Regency Christmas at Aston: dress project and event

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 Not so long since we were at Aston Hall doing 17th century event, we were asked by Black Knight Historical to  join the forces yet again – this time for filming a short feature film for the NBC. Sounded great,  a nice job, interesting subject ( celebration of Christmas in circa 1820 as described by Washington Irving  – yes the same bloke who wrote Sleepy Hollow) – but no frock!  My only other Regency outfit was a riding habit ( as can be seen here), and that was not really suitable indoor. So, a new frock was  needed- and hardly much time left to make one, let alone spending ages deciding on fabrics etc – I had to make do with whatever I had available.

 A brief research and looking at the 1820 images ( lots of them now on my Pinterest board) decided on the style – an after a brief dither between a black velvet winter gown and a dusty rose satin, satin emerged a winner -mostly because it looked great with some lace I had available.

The next Stitch and Bitch session at Julia’s from Sew Curvy was the designated time for making a frock and a simple petticoat.

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petticoat hem detail

Petticoat ready, I was working on the gown  mock up – and Julia was fine tuning her latest corset pattern…

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girls just wanna have fun!

The day flew by, trying on different corset toiles, stitching the frock, chatting etc. at the end of the day the basic frock was ready – just sleeves, lace and the closure was needed!

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  Julia made a lot of progress on her toiles too 🙂

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 At that point it was time to go home, eat something, have a cuppa or a drink and sit on a sofa chatting and doing some hand stitching – attaching all that lace onto the frock!

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Next day was just finishing our project – and getting a bit silly too- there was a tire swing in the yard, it would be a crime not to test the new dress on it…

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wheeeee!

   We just about had time for some more corset fun trying out the toiles – and I had a go at that too!

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Fit perfected:-)

and then it was time for me to zoom off home – driving through some superb English countryside, in lovely November weather.

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Stunning autumnal colours!

  At home,  I finished the interior seams of the frock,  borrowed some suitable jewels, and we were ready to rock – all sorted for the filming.

We arrived at Aston Hall in plenty of time to change from our casuals into  the finery –  there were 6 of us, 4 in Regency gear and our musicians in somewhat earlier attire.

 As the film crew was busy setting the lights, checking sound etc, we sneaked out for a little shoot outside – the results below…

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with Ian from BKH

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sneaking around…. hoping to catch Darcy emerging from the lake no doubt..

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no such luck – he was fully dressed….

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still, we did have some fun!

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the team: Ian, Tee, me, Kindra and Gini

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Ian trying to’do’ a Mr. Collins. Scary…

 Then it was time to do the job – we danced ( the Duke of Kent waltz will never be the same without a cameraman sitting on the floor trying to film upwards, between the couples…), we played games, we talked, we sang, we listened to the music – all the things that a Regency family would be doing during the festive season – and all of that was filmed.

 We had a short break for a slice of pizza ( alas the local pizzeria was pretty awful – it was difficult to eat more than 1 slice…), and after finalizing the filming, drove back home…

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pizza delivery… Regency style.

 The result, nicely edited, can be viewed here:

http://www.today.com/video/today/53914632/

  Altogether, a very pleasant experience, and I now have one more frock in my wardrobe – so a double win!:-)

Candlelight Nights in Aston Hall

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 Aston Hall hosts  Candlelit tours for 6 nights in November – and this year  Prior Attire was there for a ride!  The working team was put together by the industrious Black Knight Historical, and each evening we were there, from 6 to 9 ( or later), performing our roles – people from the household,  circa 1640, preparing for Christmas. each of us had a station, props, agreed talks etc, and we entertained the visitors – chatting about the life during the English Civil War,  Christmas customs, food, clothes etc.

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Lucas sporting his new kit made especially for the occasion

 I was sat with Gini, in the gallery, working diligently on my bobbin lace, whereas Gini was sewing away, trying to see something in the candlelight – fortunately  our loupes de dentellieres ( water lens)  were a great help – and they did attract a lot of attention too!

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 A bit further on, Lucas was in his element, as a physician – a bit of naturalist, early scientist and some astronomy thrown together, the talk was all about horoscopes, symptoms, humours, cures, bloodletting and urine sampling – great fun:-)

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what ails you, madam? let me know your date and time of birth and i shall soon come up with the best cure!

Other characters included kitchen staff, servants, soldiers, musicians,nobles, scribes etc – and  Lucas managed to run around and take a few shots before the public came in one day… enjoy!

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young recruit…

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musicians, in Elizabethan gear, cannot keep up with the fashions:-)

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Gini and Andy, as house servants – Gini as a sempstress and Andy getting the greenery ready for decoration the house, here caught just before leaving for their posts

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no one was idle…

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looking pensive…

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Julia and Molly – and Molly was a firm favourite with the public!

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Ian keeping an eye on everything:-)

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The 6 nights were  full of work, talk and enjoyment – for both us and the public:-) the Hall was superb and attracted huge crowds – there were a few good thousands people going through the building over the duration of the event!

Many thanks to Black Knight Historical for providing us with the opportunity to work there for 6 magical evenings!