Earlier this year I got to spend a magical 18th century-themed weekend at Wagner House in Lakewood, Washington. I’ll share pictures of the event activities and the gorgeously attired attendees in my next post, but in this one I’m sharing the “18th century shepherdess” costume I put together for the picnic. It is historically inspired but not historically accurate, but was still delightful to wear!
Portraits in this post are by Gloria and Mike of In the Long Run Designs. I was lucky to have a photoshoot with them inside and outside Wagner House.
Since I had to fly to the event, to be efficient with suitcase space I decided to wear an outfit where I could reuse the undergarments (stays, shift, bum pad, under petticoat) for my evening look. I already owned most of the items needed for my outfit except for the moire petticoat and embroidered apron I made.
A number of small, women-owned businesses made this outfit possible! My beautiful embroidered silk stays were custom made by Redthreaded. My delightful bergere hat is a concoction by Atelier Mela. And of course, as always, American Duchess was the source of my shoes (Dunmores) and clocked stockings. I carried a little stuffed sheep that was named Sarah, at the suggestion (insistence) of Sarah of La Dauphine Costuming.
I made my petticoat in an 18th century style with front and back ties and side slits for my pockets. There are tutorials online that you can find to make your own and also one in the American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Dressmaking (affiliate link). It is a simple design with one front and one back panel pleated into the waistbands. I used a vintage moire fabric I purchased from Elizabeth Emerson Designs and “rococo” ribbon trim from Mokuba.
I added a pleated decorative “ruffle” to the bottom of my petticoat. Due to the thickness of the cotton rayon moire the pleats don’t iron down as crisply as taffeta pleats, but the ribbon trim across the top helped!
I have some of this fabric left and I am thinking of making a matching jacket at some point.
For the apron I used a scrap of embroidered netting that I got from a friend. The length of the apron was determined by the size of the remnant I had. (Some of you may recognize this as a “shabby chic” curtain that is used by many cosplayers who make Queen Padme Amidala’s picnic dress!)
The apron is attached to a simple waistband with organza ribbon ties. The raw edges of the netting were hidden by some lace I had in the stash that were just the right color!
My linen shift is not actually a historically correct 18th century one, but has a drawstring neckline and sleeves so that I can adjust it for different outfits. I originally made it for my 1660s outfit, and you can find instructions for it in the post about my Cavalier dress.
My hair consisted of a wig I styled myself using tips from the American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Beauty (affiliate link) and 18th Century Hair and Wig Styling by Kendra van Cleave.
Wagner House was quite beautiful and I’ll share some pictures of the rest of the weekend in my next post!