January 2, 2012

A new year, an 18th century 'fantasy evening', ladies' 18thc. wigs for sale, and 'let sleeping dogs lie'~


Farewell to 2011, and all it's heavy trials but also it's sweet memories. A new year has dawned, and we toasted on New Year's Eve, expressing our wishes for a new job, and an end to the difficult financial circumstances of the last three years. A little of the peace and security that so many others are able to take for granted were our fervent wishes and hopes, professed aloud to only each other in our darkened bedroom, lit only by the soft glow of a fire in the fireplace.
Although because of our plight, we have not been able to attend as many of the historical reenactments we so love, we try to get to as many as possible. I write this blog not only to celebrate my New England life in a little 230 year old house, but to share and celebrate our adventures in historical costuming and reenacting.

One small 'new year's day thing' I did for myself was to paint my toenails with gorgeous silver nail polish, and I love it!

The annual Colonial Twelfth Night Ball at the Wayside Inn in Massachusetts is fast approaching. We have had our tickets for awhile, and have put away a few dollars here and there so that we could have dinner at the 300 year old inn the night of the ball, dressed in our finest period attire, sitting in a room filled with antiques, at a table before a cozy fire.

One of several of the dining rooms at the Wayside Inn! This one happens to be my favorite~

The Taproom at the Wayside Inn. We've attended many period gatherings here in 18thc. dress, and on the night of the ball, the guests stroll from ballroom to taproom and back all evening~

For Christmas a year ago I received a completely unexpected and wonderful gift---a glowing gold and seafoam silk gown a la francais! I could almost hear angels sing when I looked at it...I wore it for the first time to last year's ball, and it was an evening that you only dream about in your private and silliest fantasies; you see yourself walking grandly into the room to gasps and murmurs of wonder.  Everyone compliments you, and tells you you are 'the most beautiful woman in the room', and strangers ask to take your photograph...sigh...
It all happened to me, just like a dream! This year, I can hardly wait to again wear this elegant and magical gown. At last year's ball, there were a few other gowns of opulent fabrics, and with yards and yards of metallic and lace trims, bows, and fripperies, but none caught the attention of everyone there like mine did. My gown was a bit simpler, and lighter on the adornment, but the soft, shimmering seafoam blue-green and burnished gold of the silk, the simple scalloped serpentine trim, and the delicate scalloped white English netting lace peeking from the sleeves, and edging the decolletage were just right.
This morning I pinned up, pressed, and hand-hemmed the petticoat and mantua of my ball gown. Although the sacque back is supposed to trail on the floor a bit, as a train, it is just not possible to dance. It causes you to step on it and stumble or trip, so for the ball I have taken the hem up just a little and whip-stitched it, so that I can do the period dances at the ball with no mishaps.

My gorgeous silk 18thc. gown a la francais...

I styled my own wig, and made all my hair ornamentation myself. This year I have made a new silk bow for the back of the wig, and a 'bouquet' of seafoam ostrich feathers as well. Along with rhinestone 'hair jewels' randomly placed here and there among the curls, I am thrilled with the result.
I will again wear the ivory silk clocked stockings and my divine 18thc. style pearl-cream leather shoes with silver marcasite buckles, and my satin French embroidered garters! I was given a gift this year of a white silk ribbon choker with one teardrop pearl, and plan to tie this around my neck. I will wear the stunning pearl drop earrings that were a gift from my friend Erin this year, and which I featured in an earlier post.  I am hoping that this year I will turn some heads as well---most especially, Adam's.
In a few weeks, I will post details about our evening at the historic in---dinner, the period dancing, the Twelfth Night cake, and more. We plan to put the photos we take up in a new gallery on our website, so I hope you will visit and see it.
Here are photos of my wig, ready for a ball.

