Thursday, August 10, 2017

Day 10: Visual Source

            As an interpreter in Colonial Williamsburg, I’m in costume every single day. While I sometimes wear my own 18th century clothing after sending it through the review board, most of the time I wear clothing from my allotment, made by our Costume Design Center. About a month ago, I paired my brown jacket with my blue petticoat, and one of my friends told me that I looked like a painting she knew!

The Chocolate Girl, by Jean-Étienne Liotard, 1745

            Obviously, I looked it up, and the similarities were striking.

            It only took me a moment to decide to replicate the rest of the outfit (and maybe the petticoat and jacket eventually, but not quite yet). The apron would be easy to make, and the cap, while slightly different than other caps that I’d made before, wouldn’t present too much of a challenge.

            For the apron, I was fortunate that I had a length of linen in my sewing stash, so I whipped up a pinner front apron using the portrait and a few other extant garments as my references. I mostly used the apron from Costume Close-Up, although I altered a few of the measurements to make it fit both my body proportions and the look of the portrait better.

            The cap was a bit different, since I had to do some more guess work and a lot more research, but it did come together. You’ve probably already seen my post from Day 2, but if you haven’t you can go back and check it out.

            The final step was to stage a photo shoot in the only place that made sense – the Charlton Coffeehouse! They serve sipping chocolate made using an 18th century recipe, and so I posed with one of their trays and some china, and the help of a few of my friends.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely! I used that same painting as inspiration for an opera costume years ago, I think it was the maid in 'Force of Destiny' which is set at that time, although written in the 1860s. A bloody awful production, but I had fun learning how to make some very shoddy stays for chorus members, and using up my store of old curtains. [Very low budget stuff!] Thanks for this, fun times are great to remember. I just wish I had more photos of things I made then.