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Holiday Tea 2018

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This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of reprising my role as Jemima Banneker (Sister to Benjamin Banneker) for the Benjamin Banneker Museum's 2nd annual Holiday Tea. 
This being my second year semi-hosting the event, to my surprise this year was a little different: I was the special guest. This is mostly because on February 2nd, I will be returning to the museum as Ona Judge to perform the histrionic that I did back in the Fall. My performance is in collaboration with the Benjamin Banneker Foundation in hopes to raise money for their annual Colonial Market Fair , which I'm also attending as Jemima B. (June 8-9, 2019). 
Anyway, with all of that said, I wanted to really get festive for this year's holiday event. The hand-sewn silk gown that I had worked on since October was ready (despite the trim still needing to be attached; I just didn't have time to throw it together) and I added a few pearls and a couple of decorative breast knots I made a few years back to complim…

Silk Blue Round Gown

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Back in October, I was attempting to make two gowns out of silk taffeta. While I was halfway into one of the projects, I realized that the measurements to the blue round gown was a little off and had to send the mockup out to its future owner for a fitting. Now that I have received the mockup and the minor adjustments had been made by adding 1" panels to the front, I am back on track and surprisingly still on schedule.




The challenging part of working with a bodice made of silk taffeta were two things: everything had to be handsewn (I was told that the sewing machine could chew up the fabric if I wasn't careful), and the second being the setting of the sleeves. I was a little worried with how they would turn out. Would it be forgiving after I set them, pinned in, and sewed them down, or would it look too poofy? I took extra precaution in making sure that never happens, by using what I like to call "the drawstring method" which is doing a running stitch and gathering…

Halloween Double Feature: Attack of the Silk Titans

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Hey everybody! It's that special time again! A time where the seasons change from a God-awful hot and humid summer on the Eastern Seaboard, to a beautiful but biting cold Autumn. 
BUT! 
🎃 Halloween is also next week! 🎃
While on the topic of making a new gown for the season, Surprise! I have a special treat for you! I will actually be making two at the same time. My own silk taffeta ensemble, and a round gown that was commissioned by a client to be made also out of silk taffeta. So, given time constraints, it's time to really put my work to the test and use what I've learned back at Margaret Hunter's shop. So buckle up everyone, you're in for a double feature! 


Feature 1: Return of the Silken Round Gown
Had a customer come to me a few weeks ago, inquiring about a taffeta round gown. Given the similarities between the structure of a round gown and an English open gown, I figured it wouldn't be an issue. I ordered the silk and other materials from Burnley &…

Journey To Judge: Ona Judge's Freedom on the Horizon

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Hey everyone, sorry it's taken so long to update. I have so much to tell you about what happened on the debut of the program.



Saturday evening, September 1st, was the opening night of my program, "Freedom on the Horizon"  at the Historic London Town Museum, in Edgewater Maryland. When I arrived, there was another scheduled program going on for their daytime program, called "Uncertain Freedom". It was phenomenally performed by the "Sons & Daughters of Ham" where they gave the visitors of the museum an inside look of the African-American experience during the tough times of the Civil War and the Emancipation. It was truly a moving and deep program.   
After catching up with the Sons & Daughters of Ham, I went to the Brown House Tavern to get dressed in my 1790's gown and wait for Mr. Hosea, who portrayed Captain John Bowles for the program. We rehearsed a few times just to tighten up on extra parts of the script that we felt comfortable wor…

Victorian Photoshoot at the National Portrait Gallery

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Hey Everyone, finally got some of the photos back from the one of the very talented photographers from the photoshoot. I'm still waiting for more pictures to come through from other photographers, but as they say "best things come to those who wait." 
 While there's not really much left for me to say that I haven't already said in the previous entry, without further wait, here's the rest of the photos. If you are interested in working with these talented photographers, I will post their contact information down below. 
Photos by Dan Arango Photography -------





In The Long Run Designs  -------




Photos by Jason Schneider  ---------







Credits & Contacts:

18th century half-boned stays

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Six years ago, I made my first pair of stays and wore them to every 18th century event I've participated in. Overtime it was starting to become very evident that there was some wear and tear and in some serious need for adjustments. For example, bones were sliding out of their channels and jabbing me in sensitive areas, the stays tabs never really sat on my hips but above them and I had to keep adjusting the stays, and the size of the stays were bigger than how they're supposed to fit and needed to be taken in a few inches...Needless to say, it was just finally time to hang them up and make a new pair. 


Yes, I should be wearing an under-petticoat and neckerchief for modesty, but I wanted to show you the outcome of what it looked like once it was finished. 


Unlike my first pair of stays from J.P.Ryan, I wanted this pair to have straps and to be half-boned stays. I opted to try out the new American Duchess pattern... I was not disappointed. Because this pattern is part of Simpl…