Saturday, October 20, 2018

Dressing Miss Ann Croghan

This post is about a dress which I draped and consulted on for one of the girls in our First Person Interpreters program at Historic Locust Grove. I hope this post will give  you an idea of how we use historical sources to create historically accurate, and ideally, character-driven clothing, to educate museum visitors on the year 1816.

Heather is 16 years old (I am posting this with permission from her and her mother), 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, who is legally, contractually, not allowed to leave the city of Louisville before her 25th birthday**, 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.

Ann Croghan, from the Locust Grove collection,
 (portrait photographed by Heather Rene)

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 approveable fabric when I find a good deal, and pass it on at cost to the ladies in the program.

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'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!

**If you can't tell that was a joke, I weep for our species.

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