Montgomery Place Picnic

This past Sunday, the Empire State Costumers core group met up for a Victorian picnic lunch on the grounds of Montgomery Place, at Annandale-on-Hudson. We decided not to pay for a house tour and just stay on the grounds, so I don't know very much about the house's history - but it's a Livingston property, like Clermont.

I drove down to Julie's house in plainclothes, and got dressed up there. Julie's man Dan (also dolled up!) drove us over to pick up Rebecca, and then we all went off in the sunshine, in a car stuffed as full of food and bustles as possible.

A handy docent took our picture on the front porch. (I went with an adolescent hairstyle because I am routinely taken for a teenager. And it was simple.)

Ooh, that reminds me. I forgot to post about going to the Floral Fête! There was a big to-do in Saratoga Springs this summer because it was the racetrack's 150th anniversary. To celebrate, they brought back the Floral Fête, a parade and festival that was a yearly event in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I did the math wrong and thought that 1873 was the year, and by the time I realized it was 1863 we'd already decided to go with 1873. These are the same gowns we made for the Fête.

The food was delicious. Despite my corset, I ate quite a bit of it.

We had a bit of discussion about the patterns I was planning to use here on the blog at one point, and I did decide that 1873 needed a proper hooped bustle ... but my budget and my time needed me to be quicker and make a lobster-tail. I did learn a lesson, though - even if you have a lot of reed around, don't use reed to bone a bustle, lobster-tail or otherwise. Part of the problem was that I sat on it in the car to go to Saratoga back in the summer and squished it, but it would have been flimsy either way.

I did end up using the Janet Arnold ca. 1871 pattern. I like it very much, but I would like it even more if I ever got around to making the ruffle to go around the bottom of the skirt. I didn't have the time before the Fête, and after the Fête I just kind of put it to one side to think about other things.

I didn't have too much trouble with it, except for a couple of little fitting issues. There's a bit too much fabric between my bustline and the neckline (unfortunate effect of being entirely too short-waisted); also, the opening of the bustled overskirt is very gappy and wrinkled. However, I realized after all the pictures that the problem there is just that I didn't cut the top of the overskirt with enough curve, so I may get around to fixing that one of these days! Maybe after I wash the skirt.

We had a little adventure in finding several small turtles making their way down to the pond at the bottom of the hill.

All in all, it was a very good trip. You can see some more pictures on our Facebook page, and if you happen to be anywhere near us, I hope you'll join the group and come along to one of our events!