Tea in Kinderhook

Posted by muhammad nasrudin

On Saturday, I went to the Formally Invited tea at the Vanderpoel House in Kinderhook, put on by the Columbia County Historical Society and Clermont State Historic Site.  It was wonderful!  The whole first floor was cleared, with one room for the tea, punch, and food, one room for coats (and a full-length mirror, so you can make sure your outfit is all right), and the doors between the parlors opened to create one long space for dancing.

The food was fantastic - butter cookies, seed cakes, a pound cake with currants, salmagundi, syllabub (first time I ever had syllabub), strawberry ices, and these little chicken tart things - and there was a whole selection of teas, including the custom Vanderpoel and Clermont blends, which were the two I tried.

My favorite part of the afternoon, apart from getting to talk to so many other enthusiasts, was learning to dance.  Sadly, I can't remember the names of the two dances I learned, but I did learn two!  I could probably even do them again.  I definitely recognized them from P&P95, which was very cool.  I DO ELIZABETH BENNET DANCES.  After that I went to cool down with some champagne punch (movies don't always give the impression that country dancing was a very energetic pastime, but it so is), and spent the rest of the time talking about sewing and museums and the Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

 My face is good in this one so it gets to be bigger.
Me with Kjirsten from Clermont

As you can see, I wore the transitional gown I made for my qualifying paper, pinned up for dancing and walking around a crowded room.  I also had on a red wool spencer I made for the Empire State Costumers' meal at the Tailored Tea in Latham.  I'm not super happy with it; I draped the pattern on my Uniquely You form while looking at the riding habit in Patterns of Fashion I and it fit the dress form very well, but my bust in the light transitional corset is very different from my dress form's bust and I had a hard time with the darts.  The back and the peplum are cuter.  I made my bonnet for a planned ca. 1840 outfit, so it doesn't technically fit this one, but I don't think it looks glaringly wrong.

I would really love to go to another event like this one, but I want a proper Regency ensemble.  The other night I worked out a pattern to make this adorable corset (mostly by machine, I think, because I'm just not very good at corsetry and don't want to hand-sew all of it and then have it drastically not fit), and then I would like to make this gown:

Evening dress, 1938.3.1, Albany Institute of History & Art: 200 Years of Collecting, Tammis Groft and Mary Alice McKay, 1998, p. 279
Because of its inclusion in the catalogue, it was decided that this wouldn't be in the Great, Strange, and Rarely Seen exhibition, but I took the pattern anyway (before the dress-theme was changed to the 1920s at the last minute, I was hoping to put patterns of all the gowns on the museum's website).  It belonged to Ann Eliza Ten Eyck (1804-1866), a member of a long-standing Albany family, who was said to have worn it to a ball given in Lafayette's honor at Clermont (FULL CIRCLE) in 1824.