Treaty of Ghent – 2020 edition!

Last weekend was my first costuming event of 2020 and it’s a favorite. It was the 2nd running of the Treaty of Ghent weekend at Historic Camden, SC. This weekend is an immersive event (but not a reenactment) based on a celebration that probably occurred to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in 1814, which ended the War of 1812. The event includes an evening soiree, a marketplace, a high tea, day time talks, a tavern evening and a ball which ends with celebratory cannon fire. It’s a lovely event that all takes place on the grounds of Historic Camden, a revolutionary war site. The immersive and intimate quality of Treaty of Ghent has made it one of my favorite events to visit. It also is nice that it happens in the winter, which gives me a chance to have some variety in my Regency wardrobe.

I tend not to hold to the 1814 timeframe too tightly. Most other people don’t either so general Regency is on offer. This year I had hoped to make some new outfits for the event. Top on my list was a new ballgown. I have had a new Regency ball gown on my to sew list since at least Janefest 2018. Over the summer, as part of my birthday present, my awesome mom bought me some fantastic black silk embroidered with small gold rectangles. I had a couple of choices in my stash for a ballgown but I decided to make the black dress. I used trusty Laughing Moon #126 and trimmed my sleeve and skirt hems with a bargain trim I found to match. Version 2

Version 2

My hat was commissioned from Shocking Bad Hats and was based on this fashion plate.phillips0200-001

I was super thrilled with how this dress came out and I love how striking it is. I wore a mix of vintage necklaces and the world’s heaviest earring. Also titties.IMG_0104

My 2nd outfit was designed especially to go with my first ever hand knitted historical accessory! Late last year I was killing time in a yarn shop in Ft. Lauderdale, as you do, and I found a knitted sample of Simple Half Pi Shawl by Dawn Craig. The sample was in a bright variegated yarn but I thought that in a more muted shade it would be a very cute cold weather accessory for Regency wear.


I knocked it out very quickly as it is a simple and forgiving pattern. I even wet blocked it (a first) to open up the lace pattern and make it lay nicely.

At Janefest 2019 I purchased two new hats, both pink, from Shocking Bad Hats and Timely Tresses. I had not worn either and I only owned one dress that really matched either. I decided I needed a new pink dress, even if I didn’t have time to sew it for Treaty of Ghent. Some bargain glazed looking pink cotton and black and cream trim appeared to me so the new dress was on the docket.

I decided to do something different and used Laughing Moon #130. I mocked this up a long time ago in totally inappropriate fabric so I was sort of just going for it when I made this without mocking it up again. I figured that my fit in the Laughing Moon patterns seems pretty consistent and if it was a mess, it wasn’t meant to be this time.

It turned out pretty damn well!


The chemisette was made in a Costume College class. And that little shawlette, it really kept me warm! I had to get my fan out at one point. This outfit also was a great match to the Shocking Bad Hats beret I bought at Janefest 2019.

Personally I think this dress is super fussy to put on. There is a lot of pinning to be done and I really don’t think I could get dressed in this one by myself.


I made a new reticle from Japanese indigo samples given to me by my Ikebana teacher. I lined it with fabric from the pink dress and the ribbon is stash.

For my final outfit, I rewore last year’s “new” dress from Janefest.


I made a sleeveless spencer from Laughing Moon #129 out of a piece of vintage yellow velvet I got at an estate sale. As the velvet was upholstery weight, it was really too heavy for the task at hand but I wrestled into shape anyway. As it poured rain at the start of the weekend, I pinned up my train. I accessorized with a vintage pin, stone earrings from india and long winter gloves I purchased several years ago at a Paris department store. I was fairly toasty until the wind picked up. I got my cloak from the car eventually but not before some photos!IMG_0069.jpg

The hat is by Timely Tresses. It was not made to match this but it does perfectly.IMG_0036.jpg

This event has me revved up about Regency. I bought patterns from Fig Leaves and fabric from District 96 with new outfits in mind. I’m not sure when my next Regency event will be (I may not attend Janefest this summer) but I will be ready!

My study of Ikebana

One of the cool new things that has been taking up my time is my study of ikebana, traditional Japanese floral arranging. Ikebana focuses on form, line and shape and often has a minimalist aesthetic. I’ve always loved flowers and blooms and the study of ikebana seemed like a nice compliment to my husband’s interest in bonsai and suiseki.

We tried to take an ikebana lesson when we were in Tokyo but we couldn’t make the timing work. After we got home I decided to see if there was anywhere local I could take lessons. I found the Ichiyo School. Ichiyo is a modern school that has many international branches. Founded in 1937, they are celebrating their 80th anniversary this year.

For my first set of lessons I am working through the Ichiyo basic forms. Here’s my first attempt (with lots of guidance from my instructor) — Moribana Upright Form. Moribana refers to the shallow flat dish or vase used. Flowers are supported by a kenzan, a metal spiked floral frog.


A couple of weeks and a few lessons later the Atlanta chapter had their annual luncheon and workshop. We had a special presentation on using bamboo in arrangements. We were able to make our own original arrangements using bamboo and other flowers. Since I was so new, rather than trying to freestyle, I did moribana upright form.


I was very pleased with the arrangement and received many compliments. I also really enjoyed seeing what the other members came up with.

Soon after that I participated in a group exhibition to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Ichiyo school. I was super flattered that my instructor invited me to participate as such a young student. I think they needed a couple more exhibitors honestly but it was still a flattering treat! I was one of two students exhibiting right at the beginning of our studies.


I ended up doing two smaller displays. The one in the back is Nagiere slanting form. I’d actually never done this form until the exhibition. The nagiere is a narrow vase. You don’t use a kenzan. You get the angles by bending the stems, gravity and lean. It was really frustrating because ever time you move or add something you have the potential to topple everything else. I used quince as my main stems. The other arrangment is a free form using bark from a pecan tree in my front yard and freesia. I’m super proud of these.


There was a small reception for the exhibition so I took the opportunity to wear one of my vintage kimono. I went for modern kimono hime look versus a super traditional style. My kitsuke wasn’t the best but I’m new at kimono also.

With the big 80th Ichiyo anniversary celebration in Tokyo coming up my instructor will be traveling a lot in April so I won’t have many lessons. After a burst of ikebana activity it will be quiet for a bit. I’m really having fun with this, and flower arranging in general. I practice sometimes just putting stuff in western vases and seeing what I can come with. I love having cut flowers around all the time too!