The Ladies' Tea Guild

Friday, July 22, 2011

How to make a gored skirt from the late 1860s.

Petit Courier des Dames, 1868.  Cathy Decker.
Pre-Raphaelite costume tips are forthcoming, but in the mean time, let's have a snippet of useful information about 1860s fashion.  Everyone is familiar with the fan-shaped hooped skirt, wide sleeves and narrow flounces of the 1850s and the bell-shaped hooped skirt, coat sleeves and wide flounces of the early 1860s.  However, there is a transitional style that came in after 1865, leading into the bustle of the 1870s, which I find very attractive.  It was called the "Empire" fashion and was named after the Second French Empire (which began with the crowning of Emperor Louis Napoleon (descendant of Napoleon Bonaparte) and Empress Eugenie at that time) and the fact that the style was thought of as an "exact copy" of the fashions of France during the time of Napoleon Bonaparte.
La Mode Illustree, 1867.  Tara Maginnis.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Join the South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild for the Pre-Raphaelite Picnic!

"Bower Meadow" by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
Pre-Raphaelite Tea Picnic: join us at the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Jose for an Artistic Salon, Victorian style!  Please come prepared to participate by reading a favorite Victorian poem or an excerpt from a period novel, showing a piece of Victorian artwork, singing or playing a Victorian song, or some other historical entertainment (family-friendly, please!).  Gentlemen and older children welcome!  Bring your camera so you can take atmospheric and artistic photos in the garden.

    Date: Saturday, August 20, 2011. Time TBA.
    Location: Japanese Friendship Garden picnic area, Kelley Park, Senter Rd. and Alma St., San Jose.
    Cost: $20 (Tea Guild members) /$25 (non-members)
    Suggested costume: Victorian or Edwardian day dress, Artistic, Reform or Aesthetic costume.

Please R.S.V.P and send payment by Thursday, August 18!  E-mail the Guild at southbayladiesteaguild (at) yahoo (dot) com for more information and to R.S.V.P.  Payment can be made by PayPal, or you can send a check (e-mail for the address).  To qualify for the Member price you must be a paid member of the South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild; membership information is available in the links at the top left of this page.  We look forward to seeing you!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Back from the parade!

Here we are, waiting ...
No, we didn't just get back today, it's taken me this long to get the photos up!  We had a great time walking in the parade and are planning to do it again next year.  Lots of people asked about the South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild and the Greater Bay Area Costumers' Guild as we walked through town, so hopefully we'll get a few more people to look us up and join in the fun! 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Clipart from
It looks like Independence Day will be a scorcher in much of the U.S.A., so be sure to have plenty of iced tea and lemonade around!  Have a barbecue and avoid heating up the house.  Ice cream and popsicles are good, too.  Here are some recipes that sound good for the 4th of July:

Strawberry Lemon Iced Tea
Blueberry Lemonade
Dried Cherry Scones with clotted cream
Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade Crostini
Cold Strawberry Soup 
Mini Apple Tarts
Strawberry Shortcake
Blueberry Cream Cheese tarts

If you want, you can add a few antique recipes to your menu, according to what the Founding Fathers and Mothers might have enjoyed.  There's even an old recipe for Independence Cake, but it sounds like it makes a huge amount ...

Independence Cake
Twenty pounds of flour, fifteen pounds of sugar, ten pounds of butter, four dozen eggs, one quart of wine, one quart of brandy, one ounce of nutmeg; cinnamon, cloves, mace of each three ounces, two pounds citron, currants and raisins, five pounds each, one quart of yeast, when baked frost with loaf sugar, dress with boxwood and gold leaf.
-- from American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, 1814. Rare Books Exhibit from the Richard L. D. & Marjorie J. Morse Dept. of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.

The main thing is to keep cool and stay safe while you celebrate the great nation that America still is!  Our ideals are worth celebrating!

“Review of Haagen Dazs Sweet Chai Latte ice cream”
"Tea history: what type of tea did American founders drink?"
"Tea with the Founders: an 18th century style tea menu"
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)