My '18thc. Ladies' Georgian Wigs' are available by custom order.  They are available with the hand sewn side tendrils, as on mine, or without them. My wigs look like human hair, with none of the 'overly shiny' synthetic look of some wigs. I painstakingly and carefully hand style each one myself,  and include a feather or simple hair ornament. 
Please visit our website SUTLERY  to see all details and order~

I made the decorated silk bow, as well as styled the wig~
Getting ready....blush silk brocade stays, cream silk clocked stockings, 18thc. satin embroidered ribbon garters with a poem on them in french, and my gorgeous 'pearl cream' leather shoes with louis heels and old marcasite buckles...
The back of my gown a la francais. I'll feature this year's complete outfit after the ball, in a photo gallery on our website~
I love the lighthearted and amusing print at the top of this post, showing a shop with ladies trying on a variety of 18thc. 'skirt supports' such as bum rolls, bum pads, hip rolls, panniers, and pocket hoops. I myself will wear my gold brocade pocket hoops under my sacque back gown to the ball~

...And now for an "awwwww" moment! I want to close this post with pictures we took on New Year's Day of our yorkies wearing the pj's we got them for Christmas~

Happy New Year, everyone~


Richard Cottrell said...

Your cloths are amazing. I hope you had a great new Years Eve and day. I have been too busy playing with my doll House. I need to do something else. Sure takes your mind of your troubles. Hug the babies. This could be a tough year, election years always are. Richard from My Old Historic House.

Sherri Farley said...

Fabulous gown. Have fun at the ball!!!! Jammies for Yorkies.....too cute!

Historical Ken said...

I look forward to seeing the photos of your 12th Night Ball.
By the way, do you know if Wayside in has any period menus or a t-shirt with a sketch or picture of the inn?
I am interested in something like this.
Happy New Year!

An Historical Lady said...

Hi Ken,
I have never seen these things at the inn, but here is their website:


You could visit it, and call them if you want. The Wayside Inn has been welcoming travelers since 1719, and is a wonderful place (and the 'headquarters' for our reenactment group, 'The King's Own', 4th Reg't. of Foot.)

If you find something you want, we would be happy to pick it up and send it out to you. Just email us personally at

Happy New Year,

An Historical Lady said...

Hi Richard,
Thanks so much, and a happy new year to you and Sissy! LOVE the doll house!

An Historical Lady said...

Hi Sherri, and welcome! Thanks so much for commenting! I too love my gown---a real dream come true!
Happy new year,

An Historical Lady said...

Ken, I do remember that the Wayside Inn DOES have a gift shop! They have all kinds of things, but I am not sure what. Here is the online link to the shop:


I am sure they have much more in the shop than online. We would be happy to stop into the shop the night of the Twelfth Night Ball, as it is right there in the inn, just steps from the ballroom! Perhaps you could call the inn giftshop and they could hold something for you?? If so, let us know if you'd like us to pick up your purchase for you, and if so, just give them our names--Adam and Mary Spencer.



Time Traveling in Costume said...

I love your new yellow petticoat and red shoes! Its so happy looking.
Sending you best wishes for a happy and successful New Year, and that it brings you everything you need or desire.

Historical Ken said...

Thank you Mary -
I sent them an e-mail - - I appreciate the offer as well.
By the way, we took your advice and watched The Awakening Land...we LOVED it! Thanks so much for the suggestion!!

The BUTT'RY and BOOK'RY said...

Oh Mare!!
I have SOOOO missed visiting you!!
(I am at the Library now ..my computer is ca-put)
I have been trying to sit my but down to write you a letter...but am still trying to find my addresses!!(somewhere SAFE they are..with the missing Christmas cards?? Hee hee)!
We shall be attending a 12th night Ball at Old Fort Niagara
(1812) too!
Everything seems set to order for your weekend!!
Hope you and Adam had a most BLESSED Christmas!!
I am going to catch up on your posts now, Love and Blessings Linnie

The BUTT'RY and BOOK'RY said...

oh hoo hee!!!! HOW ceeeeuuuuuute are the Yorkiecutieeeeees!!!!

magadociousrex said...

Ok, so I found your page via the tasha tudor facebook page.

(I"m ACW reenactor, 85 years later ha ha )

And I just have to say, your yorkies in PJS made me giggle. Especially the last pic. OMG dogs in clothes... (my husband gives me a hard time because I put clothes on our corgis)