Celefinniel's Kensington Project page

These pages document my work on The Kensington Project April 1, 2010 to ...

The Kensington Project is an attempt to make a replica of a court suit in the collection of the Kensington Palace. All I currently know about it is this legend from the back side of a postcard that used to be sold at the palace:
"Detail of a pale turquoise corded suit made of silk with ribbon embroidery, c1780. In the 18th century, men wore elaborately embroidered coats with matching waistcoats and breeches to court."

If you'd like to simply read the article about taking the finished suit to Costume-Con 31 where it won several awards (Workmanship Award: Best in Show; Documentation Award: Best Analysis of Source; Presentation Award: Best in Class) you can skip to the article. Many of the same photos are re-used there.

Back story

My husband was lucky enough to acquire an almost complete costume made by Penny Rose for Governor Swann from the first Pirates of the Caribbean film. He loves it and has worn it on occasion, but always fears damage to it. It was also made for Jonathan Pryce who is about 6 inches taller, so the proportions are a bit off on a shorter person.

He'd like a suit of his own, but I was just not up to the embroidery needed to make something he'd like and true vintage garments would put us back in the same position with regard to wear and tear.

Then I saw a photo of this other suit. Ribbon embroidery and cross-stitch are something I believe I can manage, so we set a deadline and began collecting supplies for the project late last year (2009). I didn't put up this page at that point since it was all research. Now some of the fabric is arriving and it seems the right time to begin.

We plan to do it right. All hand sewn, using the best materials we can afford, and as close as we can get to period correct accessories, with the caveat that no period items will be damaged, or period fabrics cut! So vintage lace, yes, but 1780's era lace, no.

Consultants and Photos

I have been talking with various people that I know who work with historical clothing. If you are also interested and want to kibbitz on this project drop me an e-mail. If I get enough interest, I may even start a yahoo group. There's going to be a lot of new learning going on over the next two years.

Fortunately the display at the palace is rather picturesque and several people have posted photos of it on Flickr. The best ones I've found are those taken by by Jeffrey Rozwadowski, who has graciously given permission to re-use them here. You can see more of his wonderful photos at his Flickr stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9549670@N05/3703628949/

I'm always searching for more photos, so if you have any of this display and want to send me a link or a copy, I'd be most grateful. My e-mail link is at the bottom of every page.


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