About a week ago, one of the ladies I work with asked me if I had a Martha Washington-type costume she could barrow for her daughter, Little Miss L. She came to me first, as I have made historical items for Little Miss L and herself in the past (bonnets for “Prairie Days”). “Anything you have just laying around will work,” she said. Her daughter is 1 year old than Annie, my youngest who is 10. And since I was financially unable to make costumes when Katie (my oldest – age 16) was that age, I didn’t have anything that would fit. I told her that I had never had a chance to make anything for Katie when she was younger, but I would make something for her to use. She told me not to worry about, she would find something. But, I had a few ideas that I have been kicking around mentally, that I wanted to make for Annie, and this was the perfect opportunity to execute one of them. Besides, Annie will probably wear it next year when she’ll have grown into it. lol. So, Jane will be sitting this one out. No doubt, she will still find a way to cause problems. She always does. lol. Anyway! From what I have been told, Little Miss L’s 5th grade class will be putting on a “wax museum” for the younger grades. Each child was to pick a historic character to portray and dress up. Of course, Little Miss L picked the esteemed Lady Washington. This appealed to me greatly, and not just on a costuming level. It appealed to that part of my brain that loves to research my projects, because let’s face facts, they didn’t teach us hardly anything about the premiere First Lady when I was in school. Actually, I don’t remember ever learning anything about the First President’s wife. So, off to the interwebs I went.
I found that a few years ago, anthropologist took another look at Martha. They concluded that in her heyday, Martha was a knock out. Not only was she a beauty, she had a head for business (running 5 plantations and bargining with English merchants after her first husband’s sudden death), and was very trendy with her wardrobe (which is evident by the purple satin slippers she wore for her wedding to George, which were very over the top for the era). All this information gave me pause. Upon hearing “Martha Washington”, I was guilty of doing what everyone has done over the past 200 hundred years, I envisioned Martha as a frumpy old woman. Boy, was I wrong. My first design (in my head), was of a robe a la Polonaise, in the Americana colors of garnet red, off white and deep blue, with a shawl and a mob cap. Now, I am changing my mind. I can still see the robe a la Polonaise, but just not so on the frumpy side. lol. Maybe I’ll swap the broadcloth for baroque satin, and shawl/mob cap combo for some nice lace and satin ribbon. Something a little closer to the painting above, which is based off of the new info of Martha. I have until May to create this tribute to Martha. Let’s see what I can come up with! 😉
*I can’t remember which site I found the photo above. My apologies. I will take better notes next time. 🙂