Monday, April 28, 2008

Fort Frederick 18 Century Market

I'm still waiting on my sewing stuff to show up, but my husband was really great and packed an outfit for me when I heard about the Fort Frederick 18th century fair. That was a really funny international call - my poor husband overseas, digging through my costume bins, trying to figure out what on earth I meant by 'curacao.' He did a beautiful job, and I had everything I needed to be period from head to toe (I got to wear my new silk stockings, silk kerchief, and shoes).
I was happy that everything still fit. I haven't worn it since I sewed it way back in 2004. It was about time this costume had an outing! I love the picture (above) that shows off how I'm wearing my hat turned up.
My friend Missy from college came with me to the fair (along with poor Dave who was a very good sport the entire day...though we did find some powder horns and bows that struck his interest). It turns out that Missy is a big history buff, and a blossoming period fashion enthusiast (I think her preferred eras are medieval and civil war). It was wonderful to have someone with me to ooh and aah over the craftsmanship that we saw.
The fair was an enormous gathering of 18th century vendors, known as 'sutlers.' It was hosted on the grounds of Fort Frederick. The Fort was open, and we really intended to see the fort as well, but frankly there were so many tents to see that we didn't get a chance. There were some amazing dresses, accessories, fabrics, and patterns. It was a bit overwhelming at times. Above, I'm admiring hand quilted petticoats and pockets.
The really neat event of the day was meeting the Silly Sisters. I have admired their work and website for many years. I always look at websites when I'm looking for ideas, and they always had wonderful 18th century clothing. I was standing in line for drinks when I noticed the amazing quality and workmanship of the woman's gown, in line ahead of me. I told her how wonderful it was, and asked if she had made it. It turned out she was one of the Silly Sisters. I promptly tracked down their tent so that I could be photographed with both of the sisters. There business was hopping, but they were very kind and even answered a few questions I had about costuming for business instead of pleasure.
Finally, I just had to put up a few of the neat things we saw during the day. There were quite a few little ones in costume (one as young as three months). It was adorable seeing them toddle around in their long gowns, but I thought this shot was priceless. What a neat way to ride around and keep the sun off.
This woman was selling pottery, but it was her spinning that drew us to her tent. She was spinning a very fine grey wool, and then showed us a finished pair of thick wool socks she had made from the yarn. She had a partially knitted pair of socks sitting next to her as well. There's something very soothing about sitting and watching spinning.

I managed, for the most part, to contain myself and avoid purchasing everything is site (no easy feat...a lot of the period organdy coifs were very tempting). I came home with a pattern I'd been looking for ( shipping charges), enough batiste to make my regency chemise, and a clasp for my black cloak. Our stuff arrives this week, so once we sort out the chaos, hopefully there will be some sewing to show.

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