Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Uber Project

About two years ago, I got the crazy idea of making an 18th century woman’s riding habit. Not just any habit, but one based on a regimental uniform as seen worn by Lady Worsley and Mrs. John Montressor. I started collecting the bits and pieces needed, and in June I got started. I debuted it this past weekend in Williamsburg. Unfortunately, I don’t have many pictures as we’re not supposed to be seen with a camera in our hand while in 18th century clothing. I’m hoping to get more pictures, but this will have to do for now.

Sweet Daughter looks sad because she had just shut a very heavy door on two of her fingers. We've got it wrapped in ice.
I did have a brief “Oh … crap” moment while on my way to the Commander’s Meeting on Saturday morning. You see, we turned our coats for “Prelude to Victory” that weekend, and were portraying Continentals and I was wearing red. Bright, screaming, lobster-back red. But you know what? Not one single person asked me why all weekend. Not only that, the Continental Guard posted on the Wythe House came to “present arms” not once, but twice when I walked by. It must have been the epaulettes. Or something. Because (1) I was a woman, and therefore could not possibly have rank, and (2) I was in a red. Even his Excellency, General Washington (and his staff) took note of me and gave a polite nod in passing.

I call that a win.


While strolling around town, I had a brief squee moment when I ran into Lauren from The American Duchess. I don’t spend as much time on the costume blogs, but I recognized her from a tutorial she did on hedgehog hairstyles. I believe I blurted out “HEY! You have a BLOG!” Classy, no? Anyhow, she looked fantastic, and was very polite as we compared notes on seaming techniques. And I seriously covet her silk stockings.



  1. Lookin' good, ladies (after the Susan frown wore off...)

  2. Nancy, I haven't the faintest idea how close to original the Uber Project is or isn't (aside from it looking darn close to the picture you linked). It still looks great, and were I General Washington I would have nodded as well.

    Well done!

  3. Jay H. did a great job with the hat!

  4. I dare say the rules then bear a few significant similarities to the rules now; specifically, "the lady wears what the lady likes, and the rest of you can go hang".

    Within certain minor limitations, of course ;).

    Regardless, looks good! I still remember my first visit to Williamsburg as a kid and having to constantly remind myself that folks wore stuff like that before the advent of air conditioning...

  5. Linoge - on one hand, when you're not stuck in A/C all day, you acclimate fairly well. And natural fibers breathe. On the other hand, it was said by the Englinsh that one could not comprehend the heat and humidity of Williamsburg, and to have one's clothing made of the thinest, lightest material possible. I wore it on Saturday (mid-80's) and was warm, but not outwardly perspiring - the warmth due to the wig and hat as much as anything I think. Sunday was in the low 50's and I was a bit cool for my taste, but tolerable. I love wool ...

  6. Very attractive, I like it. It appears your daughter cheered up later on, good one.
    Regards, Keith.

  7. Those epaulettes are beyond awesome.

    I want a pair of my own.

  8. Congratulations! at least you've tried how it feels like in the 18th century women. And good to see that your daughter is also a part of it.

  9. Awesome!

    Glad to see SD had a smile on her face later in the day too! :)

  10. Go over to the Replica Prop Forum, I'm a member there and we have lots of costumers, I think they would like to see your riding outfit.

  11. Well, looks like your skill plying needle and thread is also uber.
    Ha, it would have taken me two years just looking and touching the fabric, trying to pull forth courage to tackle such an uber project! From the pictures, it looks beautiful. Holy cow it looks awesome!
    Hopefully SD got her little fingers kissed better many times that day. Smashed fingers hurt so badly.
    Thank you so much for emailing me back. Sorry I have been slow to reply.....uber lame of me I know. Lol
    Forgive me, I'm sooooooooooooooo old, I wasn't 100% sure of the def of the word uber, I know, huh, lame.....but anyway I did what any self respecting granny would do, I looked it up. Ha, I'm so going to be using this word from now on.
    I'll be looking forward to the posting of more pictures of your habit.
    Thank you again for the info on the girls mill farm pattern. I WILL email you back. I do have some more questions, and yes, I would LOVE your help and advise.
    L Nelson