Unveiling the New Town Crier Uniform for Lloyd Smith

SLR_4_3472-005The Town Crier Uniform, that I have been working on for Lloyd Smith, these past almost six months, was unveiled on May 18, 2013, amidst much to-do at the Convocation Hall at King’s Edgehill School in Windsor, Nova Scotia. It was a most appropriate place for this event, which was well attended by Lloyd’s many supporters.SLR_4_3471-010

The Hall is almost one-hundred and fifty years old, so a very good setting for this 18th century Uniform. So wonderfully Gothic, it is stunning both inside and out. I had never visited this building prior to this event and I was so impressed with the beauty of this old place, that I had to do some research about it. The Convocation Hall at Kings Edgehill School is renowned as Canada’s first library Museum building. Made of sandstone it was designed by architect David Stirling, and built by George Lang, who was a Stonemason.SLR_4_3641-003

This incredible building took six years to complete between 1861 and 1867 and was built on the original campus of King’s College School which was founded in 1788. In 1923 King’s College moved to Halifax but the school continued at it’s present location. Originally a school for boys, King’s Edgehill School is the oldest private residential school in Canada. This is a beautiful place, lovely buildings, beautiful expanses of green and even a great view.

Convocation Hall is valued as a rare example of nineteenth century Gothic Revival stone architecture. It, and all land within a distance of 10 feet surrounding the building is designated as a Provincial Heritage site.SLR_4_3648-002

Today it continues to function as a library and is the oldest library built for that purpose in Nova Scotia. SLR_4_3528-002It is also used as a gathering place for various events.

Although King’s Edgehill is a private school you can tour this building by appointment, as well as several other nineteenth century buildings on the property including a lovely Chapel, and the Head Master’s home.

Lloyd Smith is celebrating 35 years as the official Town Crier for the Town of Windsor. He is also the official Town Crier for the Apple Blossom Festival, where he will be wearing this new uniform in public for the first time at the Coronation of Queen Annapolisa 2013, on May 31st. He is Honourary Town Crier for Kentville, Kingston, Greenwood, New Minas, Hantsport and Wolfville, as well as the Counties of Kings and West Hants.

SLR_4_3526-003Many dignitaries were present for the unveiling of this new uniform. MP Scott Brison was not able to attend but sent along a very nice congratulatory letter.  MLAs Jim Morton and Ramona Jennex spoke, so did Windsor Mayor Paul Beazley and Kentville Mayor Dave Corkum. Many more supporters and council members, past and present, of the various communities that he volunteers his talents to, were also present.

Ed Coleman, who is the official piper for Acadia University and a well known columnist in the valley, was present to pipe and escort Lloyd into the hall. There was an honour guard from King’s Edgehill, and fellow Town Crier Gary Long and his wife Sara. Gary is the official Town Crier for Berwick and Canning. His wife Sara accompanies him to most events and is always dressed in period costume herself.SLR_4_3543-002

Roger Taylor and the Horton High School Senior String Ensemble were present to provide beautiful period music which everyone very much enjoyed, and which did certainly lend a certain ambiance to the occasion. Jason Calnen from Light and Lens Photography was there to take the official photographs, and David Bannerman served as Master of Ceremonies. Even I had a role to play and was there to speak about the construction of the uniform.

Lloyd’s oldest uniform was presented and donated to the Hants Historical Society.

It was a rather fine afternoon and my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Don’t forget to click on the pictures to view them in full size; and come again, for I will soon be writing a post that will focus on the construction of this beautiful uniform.SLR_4_3558-002

18th Century Gown Ensemble

SLR_2_9927-004I am doing some serious catching up for Man The Capstan the last few days. I was recently asked if Man The Capstan is still active, and although we are not able to get together as often as we would like, the answer to that is a resounding yes! We have experienced a number of changes in our lives the past couple of years however, and unfortunately this blog has been sadly neglected as a result. Therefore, I will be continuing to add a number of posts, over the next few days and weeks in order to bring this blog up to date.SLR_2_9828-001

This post will focus on a lovely 18th century colonial gown ensemble that I created for a young lady in Virginia. It is modeled by our own Man The Capstan crew member, Katherine, who looks just beautiful in it! The pictures were taken by Dave on a beautiful spring day with our blooming cherry tree as a back drop.

