It was my pleasure, yet again, to organize the Victorian Ball in Bath – our 4th! This year it was a little bit earlier, and so far the coldest spring event so far – all the dolmans, mantles, coats … Continue reading
Well, I thought our previous event at the venue was a blast – but this year it was even better! After a year of preparations, marketing, meetings, sales, dealing with emergencies and unplanned changes, sewing and general organisational madness, … Continue reading
There is a Georgian Festival in Stamford every other year – and this year we were contracted for a couple of jobs there ( thanks to Black Knight Historical).
The festivities lasted 3 full days with lots of lectures, meetings, Georgian market and living history – but our adventure started on Friday night – at the Georgian ball!
We arrived in plenty of time , and were led to a proper theatre style dressing room – and it turned out we were sharing it with Dr. Lucy Worsley, who dropped in for a moment of respite between her talks, book signing and other public duties. We have met before as worked for the Worsley/Starkey documentary in Hampton court the year before, so it wasn’t too awkward. Still, not often do we get to share a dressing room with a celebrity – and I felt a bit overdressed on the occasion 🙂
At the ball we danced, we chatted – and then provided some entertaining background during the buffet break as the folks were queuing for some lovely food – there was chatting, playing cards and some sketching taking place….
After the break ( and after eating rather a lot of left over cake) there was more dancing and frivolities – until it was time to drive back home….
Saturday was a day off, and Sunday we were taking part in the fashion show, so with a day off in between, I decided to make myself a new outfit – just because I have always wanted a jacket, and because i had the fabric for ages!
I made the skirt in a lovely quilted cotton, with a fringe, and then worked the rest of the day on a 1790 pierrot jacket.
I quickly drafted the pattern and then fitted it – mock up first and then playing with the real thing, in silk and linen
Sunday morning saw the jacket finished – but i had a few hours left before we had to make a move. so time to make a new hat! a gigantic one! Not the best of my creations, admittedly, but it did the job.
Then it was packing the gear and setting off.
The fashion show went down a treat – there was a huge variety of costumes, from different decades and different walks of life, and the commentary was super as well… a few behind the scenes shots..
some unspeakable and unmentionable things happened too….
After the show, I could change into my new bits and have a stroll around Stamford – and take a few pictures
But I was not exactly happy – I felt the wig did not work very well with the colours of the walking outfit. So when we got back home, I changed wigs and we went on to snatch some autumnal pictures at the local Nature Reserve…. much happier with these!
we even had a go at some heavy machinery….
all together, a cracking weekend was had!
photography – Lucas from Timelight Photographic
costuming – Prior Attire ( the walking outfit is now available for sale – here)
shoes – American Duchess, naturellment!
Well, if your hubby is an eager photography enthusiast, I suppose one has to suffer for it… So when Lucas was in need of a model to practice new lighting/exposure/new gadget/ ( insert a suitable photography magic jargon word here) and take photos of the spring fields, what can I girl do? I rummaged through my frocks and the bridal samples to see what would fit me and look good with the back=ground we had in mind, and finally settled on a frock from our Summer Bridal collection – Jeanette. It is an 18th century inspired dress in lovely silk taffeta – the look, and styling is based on the 18th century aesthetics, the finish, construction and the cut is modern.
In the Summer Bride photoshoot it was worn over a big hoop and net petticoat suitable to the bridal theme, but for the field version we decided to make it more historical than bridal. And so, proper stays, pocket hoops, stockings and shoes are worn underneath to render the silhouette a bit closer to the historical ideal. Minimal make up, a re-styled straw hat on braided hair and a basket with freshly cut lilac ( my favourite flowers!) completed the look. a nearby field was picked and Lucas set to playing with the light…
I spent most of that time first in the car, then standing in the field, huddled in a jumper and wellies…
Once everything was ready, tested, set, re-set etc, i could ditch my jumper and wellies and start doing my job – try to look pretty and graceful while trying to avoid standing on dog turds, puddles, mud etc. The results – below – enjoy!
Photography: Pitcheresque Imagery
Dress: Prior Engagement
Shoes and stockings – American Duchess
I have always wanted to have a go at an early mantua – the period is relatively unrepresented, and I simply wanted to experiment with pleating and the look a bit more. Recently, I have been offered a perfect excuse – we were providing accessories for a lingerie shoot, featuring a collection inspired by that ultimate famme fatale and adventurer – Julie d’Aubigny (1670–1707), better known as Mademoiselle Maupin or La Maupin. The lingerie company was non other than Kiss Me Deadly, photographer Iberian Black Arts, and the models were Threnody in Velvet, SINderella Rockafella and It’s Jess. The location – the stunning White House in London, property of a Polish prince. To boot, Gemmeus was sending some pretty spectacular bling to be used in the shoot. How could I say no?
