The Guildford Historical Festival gets more and more popular each year and every year is bigger and better then the last.
2016 is my first year as a stall holder at the festival. We arrived at 6.30 am to set up. From the moment items were put out on display they were being snapped up by eager buyers.
The morning was the busiest of all which was lucky as Sunday was the hottest day of the week hitting 34°C (93.2 F), several degrees more then was forecast.
As the Purfylle stall was positioned in full sun, many fair goers found it too hot to stop and browse for long, more then one burnt their fingers inspecting metal goods. Luckily nobody was burnt badly enough to need the Ambulance.
However if some other mode of transport is more your style there were plenty of options to choose from!
The spinners and weavers guild had their stall just across from us, as did the embroidery guild and I had intended to head over and say hello but it was a rather hectic day and whenever there was a quite moment I took the chance to give my feet a rest, snatch a bite to eat or rehydrate.
I know I promised you all updates about the fixes to Big Froufy on the days leading up to the fair but when my back decided to play up all of that went out the window and all you got were a few teasers on buttons, ruffles, trims, pleats, a corset and a chemise.
None the less, most of the changes to the costume went ahead but as it turned out the day was so warm Big Froufy barely even get worn.
The skirts stayed on for a while, long enough for me to try to fix my hat in place. I spent all day knocking that hat on the marquee and it ended up looking rather skewed out of place. The bodice looked a little forlorn hanging up the back of the stall all day.
Which all means I couldn't be more pleased that early in the process of costume preparation I decided that there would be just as much chance of it being too hot to wear Big Froufy as it would of being a lovely autumn day with perfect weather for wearing ells and ells of polyester fabric, influencing my decision to make something that would ensure I could endure the day without suffering heat stroke.
Originally I had planned to make a gilet as per the original 1870's garment, however that was not going to provide me with a cooler option so I considered the evening bodice. I soon realised that making the pattern and fitting the evening bodice would take too long. In the end I chose to make a cotton version of the gown bodice with a high neckline like the gilet and call it a 'shirtwaist' solving all problems in a single swoop. Of course it then needed it it's own basque (that's the peplum).
Not only would it look good to fill in the neckline I figured it would work fine with the blue skirts but if I was still too hot I could remove my skirts and go around in my ruffle-y petticoat and pretend it was a day-dress (and not my undergarments), which is exactly what I ended up doing.
I see a dress-up and photography day coming up in the near future. I'm sure there will be ample opportunities to show you just how Big Froufy is supposed to look and it will give me the opportunity to tweak a few things that need tweaking first.
I would like to say a very special thank you to the photographers, for kindly allowing me to use their photos as I didn't get a chance to take any myself. But most of all hubby was just amazing as co-stall holder, driver and lugger of all things big and heavy.
The festival organisers also deserve a special mention as they put together an amazing event and it takes in incredible amount of work and dedication to create such a fabulous event year after year. If you would like to keep informed of the next Guildford Heritage Festival you can keep up to date on their facebook page.