2011_07_011This two piece gown, was made using a basic pattern, but with a number of alterations made to the design. I used a beautiful, medium to heavy weight cotton, in cream with various hues of gold and coral to red sprays of ivy leaves on it. I also used a coral sateen or polished cotton for the contrasting underskirt and the stomacher portion of the bodice. The bodice is also fully boned and lined; this adds great shaping, as well as stabilization to the form. This can be worn without a corset, which sure does add to the comfort of it. Antique style lace flounces at the sleeves and a beautiful ivory venise lace were used to trim up this gown. The result was quite nice. This gown laces up at the back with gold grommets and ivory satin ribbon.

2011_05_14_pm-001In order to make these gowns so that they will fit a variety of sizes, or to allow the wearer to continue to make use of the gown, even if she gains or loses weight,  a three inch modesty panel is installed at the back opening. I  also leave a part of the skirt, at the back seam, free from the waist, which then gathers and ties up with satin ribbon. This can then be adjusted, according to how tight the lacing is done up, and prevents unsightly gaping or bunching at the back waistline. The back is slightly trained. Katherine is wearing a hoop skirt with this gown but the skirt sides are actually slightly longer then the front to accommodate panniers.

SLR_2_9763-004Also included in this ensemble was a matching reticule, a small flat crowned straw hat decorated with the sateen cotton, ostrich feather ribbons and lace, and a pair of cream silk habotai bloomers, made in the traditional way.

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A Costume Update, The Privateer’s Coat

The Privateer's CoatMan the Capstan’s latest costume, The Privateer’s Coat, came about quite by accident.  I was browsing through some patterns on the internet and came across a Burda numbered 2459. This is a pirate’s or french type court coat and I immediately fell in love with it and had to make it.

The one pattern comes with all the sizes which is definitely a nice feature and so I decided to purchase this. I have not sewn with a lot of Burda patterns but this is definitely a great one.  I don’t suggest that someone who has not sewn a lot use this however, since the instructions do take for granted that the seamstress has a certain amount of knowledge and skill.  Still this pattern sewed up very well and the pieces all came together perfectly.

I have had for a number of years about three metres of a vintage fabric in my closet that I really didn’t have any plans for until I acquired this pattern and the vision for this coat.  My mother-in-law had a garage sale about five years ago that my husband and I helped  out at.  Among the things for sale was an almost unused tapestry gold and green bed covering that she never used and that she had decided to part with.

Various views of the Privateer's CoatI love beautiful fabrics and asked her if I might rescue it and take it home with me. She seemed please that I liked it and let me have it.  At the time I didn’t know what I would do with it but it was lovely, rich and exotic and I knew I must keep it. Something perfect was bound to turn up for it and of course something did. In my boxes of sewing goodies I had some beautiful metallic lace and I also had two dozen brass anchor buttons.  That was all I needed to complete my vision for this coat.

The Privateer's Coat is Gender FreeI have named this The Privateer’s Coat, but it would also serve extremely well as a governor’s or french nobleman’s court coat, I can quite easily imagine it worn with a pair of buff breeches, buckled shoes and a powdered wig. The other really awesome thing about this coat is that it can be worn by a man or a woman.  Sometimes it’s more fun to be a man and this gives one an option or two.

I am also going to use this post to introduce the latest Man the Capstan song.  It is a very old Irish tune called “The Water Is Wide” recorded by Johanna. Click the “play” button below to hear it! The lyrics are included below, as well.

The water is wide, I cannot get over
And neither have I wings to fly,
Give me a boat that’ll carry two
And both shall row, my love and I.

Where love is planted, oh there it grows,
It grows and blossoms like a rose;
It has a sweet and pleasant smell,
No flower on earth can it excel.

The ship there is, and she sails the sea
She’s loaded deep as deep can be,
But not so deep as the love I’m in;
I know not if I sink or swim.

The water is wide, I cannot get over
And neither have I wings to fly,
Give me a boat that’ll carry two
And both shall row, my love and I.