Green, White and Cardinal Red: A 1790s New Year Ensemble

Tabubilgirl peers around the trunk of a tree. She is wearing a 1790s New Year ensemble - a green1790s round gown and a red cardinal cloak. Her raised hand is holding a lantern

Last year in December I was raiding the dollar store to make Christmas bergeres – this year I skipped the polyester and sewed myself a 1790s New Year Ensemble!

On account of being in the middle of relocating from South to North America, I don’t have access to many of my costumes or sewing supplies – they’re in a shipping container on a cargo ship somewhere between Chile and Canada. While an entire New Year gown felt beyond me, I did have a few things with me in a suitcase – including my 1790s round gown, the Green Blob.

A few bits of portable sewing – a new suite of winter-wonderland accessories – that I could do! I put the last stitches into the hem of my cloak just before Christmas, and my mother-in-law and I headed into the mountains to find some snow.

Tabubilgirl looks ruefully at the camera. she wears a white chemise and a very exuberant brown wig.

I’d PLANNED to pack the wig I’d used with the Green Blob last fall but I brought this one by mistake. It is quite short and VERY hard to wrangle. I wrapped it up as best I could in a silk chiffonet, and stuffed in a spring of mistletoe (courtesy of Joanne’s Fabrics discount rack) as an anchor, but it WOULD keep springing free.

I did have one very special new accessory with me this Christmas:

Tabubilgirl stands on a staircase wearing a 1790s New Year ensemble - a green 1790s round gown with a red sash and holding a gold fan.

Friends traveling in Spain brought me back a beautiful hand-made fan from an atelier in Valencia. It is finely and delicately crafted, and it’s golden color against my green and red and white – it’s the Star at the top of the Christmas tree. (The tree that is me. I am the tree.)

Tabubilgirl stands on a staircase wearing a green New Year gown with a white chemisette and a red sash and holding a gold fan.

My Valencian fan in my reticule and my hair firmly anchored to my head with mistletoe, we prepared to set off.

Tabubilgirl stands on a stair wearing a green 1790s round gown. A large cream shawl is draped over her arm

Up near the top of Mount Rose, my festive glamour suffered a setback – stepping out of the car, my shawl took off like a large pale bird and wrapped itself around the rear view mirror. I removed myself from the wind, anchored my hair AGAIN, and put my golden, rather-noticeably-sail-like fan carefully back into its box and left it where it couldn’t be blown away.

I lit my lantern and we crunched off across the parking lot of the Sky Tavern ski hill to find a few trees that didn’t have 21st century snowmobile tracks in the view.

Not all of my 1790s New Year ensemble was me-made. The shining ‘Coque de Perle’ halo earrings I was wearing with my round gown came from Dames a la Mode. The necklace is a vintage 1940s Art Deco piece I found on ebay. The fittings are finely made and the saturated emerald paste stones simply GLOW in the low light before a winter storm.

Tabubilgirl stands in a snowfield wearing a green 1790s round gown and a white chemisette and gloves. She carries a red cardinal cloak over her arm

Because a storm was coming. The sky was flat and slate colored.

Tabubilgirl wears a 1790s New Year ensemble - a green 1790s New Year gown and red cardinal cloak. She carries a lantern

The wind was cold.

wind swirls a red cardinal cloak around a woman standing in the snow

But in my long red cardinal cloak, I was warm as toast.

Tabubilgirl, wearing a long red cardinal cloak, stands with a woman wearing a modern blue snow jacket and black jeans. The woman is holding a lantern.

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