Dressmaker and Costume Historian
December issue of Best Job Ever!
January 5, 2016
The festive season was full of joy and festive cheer…….and a lot of miles!
Starting off the month was a trip to Bradford to visit the Connaught Ladies Luncheon Club to present ‘Confessions of an Edwardian Shopoholic at Christmas’. Set in beautiful surroundings of the Great Victoria Hotel the afternoon was a great success, concluding in a fascinating conversation with a woman who’s grandmother had attended Cambridge University back in the 1890s.
Later that week I joined History Wardrobe at the Frazer Theatre in Knaresborough to perform ‘Fairy Tale Fashion’ for the WI. Performing the show on a stage created an amazing atmosphere and resulted in a fantastic night.
No rest for the wicked as the following day I headed back north to Harrogate to present ‘Body Beautiful: in search of the ideal woman’, at The Royal Pump Rooms, as part of their exhibition ‘Wonderful Women’. Apart from a few trips round inner Harrogate convoluted road system to find parking the afternoon was a great success. Though my hunt for an original Liberty bodice to display continues……..
Later that week saw History Wardrobe present the final ‘Dress for Every Decade’ talk, specially commissioned for the Women’s Institutes 100th Birthday, for the West Yorkshire Federation Christmas meal. To say it was enjoyable would be an understatement! Starting with hilarity at the lunch table when one woman got a fortune telling fish in her cracker (there are many feeble and passionate ladies on the committee!), to reminding them of the horrifying concept of matching shell suits! A fantastic afternoon and a great way to finish the WI centenary year.
This busy week continued with a trip to Scarborough Art Gallery to present ‘Fairy Tale Fashion’ with History Wardrobe. Despite being sat in a traffic jam for over an hour, which caused me to miss a History Wardrobe cake and tea session, I made it on time and enjoyed a fantastic evening. It was a huge boost to know that the Art Gallery was extremely pleased with audience numbers.
The week ended with me hopping behind the wheel at 6.30am(!) to head down to Eltham Palace, an Art Deco English Heritage property in South London, to present ‘Glitz and Glamour: getting ready for a Christmas party!’. Three presentations over the course of the day saw me entertain 250+ people with the delights of 1930s evening wear. A very long day but well worth it to meet some fantastic people and greet some familiar faces from the event in the summer.
In my brief moments of spare time I completed making a wool Tudor dress for my friend Lindsey who moved to Australia last year. Once finished I dropped it off with her dad so he could take it to her at Christmas. I confess myself a little puzzled as to why she would need a long woollen dress in a country enjoying a balmy 40c summer!
My final week of work before my Christmas holidays started with a visit to the Garforth Ladies Luncheon Club for my final event of the year. The ladies loved ‘Confessions of an Edwardian Shopoholic at Christmas’ and left full of festive cheer and ready for a final bout of Christmas shopping.
Not ready to hang up the car keys just yet I drove to Kenwood House in London to discuss a commission I had been successful in tendering for. More news on that in the new year!
Rounding off the year was a confirmation of a commission for three WWI costumes for Greenwich museums and a request to quote for three Roman costumes for the Colchester Archaeological Trust. An interview by Notts Tv at the National Civil War costume on their Puritan Christmas saw the interviewer trying on one of the costumes I made – brilliant!
What an amazing year it has been, full of great memories and projects. I can’t wait to see what 2016 has to hold!