And so a deal was struck – I will provide shoes, wigs, swords, fans, hats etc, all loosely connected with 17 and 18th centuries, and in return we could shoot our own historical stuff in the place.
And so the fabrics were purchased ( silk taffeta for the mantua, silk grosgrain for the skirt) and work started – and in a few days the outfit was ready. The article on making the mantua and fontage is already commissioned by Your Wardrobe Unlockd, so won’t disclose much about the process of making here- but I can post the finished outfit!
Below – a collection of pictures from the day , kindly taken by Pitcheresque Imagery
We were the first to arrive – so we unpacked the delivered goods, and went to explore the house, planning the shoot….
And then the proper fun begun
And since the theme was La Maupin, I simply couldn’t resist going back to my fencing days – so grabbed the prop and challenged the tog to a fight…
Soon after we finished, the girls were about ready – all suitably enhanced by the arts of Sammm Agnew…
a few behind the scenes shoots….
And even I got put into the KMD bra and girdle and told to play to the camera….. Sammm did a fantastic job transforming me into a perfect extra for a Meat Loaf video – scary as hell, but love the look!
The day finished with a lovely group shot of the team
Many thanks to all involved in the shoot – it was a great day and I am looking forward to see what fantastic images will Morgana have for us!
Hope you enjoyed the post – a bit more eclectic than usual, but hey, variety is a spice of life!
The video from the shoot can be seen here – enjoy!
As some of you may already know, on December 28th we had a garage fire – a faulty socket started a rather unexpected conflagration. The fire was discovered by our neighbours and the fire brigade was called….
The firemen did a starling job, and an hour later the garage was soaked in water, steaming like hell, but secure – and so the boys left, bearing quite a lot of our post Christmas posh choccies – at least a token of gratitude.
The next morning we inspected the damage…. there was a lot of personal items there, bikes, re-enactment stuff, tools, tents, camping gear, furniture etc – but also almost all my stock – both finished items ( including the gowns from the Autumn Bride collection) and wool, silk and linen awaiting their turn to be sewn up into lovely costumes. It also contained quite a lot of other people’s items, things left behind, or brought for re sizing, embellishment etc…
The inspection did not bring good news – just a few pictures here…
Fortunately we were insured – unfortunately I didn’t realize that in order to cover the 3rd party items i need to have an additional third party option – public liability was apparently no good, as the folks who lost their things would have to claim on their own insurances and prove that I was liable – negligent, or actually starting the fire. since it was plain I wasn’t – they would lose the case. So now it looks like the money the insurance is going to pay for the stock and business equipment is going to be mostly spent on paying up other people. The insurers were a bit surprised that that ‘s what i need to do – they clearly though that was other people loss and nothing to do with me. It was just as clear to me, that i cannot afford to treat my clients so – and they are all being reimbursed ( about 4 grand…) as soon as the money arrives.. lesson to other costumers etc – do check your insurances for the 3rd party damage! I have learnt my lesson….
I will just have enough to pay up for the new fabrics to help me rebuild the stock ( will take a few years…). oh well. Not a good start of the year, but nobody was hurt – and most of the possessions are just that – possessions….
There was a silver lining though – we decided that the lovely charred wall in the garage and all the damaged items are only too good not to take advantage of, so we held 2 photo shoots in the garage, exploring the post apocalyptic, distressed ideas, letting the gowns shine one last time….
Many, many thanks to the models who come over and got dirty with us!
photography – Pitcheresque Imagery
models: Miss Lilian Love, Helen Underwood, Jenny Bowers, Izabela Pitcher, Lucas Pitcher
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.
Petticoat ready, I was working on the gown mock up – and Julia was fine tuning her latest corset pattern…
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!
Julia made a lot of progress on her toiles too 🙂
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!
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…
We just about had time for some more corset fun trying out the toiles – and I had a go at that too!
and then it was time for me to zoom off home – driving through some superb English countryside, in lovely November weather.
