Friday, May 8, 2009

Colonial Williamsburg, Day 7

Most of our day Thursday was spent photographing Lily's clothing for her portfolio, so we don't have many details on the colonial side of things today. Lily was a real trooper making countless clothing changes in one day while directing us to backgrounds that she thought looked pretty. I'll let the photos speak for themselves, since if I tried to describe each garment I'm sure I'd get it wrong.

I'll interject here that this gazebo is one of our favorites around Colonial Williamsburg, so it had to be included in the photo shoot.

In the evening we took a short drive to Mechanicsville to the home of Karen's uncle and aunt, four cousins and spouses, and several children. Karen's parents happened to be visiting, so they were there for dinner and socializing also. I seem to have knack for catching people in awkward poses in candid shots, so please forgive me for catching Karen's dad in the middle of a yawn.

This time I caught Karen, but that's not hard since she's normally pretty animated.

Last shot of the stimulated conversants. Thanks for visiting!


  1. Ooohh! Your dresses are SOOOOO pretty Lily!! I feel a little jealous! and may I ask, where did you get all your hats?

  2. I am trying VERY hard not to covet all your GORGEOUS dresses, Lily!! As Mr. Phillips' father says, "I'm not coveting; I don't want that one, I just want one just like it!" :-) Beautiful, beautiful!!!

  3. love love love those dresses... she did an absolutely *amazing* job!!

    and i have attempted dresses from a few of those patterns so i should know;)

  4. just wanted to let you know that my 18yo daughter saw this post and she is in awe of your skills! she now wants to make her own version of the walk away dress... so see what an inspiration you are? ;)

  5. Do you mind my asking if Lily made any of her hats, and if so, which ones?

  6. Thank you for your sweet comments, ladies! :-)

    Tara and Kathryn,

    -My bonnet in the first picture is this one: In the past 3 years or so, they've run out of stock several times, but it looks like they're in stock now. I lined it (very easy to do) and trimmed it.

    -In the second and third dress pictures, this is a hat that my mom made in 1994, I believe. It is made from a Simplicity or McCalls, but is obviously now out of print. I can find the number if you want it...

    -4th I made this one from an out-of-print hat pattern similar to the one above. I can also look up this pattern number if you want.

    -5th We just got this vintage hat off of eBay, I think it's from either the 40s or the 50s.

    -The last one (the same one Mom is wearing at the bottom of the post) is actually from Truly Victorian It's "Clio".

    -In the previous post, the hat I was wearing with the Regency dresses used to be a hideously ugly wool felt hat from Wal-Mart. I cut off the crown and sewed on the silk in the style of Georgiana Darcy's bonnet in the 1995 P&P. :-)


    I'm so glad I was an inspiration to someone! Although, I do have some tips for the walk away dress, if you or Amelia would be interested...


  7. I'm not planning on wearing a dress anytime soon, but if that ever changes, I would certainly want a dress sewn by Lily. I don't know enough about sewing to appreciate the intricacies of the dresses, but I think they are pretty nevertheless. Based upon the sampling of dresses posted, I'm certain you have every reason to be proud of your graduation project.

  8. Thanks for the info on the hats! I think we'll have to come spend a week with you and you can teach me how to make them all!! :-)

  9. Hello Riggenbach family! We really enjoyed meeting your family in Williamsburg this spring. It is delightful to find kindred spirits along the journey the Lord leads us along.

    We share your interest in sewing and historic feminine dresses, but we still have much to learn (and sew)! My daughters and I are wanting to begin working on some new dresses so I am excited that I found you online. Karen and Lily, would you please help me a little with patterns? What other patterns do you use besides the J.P. Ryan pattern? Which of your dresses are from the JP Ryan pattern? (The rose and blue dresses and the blue jacket with tan skirt?)

    I am also looking into different time period clothing. Are the Day 7 portraits (dresses in peach floral, white, cream floral, purple with overlay) Romantic and Edwardian period? And are the Day 6(blue and blue floral) dresses Regency style? I found a website called Sense and Sensibility ( That has patterns for Edwardian, Romantic, and Regency apparel. Are you familiar with their patterns? Are there any other patterns in these time periods that you could recommend?

    And if I may ask one more question about the beautiful colonial dresses you made - what type of material are they? We have used calico, but your material was thicker, maybe even linen? Do you purchase you fabric anywhere special? (oops that was two questions)

    All the dresses you made are lovely and so feminine!


  10. Hi Jonna,

    So glad you found us!!

    The JP Ryan patterns were used on the dresses you mentioned and the green and cream toile jacket you can glimpse on day 5. Her strapless stays are under all our dresses (surprisingly comfortable!) along with her shift and pocket. We embroidered the pockets with designs we found online while researching stuff. We used her pattern for Kurt's blue frock coat also.

    Other patterns are Kannik's Korner caps
    Mill Farm Girl's Gown and Shift which we used for Gretel's dresses.
    Eagle's View broadfall drop front breeches for Kurt's breeches and Period Impressions #745 (I think) for his waistcoats.

    The fabrics used for Lily's and my dresses were linen/cotton blends (around 50%/ 50%) or all linen. The caps were made of handkerchief linen. Gretel's dresses were either linen/cotton (pink)or muslin (white). We get most of our fabrics from or and sometimes Other than those, we browse around the internet and local stores looking for linen and wool in solids or appropriate prints. Cotton is rarely accurate because it was very expensive. The cotton gin wasn't invented until 1793.

    Other eras on days 6 and 7 were what you'd thought. The peach dress is Past Patterns #806 and is a lovely pattern for the Romantic period. The Regency dresses are from Sense and Sensibility (for the crossover) & Period Impressions #464 (for the bib-front). The Edwardian ones are the kimono dress pattern from Sense and Sensibility and the Garden Party Dress from Folkwear. Both of these are easy to fit and wear.

    There are MANY other patterns out there, but be warned, make a mock up of any bodice and sleeves before you make the "real" dress. Many of the independent patterns don't fit well and period designs are notorious for fitting oddly. For yourself, you'll need period undergarments to get the patterns to look right, unless they are made to fit a "modern figure".

    It is great fun to have a sewing buddy (and pretty crucial for fitting!). I've learned so much from just trying and ripping things out until they are "right". :-)