Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Historical Costume Inspiration Festival - The Bonnie Lass Ensemble

I'm so very excited to finally post my first entry for the fabulous Historical Costume Inspiration Festival!
Without further adieu, I am pleased to submit for your perusal. . . 
The Introduction
Firstly, gentle reader, I must apologize for feeling the necessity of giving an introduction.  It cannot be helped, however, so I pray you to bear with me for the interval of elaboration on a subject dear to my heart.  
I must confess something about myself which may help you understand how very special this costume is to me.
I am infatuated with Scotland.
The Inspiration
The music , the ballads, the culture, the foods, the accent, the heros and heroines, the histories, the landscape, the mist, the plaids, even the very heather on the hillside served as an inspiration to me for this costume.    
My paternal great-grandmother's maiden name was Kitty Stuart, of the little Scottish hamlet of Pitlochry. 
I have a picture of Kitty, c. 1920, dressed in the full highland regialia of pleated tartan plaid, grouse-foot pin, and tam, dancing the fling.  You can only imagine my rapture at finding such a picture!  I regret exceedingly that it is at present unavailable.
It is one of my dearest dreams to someday make a pilgrimage over the water, to meet the people of my clan name, and to see with my own eyes that romantic, mist-laden little island of which I am so justly proud.
Other inspiration for this project includes the timeless, romantic scenes in the pages of Sir Walter Scott's Rob Roy and The Lady of The Lake, The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter, and In Freedom's Cause, by G.A. Henty.  
My dear friend and fellow Scotland enthusiast, Tasha, and I even have Scottish nicknames - mine being Margery Stuart - Margery after the charming, spirited heroine of In Freedom's Cause, and Stuart being my own clan name.
What though no rule of courtly grace To measured mood had trained her pace,--
A foot more light, a step more true, Ne'er from the heath-flower dashed the dew;
E'en the slight harebell raised its head, Elastic from her airy tread:
What though upon her speech there hung 
The accents of the mountain tongue,---
Those silver sounds, so soft, so dear,The listener held his breath to hear!
A chieftain's daughter seemed the maid; Her satin snood, her silken plaid,
Her golden brooch, such birth betrayed.
And seldom was a snood amid Such wild luxuriant ringlets hid,
Whose glossy black to shame might bring
The plumage of the raven's wing;
And seldom o'er a breast so fair Mantled a plaid with modest care,
And never brooch the folds combined Above a heart more good and kind.
Her kindness and her worth to spy, You need but gaze on Ellen's eye;
Not Katrine in her mirror blue Gives back the shaggy banks more true,
Than every free-born glance confessed The guileless movements of her breast;
Whether joy danced in her dark eye,Or woe or pity claimed a sigh,
Or filial love was glowing there, Or meek devotion poured a prayer,
Or tale of injury called forth 
The indignant spirit of the North.
One only passion unrevealed With maiden pride the maid concealed,
Yet not less purely felt the flame - O, need I tell that passion's name?
--The lady of the Lake
Sir Walter Scott
~Canto first~

The Costume
The outfit consists of a full, gathered skirt of small burgundy and green check, with matching tam and fringed shawl - also a simple black twill lace-up vest bodice.  I made these about four or five years ago, using the Simplicity "Bonnie Lassies" pattern by Andrea Schewe.  I sewed the white muslin blouse a little over a year ago for a piano recital, using the Armistice Blouse pattern from Folkwear.  I love this blouse!  It fits so cunningly into the neckline of the vest, and I adore the pintucks running down the front.
My outfit is completed by hand-forged celtic inspired buckles worn on each shoulder, which I bought at a local Mountain Man Rendezvous tradeshow.  The shoes are black leather kitten heels, with the most darling little Scottish looking tassels over the toes!
Meet my lovely assistant model, Rosie. . . also my beloved accordion, Remo=)
This is my other lovely assistant model, the wonderful Brownie.  
As good a laddie as ever trod the dust 'o the 'arth. . . 
The front detail of the blouse can also be seen in this shot - also the shoulder buckles.  
On a side note, said buckles are absolutely wicked sharp - Yet I wear them anyway...
I'm quite crazy.  Or is it the Scots stubbornness in me? ;D
Fringe detail - I dyed the lace on the cuffs and collar of the blouse with tea to match the color of the muslin.
Horses, costumes, and a jaunt through the forest. . . bliss
This shot was inspired by the CD cover of Echoes in the Weave, an album by Bonnie Leigh Barnum, harpist
Thank you so much for reading!  Will ye' no come back again?
Vivas Ut Vivas!
--The Lady Margery Stuart


  1. oh you really *must* go to Scotland! Thanks to my older sister, I visited there a few months ago. You have every right to be infatuated with it, Scotland is amazing.

    And while you're there...go to Inchcolm Island. That is an especially beautiful place. :)

  2. Oh, I hope so. How wonderful that you were just there! And yes, I have Inchcolm Island on the list;)

    Alba gu Brath!


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