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…
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…
The result, nicely edited, can be viewed here:
Altogether, a very pleasant experience, and I now have one more frock in my wardrobe – so a double win!:-)
Our first Asylum. The biggest Steampunk event of the Year – and what an event it was! We were there mostly as traders, selling Steampunk and Victorian themed articles of clothing to fellow Steampunks – but we also managed to go to the ball and take part in the Fashion show.
We arrived on Friday, staying in a hotel conveniently located just a few minutes walk from the centre of Lincoln. On arrival we had just about half an hour to unpack and then deliver all our bits for the fashion show – almost across the street!
The Fashion Show.
Prior Attire was participating in two parts of the show – first part was mostly historical costume – and here we showcased a 1877 poloniase ( modeled by lovely Jill) and a 1883 evening gown in pink silk ( modeled by Sandi) and 3 riding habits – 1785, 1810 and 1885 – forming a nice bridge with our Steampunk collection to be shown in the second part – The Steampunk Amazones. Lucas was drafted to do the commentary, so both of us were busy ! the habits were modeled by Anett, Adrienne and me. you can view the habits in this post
The show started – first the historical part…
then a quick change into the steampunk gear and the Amazones were parading on the catwalk
Alas, with me supervising the attire and modelling, and Lucas commentating, neither of us was able to take photos of the show:-( but dont worry, you can see the collections here and here, and i will add the official pictures once they make their way over to me.
I also regret not being able to take photo of the other designers there were some truly spectacular designs, clothes, hairdos etc around – very, very varied, and very very impressive!
After the show, things were packed up, showed into the car – and we could at last relax – and more importantly, eat something! we found a fantastic little Mexican restaurant jut next to the venue, so without much ado we got in and tucked in – and the food was amazing!
not only the food was good – the music was superb and since we were the last customers, we even got to dance a couple of salsa tracks and a merengue – with some of the stuff joining in. i bet it must have looked pretty weird, Mr. Darcy spinning the Ringmistress around, but it was fun!
Next day = the market! we were at Westgate centre, all set up by 10 and ready to trade .
there were loads of interesting stands and people around – and this time we did manage to take a few pictures!
After a very busy day we had just enough time to get back to the hotel, get changed and to head for the ball…
the ball started with drinks and food, very welcome after all that work – but alas it disappointed on the dancing front. we did manage to find a few tunes on the dj’s list and the name of the ball was saved by having a couple of slow waltzes – and a few couples did join us on the dance floor. alas, about 4 waltzes was all we had and after that music turned to bland pop and nobody danced at all. fortunately, the remaining entertainment was great -especially when the unmissable Professor Elemental appeared on the podium – the whole room vibrated with the rhythm of his chap-hop, and the lyrics were great. for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure yet – check his site…http://www.professorelemental.com/home
Next day saw us trading in our Neobedouin guise ( thanks to Navigatrix for the pic!)
and again, we were busy chatting to all the folks, selling and buying things. alas, being stuck at the stall, we missed out on all the other events going on in other places – the dirigible races, parades etc.
Altogether, a smashing event – if you are interested in attending next year, her’s the link – http://steampunk.synthasite.com/
and if you need clothing – well, the have put the remainder of the stock on ale in our etsy shop – have a browse!
Victorian Delights take place in Leighton House, London in May – the event is a part of a nationwide themed events called Museums at Night, when museums stay open after hours and provide some additional entertainment. Prior Attire has been honoured to participate in the event for the second time this year – though this post will share the impressions from both 2012 and 2013 events.
Our first time in Leighton House – and what a spectacular place! We were hired to provide background characters for the Victorian Themed event – and the 3 of us: our friend Eve, my husband Lucas and me, made our way to London on a rather rainy Friday afternoon. Our job was to mingle with the visitors, pose for photographs and generally provide inspiring conversation and serve as a Victorian eye candy.
we all dress ed the part – Eve, was happy to wear her new dress I have just finished for her – in bright colours, a start contrast to her usual black – Eve often works as Queen Victoria, hence the mourning… on this occasion, she adopted a different character – a garishly dressed wife of a Nuveau Riche – a stair rod seller.
Lucas and I however at that time did not have much of a choice as far as Victorian garb was involved – we both wore our wedding outfits – very suitable since a bride would be wearing her wedding satins in the 2 years following her nuptials, when she was visiting relatives etc. still, the clothes worked well, and I even aquired a proper Victorian sketching pad and a pencil – I do draw and since Leighton House is all about art, it was a suitable think to carry – and use, and it served very well as a conversational gambit.
