An Afternoon at Winterthur

Other than seeing the Downton Abbey exhibit, we also toured the Winterthur grounds. We had gorgeous weather, which allowed us to picnic on the lawn and then walk through many sections of the gardens. A favorite of ours was the children’s area. Who says it’s just for kids?!

Downton at Winterthur

Amanda‘s hat was fantastic. I bet you could see the feathers from space.
Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

The “reflecting pool” garden, being very…reflect-y
Downton at Winterthur

See…reflect-y
Downton at Winterthur

Early 1900s wedgie shot
Downton at Winterthur

I can catch him! Sort of!
Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

Our photographer, Mike, out from behind the camera
Downton at Winterthur

I had to see if I could fit
Downton at Winterthur

Turns out we can all cram in at once (you can just see me, I’m the boater hat in the lower left)
Downton at Winterthur

Follow the leader
Downton at Winterthur

Striking a Captain Morgan pose in the birds nest
Downton at Winterthur

Birds nest shoe shot
Downton at Winterthur

Tiny acorn tea party
Downton at Winterthur

The misty mushrooms
Downton at Winterthur

The quarry garden
Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

Kat found us. And collapsed after running up a hill!
Downton at Winterthur

Ditto Judy.
Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

Downton at Winterthur

All of my photos are here.

1910 Princess Line Dress

For years now, buried somewhere on my to-do list, has been a 1910s dress based on an outfit that Rebecca Pidgeon wears in The Winslow Boy (1999). I found a blog post I wrote about it back in 2010, so it has been quite a while that I’ve been thinking about this. Well, to celebrate the Downton Abbey Costume exhibit happening at Winterthur this year, I figured it was time to actually make this.

Inspiration image:

After staring at the inspiration costume, I realized that maybe that much gathered fabric right at my waist might not be a good idea. I’ve tried that look before, and it did not end well. So I looked around for an alternative design that would give a similar feel but eliminated that gathering. I hit upon a dress from Past Patterns, which is a copy of an original 1910 Butterick Pattern.

Here is my mockup. There will be a long pleated flounce that extends down to at least ankles, but I did not bother including that on the mockup.
1910 Dress Mockup

1910 Dress Mockup

1910 Dress Mockup

I am also taking inspiration from a couple other sources. This is a page from The Great War: Styles & Patterns of the 1910s by R. L. Shep:
1910s Striped Dress

This is from the Kyoto Costume Institute Fashion book:
1910s Striped Dress

And this is a garment I saw at the Museum of London (more info here):
Museum of London: 1910 Wedding Dress

My planned fabric is a blue striped cotton:
1910s Striped Dress

The Winslow Boy

I watched one of my favorite period films last night, The Winslow Boy (1999 version). It’s a quiet film directed by David Mamet, based on a play by Terrence Rattigan. The plot centers around the title character, Ronnie Winslow, who is suddenly expelled from his naval bording school for supposedly stealing a money order. His father, Arthur Winslow (Nigel Hawthorne), and Ronnie’s older sister, Catherine (Rebecca Pidgeon), are both convinced that the boy is innocent and has not been given a fair trial by the school administration and military higher-ups. As a result, Arthur and Catherine launch a crusade against the Lords of the Admiralty, pettitioning for a new trial. They hire Sir Robert Morton (Jeremy Northam), a famous barrister, in order to speak for them in Parliament. The case becomes a national sensation, though it exacts a high cost, both monetary and emotional, on the Winslow family.

The acting, although sometimes uneven, is anchored by wonderful performances from Hawthorne, Pidgeon, Northam, and Gemma Jones (as Mrs. Winslow). The boy who plays Ronnie, Guy Edwards, is a bit questionable, as is Matthew Pidgeon (Rebecca’s brother) who plays an older brother, Dickie. The script actually follows Rattigan’s original play, which I have read, very closely. It’s just “Mamet-ified” with the dialogue sped up. (So everyone does talk in that fake, ridiculous way Mamet likes, but we don’t have the extreme swearing common in some of his other work. ) It feels a lot like a filmed play, rather than a film adaptation of a play.

Surprisingly, for a modest film, the costumes are also quite good. Understated, but good. The movie takes place around 1912, and Rebecca Pidgeon has some lovely suits and dresses. There is one I would like to make soon, a striped number she wears in the final scenes. I’ve only got these few pictures of it. But I think it’s easy enough in shape to work out. I may have to try to get screenshots from my DVD copy.