We are fortunate to have many, many dedicated individuals researching, writing, baking, sewing, and making so that we can tell the stories of Locust Grove’s community. Our guest blogger today is Amy Liebert, Theatrical Director and Women’s Costuming Director for our First Person Interpreters program. Amy recently draped and consulted on a new dress for Heather, who interprets the role of Ann Croghan in our cast. Here’s a look at her process, and how our interpreters at Locust Grove use historical sources to create historically accurate, and ideally, character-driven clothing, to educate museum visitors on the year 1816.
Dressing Miss Ann Croghan by Amy Liebert
Heather is 16 years old and she portrays Ann Croghan, daughter of William and Lucy Croghan who owned Locust Grove. Ann was born in 1797 and was 19 years old in 1816. Heather will hopefully portray Ann for some time to come.
This is a portrait which was painted of Ann after her 1822 marriage to Thomas Sidney Jesup. She is a brunette, wearing the color red.
We didn’t ask her to do this, but Heather actually started dying her hair, which is naturally dark blond, brown for this part. Talk about dedication! Her mother made her some false curls based on my post here, and modified this method of styling Heather’s hair.
I found the fabric for this dress on Fashion Fabrics Club, before Heather joined the cast. It reminded me of the fabric this dress from the DAR Fashionable Tyrant exhibit was made from. Since we ask that all fabric for this program be approved, I will often pick up approvable fabric when I find a good deal, and pass it on at cost to the ladies in the program.
I draped the bodice for the dress on Heather and drew up instructions for the skirt. We chose a front opening dress so she would have an easier time getting dressed.
Heather’s grandmother Patsy actually did all of the construction on the garment with my instructions and consultation. She was a real champ about learning historic clothing construction techniques!
Apparently, Patsy has come to really enjoy doing tucks.
Heather stuck with the red theme for her evening gown, which was made from some lovely red silk from 96 District Fabrics. I also draped the bodice for this on her, and helped fit all the tucks on the fashion fabric. Patsy handled all the major construction.
Here she is in action with her ‘sister’, Eliza Croghan.
I may be biased, but I think they look pretty darn great!