The hours passed quickly on chatting, drawing, posing, more chatting – altogether a very good time was had by all.
Altogether, a lovely event and it was great to be involved. The following year, with a few mprovements, we vowed, would be even better.
And you know what?
This time it was arranged for a bigger scope – and the event had a much more structured feel to it. Again, Prior Attire was hired – as was Eve, in her traditional capacity as Queen Victoria. Eve’s husband, Steve assumed the role of Sir Henry Ponsonby, the Queen’s private secretary, and our friend, Eleanor, was her Mistress of the Robes.
Lucas and I were a part of the retinue – again mingling and chatting, mostly talking about Victorian etiquette and manners, especially important as the Queen was holding an audience, so it was the responsibility of us all to make ure her Majesty is addressed properly . I also delivered a talk on the secret language of the fan, demonstrating how a simple fashion accessory can be instrumental in sending messages to eligible men….
The evening was great – lovely weather, lots of interesting people flocking into the Hous, period music playing in the background, people queuing for the caricaturist, discussing art, manners – or shady medicinal knowledge with the quack… and evening not to be forgotten!
at the end of the day, traditionally, we indulged in a little photo shoot – enjoy!
my new gown definitely went well with the surroundings! more on the gown’s creation here:
and so, after another successful night, we are hoping that next year it will be just as good – or Better! 🙂
Just back from a lovely event in Stamford – we learnt about it quite late, when all the stalls were sold out, but since there was a cancellation on Thursday, we were invited to trade! it was a short notice, but since Stamford is only about 50 minutes drive from Bedford, we decided to take the opportunity to play:-)
The event was organized by Lorna from Fell From Grace, and was held in a lovely town of Stamford – a historic town, all built in stone – very, very pretty!
There was quite a lot of Steampunk fun going on over the whole event, alas, since it was such a short notice for us, we had already committed to other plans. sill, we were happy to attend the market!
The market was open to the public from 10 to 4.30, and was quite a busy little affair. There was a good turn out of the traders, with loads of interesting things, and there was a lot of entertainment going on on the stage, so we were far from bored!
All ready at the stall- and for today’s event I chose to wear my outfit from the Steampunk Travellers collection – the Conductrice – as t is both stylish and rather comfy! I also wore my Victorian Tavistock boots ( supplier: American Duchess) from the first time – and so was learning how to use my button hook !
I had a quick look around the stalls before the public turned out – lots of interesting things, lots of familiar faces – and a few new ones too!
both pics from a stall Pommygranit
The trader and his lovely boxes – from Dodo Black Rainbow
and a lovely underbust in interesting fabric from the Addixtion..
opposite us we had Handcrafted Leatherwork with a full range of leathery things! exciting!
and next to us, lovely ladies from Ornamentology
Let us not forget the organizers – busy as always!
and my own dear husband, intently gazing at the stage…
and on the stage we had several things happening = poetry and rapping, magic – and most exciting, competition! the best facial hair…
( the winner was Cpt.Bellinger, btw)
ther was a best Steampunk pet competition – won by Otto..
and traditionally., Tea Duelling..
to add to all this excitement we had a terrible case of South Tottenham ( when the soggy biccy falls into the cleavage of the lady..). fortunately, there were a lot of volunteers ready to help…
And there was the public – and it must be said that at Steampunk events the public tends to be just as interesting as the rest of the performers – we had a few really lovely chats with interesting people!
outside, the two worlds mixed a bit more – and not a few people wandered inside, lured by the costumes and colorful, unusual things – many said that they have never heard of steampunk and that was their first contact – and that they enjoyed it immensely, liked the idea, the gear, the creativity and the ethos behind it – so there may be a few more fledgling steampunks in Stamford by now”
And to boot it all, at the end of the day we were all treated to delicious scones!!!
and me, as always, managed to get a few pics snapped, to show off my new boots!
and after last minute purchase of two Chinese parasols ( really, we grabbed the things as they were being packed and carried out of the hall)…
we packed up and it was time to go home.
I must admit i was a tad tired…
but happy with my own purchase – a prop for the photo shoot of our next collection, Steampunk Amazones – a lovely whip!
And now, I think it is time for a glass of port and some rest! Hope you enjoyed the write up, many thanks to all the organizer and participant for a fantastic day!
Izabela PItcher, Prior Attire – and our Steampunk page: Off The Rails