Gaskells Victorian Ball, Norcal Pirate Festival, Red Polonaise

Jun 21, 2011 11 comments
Lady Rebecca and me on the schooner.  It was a lovely sail.  I was out for a lovely afternoon, but Rebecca was being transported to Barbados to be tried for crimes unmentionable. (j/k :-)

This past weekend I drove down to the Bay Area for Gaskells ( and the Norcal Pirate Festival in Vallejo, CA.  I got to see all my friends I miss so much, and meet tons of new people, too.

Special shout-out to Lady Rebecca, who let me follow her around all day.  We took a sail on the Freda B, a restored schooner, and had a lovely time promenading through the pirate hoards :-).

More photos and festivities....

Gaskells - Saturday Night
Chrissy and me, red bustle ladies

Chrissy (amaaaazing seamstress) and me - silly face photo.  Well, she's just

Caira's freaking awesome pink and black dress.  This is a period-accurate Victorian flocked silk, but she's pretty sure it won't pass Dickens Costume Check, hahaha
Left to right: Sarah, Jenny, Jeff, Me, Billy
Devonshires, dyed red, with patriotic bows.  Danced all night in these, and walked around Pirate Fair the next day too.  Comfy :-)
Pirate Festival - Sunday
On board the Freda B - photo by Rebecca.  Thanks to Rebecca lending me ribbons, my hat and hair didn't get ripped off my head by the wind.
Me and Daniel N., new friend :-D  Photo by Daniel's daughter, Raven.
In the morning, before the heat and sweat.  Look how fresh we are! lol.
The canon battle between ships and shore.
Here she is, the Freda B.  Captained by a ginger, quite erratic!
Such lovely ladies of the Governor's tent - left to right, Shelley, Janice, Thena, Juliana, me, and Aurie
James in his velvet suit.  He must've been ROASTIN'.  It was 97* or so, quite toasty.
Rebecca and me when we came back from our trip out to sea.
Rebecca's gown was awesome.  She used patterns from Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 1: 1660-1860  and the front of her gown was *perfect*.  You wouldn't know it, either, but she has about a thousand things in her pockets too :-D

My verdict on the Revolution Dress as a whole - I loved wearing the red polonaise and the two different petticoats, especially the walking-length striped cotton.  I was hot on Sunday, but didn't die, thanks to the ladies of the Governor's tent, and some furious fanning.

I had issues with the hair, not because it was hard to wear (although it started to move around by the end of Sunday, with the wind and sweat), but because it looks kindof ridiculous!  I need to add more hair, and try different curling methods.  I want bigger curls, not so clown-like.  Also, the "tails" that hung down lost their curl immediately when I unrolled them for Gaskells.  It looks like 18th c. women, especially in America, had this problem too.  The hair just went straight, so next time I'm going to set them on curlers rather than using the curling iron.

That hair needs some work.  So does my posture. 

I wore the wide red, white, and blue sash around my waist, big bow in back, but my rhinestone buckle wouldn't stay put.  A couple discreet pins should fix that.

The shoes, I'm happy to say, were great, although I have to go back and revise my original statement that the color didn't bleed.  It did - I was sweating a lot, and wearing white "trouser socks," which are poly-something, and there is some color from the leather lining.  Comfort-wise, I danced all night in them, and tromped around Pirate Fair all the next day, with nothing beyond the usual pain of being on one's feet for so long.  (Don't forget! The Devonshire shoes come on pre-sale August 1)


  1. SQUEEE! You look beautiful!!!! I wish I could go to those! :)

  2. You look lovely! The hair looks awesome in both events!

  3. It looks like you had a great time, and you looked great!

    I can rarely get my curls to set, neither with curling iron or curlers. I don't know if it's my hair, the humidity where I live or modern conditioners. It's so annoying.

  4. I blogged about the curlers I used which are "pillow" curlers...they're ah-mazing, and you can control how loose or tightly you want them curled...

    As with personal experience (and with the short hair too) you have to really really tease the crap out of your hair (for hours) if you have really tight don't end up with a large loose curl, but you can get some amazing frizz. For the event I went to in March, I teased my hair for over 2 hours and it still wasn't where I wanted it...

  5. Weeeeee - you look a-may-zing!

    (GentlewomanThief/Clare - still can't comment from my Wordpress a/c!)

  6. Love it! Isn't it incredible how a quick petticoat change gives you two unique outfits? Love how that works! It feels like a magic trick!

    Awesome photos! :)

  7. Abby, I'm going to give those pillow curlers a try - another reader also suggested them so I best be followin' the advice! I can't do it with my own hair, of course, but maybe it's a better solution for the wiglet.

    I'm glad you guys approve of the dress. It had its issues, lol - damn rhinestone buckle wouldn't stay put! - but nothing tore, fell off, sagged. I think the warping in front seriously has to do mostly with my atrocious posture, haha, but if I delude myself enough I can call it "Keira Knightly Posture," lol.

    On to the next project. Thank you for following me:-)

  8. I usually use foam curlers if I want the really tight curls, but I couldn't find them on Sunday, so I used pin curls (which give me slightly looser curls) for the two little curls by my face, and rag curls for the two longer curls in back. It was my first time trying rag curls, and I was surprised how nice and tight they turned out!

    Of course, I have long naturally curly/frizzy hair anyway, but I have tried the foam curlers on some human hair pieces in the past, and they seem to work nearly as well on there as on my hair.

  9. Just lovely!!! Wowowowowow!

  10. Good times! You looked amazing at both events :) Loving the saucyness of the red gown!

  11. Love the way your gown came out and you looked devine! I usually get the best (longest lasting) curls with Caruso steam curlers. My hair is stick straight and baby fine; these are the only curlers that work in my hair.


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