Dressing Miss Ann Croghan

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.

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Dressing Miss Ann Croghan by Amy Liebert

Heather as Ann Croghan on the porch of Locust Grove

Heather as Ann Croghan on the porch of Locust Grove

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.

Portrait of Ann Croghan Jesup

Portrait of Ann Croghan Jesup

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.

Polka Dot printed dress, 1810-1815, from private collection

1810-1815 (Private Collection)

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 as Ann Croghan wearing front opening dress

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!

Heather wearing polka dot dress as seen from the back

Apparently, Patsy has come to really enjoy doing tucks.

Tucks at the hem of Heather's skirt

Here, you can see the tucks at the hem of Heather’s skirt.

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.

Bodice of red dress ins progress

Here she is in action with her ‘sister’, Eliza Croghan.

Heather as Ann Croghan and Emily as Eliza Croghan

Heather as Ann Croghan and Emily as Eliza Croghan

I may be biased, but I think they look pretty darn great!

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You can read more of Amy’s work on her blog, Places in Time. Look for Ann Croghan’s dress in action during Christmastide, 1816 on Saturday, December 8 from 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm!

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Market Fair Vendor Spotlight: 96 District Fabrics

The wait is almost over–Market Fair is this weekend! The event runs 10am-4:30pm daily on Saturday, October 29, and Sunday, October 30. We’ll have new activities and vendors, but lots of familiar faces as well, including the subject of our last vendor spotlight. Beth of 96 District Fabrics graciously agreed to tell us about her life with period fabrics! Take it away, Beth!

My husband Jimmy and I own 96 District Fabrics and we sell period appropriate fabrics, patterns and sewing accessories for reenactors. We bought the business five years ago from friends and we quit our jobs and took on this business full time. We plan to continue with this career path until it is no longer enjoyable.

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The 96 District Team, Beth and Jimmy. Photo courtesy of 96 District Fabrics. 

 

This will be our fifth year in attendance at  Market Fair. We do quite a few different time periods and we look forward to seeing our friends from different regions and time periods. We never have a dull moment! It’s exciting to be a merchant … getting to help people create their custom outfits and helping them pick just the right fabric for just the right project.  We look forward to seeing what our customers have created from previous years purchases and getting involved in what new projects and ideas they have for their next undertaking. Most of the fabrics we carry were created for a different purpose whether it be for quilting, curtains or upholstery. Not just reenactors buy our products as many people appreciate good quality all natural fabrics. Something of which you don’t find very often in modern fabric stores. One of our main challenges is continuously searching for period appropriate fabrics at an affordable price for our customers.

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Silks and ribbons and more! Photo courtesy of 96 District Fabrics. 

We attend 25 to 30 events a year while some are only a weekend others last a week and one even lasts for two weeks. Customers can look up our website and see what events we will be attending throughout the year. We are only a phone call or email away!

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Look for the 96 District Tent this weekend! Photo courtesy of Heather Hiner. 

Thanks, Beth! We can’t wait to see you this weekend and see all the treasures you have with you!

We hope to see all of you at Market Fair this weekend–the sheep are returning, children can muster with the militia, there will be music and games and shopping and delicious food–truly, what more could you want? Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for children. Check our website and this blog before you visit for the full schedule of events. We’ll also have updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  If you see your friendly neighborhood blogger Hannah racing around with a camera, please say hello! It’s always a pleasure to meet new friends. Meet you in the 18th century!

Humbly yours,

Hannah

Making Your Own Piece of History: The Virginia Floor Cloth and Textile Company

January is a quiet, yet busy month here on Blankenbaker Lane. Locust Grove staff and volunteers are cleaning the house and visitors’ center, performing necessary maintenance, taking store inventory, and planning our calendar of the events for the upcoming year. Stay tuned for our complete 2016 calendar, but I am excited to announce that our first workshop of the year has been scheduled and is taking reservations! Virginia Tucker of the Virginia Floor Cloth and Textiles Company will present a two-day Painted Floor Cloth Workshop on February 6 and 7, from 10-4PM each day. Participants will be trained in the lost art of creating an 18th Century-style painted black and white floor cloth. A 24″ x 30″ floor cloth will be the result of the weekend’s workshop. All supplies will be provided and will be included in the $135 fee. Virginia and her husband Randolph have been involved with Locust Grove for 12 years, so I thought it was high time they were profiled for the blog. Read on to learn more about them and their work!
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Virginia Tucker outside her booth at the 2015 Market Fair. 

Virginia Tucker and her husband Randolph own the Virginia Floor Cloth & Textiles Company,  located in Louisville, KY. They are living historians and have a shop that travels to historic events in the Mid West and to the East Coast. Virginia has  been creating handmade floor cloths for over 16 years, and began hand dying and block printing scarves and fabric for the last 8 years. The Tuckers are constantly researching to provide as much authenticity to their product as possible.
How did you get started with historic floor cloths and textiles?
 In 1999 I was invited by a friend Angela Burnley of Burnley and Trowbridge fabrics to come to an event in Goodlettsville, TN called Manskers Station. She said bring the children and I will provide you with clothing to wear. That was all it took for me to become a lover of history and historic items. This is where I saw my first floor cloth.
How would floor cloths have been used? Why are they still practical?
Floor cloths go back as far as 1700. They were used in a variety of ways. Hall ways to entire rooms. We believe that initially they were created from the sail cloth that ships changed after they had been torn and were no longer able to be used as sails. They were then cut to make smaller floor cloths. They became very popular with the middle class as a way to move into a higher standard because they could be made to look like marble, or a wool rug which were very expensive. Now they are popular because they are easy care, hypoallergenic and can be created to a person’s personal specifications.
What training or background do you have?
I have not had formal training. All of my training has been through my love of history and research, which is always ongoing.
What is the most difficult part of your work?
Researching to find accurate information regarding patterns that were used during the 18th century.
What is your favorite part of your work?
Teaching our 3 different workshops. No two classes are alike but they are all fun to do and we meet wonderful people.
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Printing blocks used to make floor cloths on display in the Locust Grove Museum Store. 

What are some of the big projects you have undertaken?
 I have done some floor cloths for Locust Grove, including a 12×12 that is a view of Locust Grove that they use for school trips and the door mats in the house.  I have done some for some smaller historic sites as well.
What should workshop participants expect?
In our level 1 floor cloth class students will be provided with some of the history of floor cloths and we will teach the math on how to measure the spaces within a floor cloth, finishing , sealing and care once done. We will also teach different techniques of marbleizing. They will be given 3 different patterns to choose from: 9 diamonds, checkerboard, or medallion with border.
in progress floor cloth

An in-progress floor cloth. Photo courtesy of the Virginia Floor Cloth and Textile Company. 

What do you wish people knew about historic textiles and floor cloths?
 We wish that the general public knew that in the 18th century the colors were as vibrant  as today and that the patterns in the material and the floor cloths were as complex as patterns made today.
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Virginia’s floor cloths are on sale in the Locust Grove Museum Store. 

The motto of the Virginia Floor Cloth and Textiles company is a floor cloth in every home whether we make it for them or we teach them how to make one themselves.
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Randolph and Virginia Tucker. Photograph courtesy of the Virginia Floor Cloth and Textile Company. 

Make a reservation for the Painted Floor Cloth workshop today and have a floor  cloth for your very own home or the home of a friend! Pre-paid reservations of $135 are required, and the workshop is limited to 25 participants. Please call 502.897.9845 to make a reservation. We’ll happily put down our January brooms to take your call. And mark your calendars now–Locust Grove will reopen for tours and the 2016 season on February 1! We can’t wait to see you.
Paintily yours,
Hannah