may or may not have skipped the period underpinnings.  But you can't tell can you?

For those distiguished gentelmen who will be joining us:  Slim fitted slacks, top hat (stovepipe Victorian is close to the same look in regency), altered vest to be straight across at top of pants, and I purchased the Rocking Horse Farm 1790-1820 Tail Coat pattern that took me just a few days to put together (pictured above).  My other thought was to alter a tail coat from the thrift store.  My next step is to make shoe covers that look like tall riding boots (made with faux leather from joanns). 

And again please don't worry about being "period correct"...notice my HOT PINK skirt from last year lol:

Please feel free to post any questions or suggestions to yahoo groups message board :)

Looking forward to seeing everyone!!!


  1. I have SO run out of time on this. I need to hire a baby holder!

  2. Oh, yeah. The link to the fichu pattern doesn't work. :(