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Interpretation of historical clothing

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CRAVEN COUNTY, NC Tryon Palace in New Bern was once the location of the state capital of North Carolina.

It often hosts educational events that transport visitors back in time to learn more about the history. These celebrations include handmade and intricate costumes worn to help immerse visitors in the period.

Making modern clothes takes a lot of work, but making historic clothes is even more difficult.


What would you like to know

  • Historical clothing performers design vintage clothing for pageants
  • Patterns and inspiration can be found in old portraits, books and photos
  • Leslie Lambrecht designs these outfits for events at Tryon Palace in New Bern
  • She shows her costume shop every month

I fell in love with the costumes very early in life, said Leslie Lambrecht, a historical clothing performer.

She’s loved to dress up since she was little, but she loved dressing other people more than dressing herself. In college, this passion led her to embark on costume sewing for theatrical productions.

Now that career has taken her to Tryon Palace.

One of Leslie Lambrecht’s dresses.

There is a lot of research involved in creating costumes that are true to the story. Lambrecht draws the ideas for her dresses from photos, portraits and historical books with lots of detail and patterns. Then she adds her own imagination to make them unique.

You’re just like, “OK, I love this dress, but why wouldn’t I do it in pink or why not do it in this color,” Lambrecht said.

Some historical interpretations of Leslie Lambrecht.

Her favorite dress in her costume shop was inspired by Queen Charlotte’s wardrobe. It is made of ivory silk and covered with a mesh encrusted with crystals. The dress took over a month to complete. Lambrecht based the design on a portrait of Queen Elizabeth, then added personal details that have remained true at the time.

Although we love this dress and it’s very pretty, the problem is I can’t really use this dress anymore because when she’s in a ballroom, it’s the only dress you see, said Lambrecht.

These costumes aren’t just hung in a museum, actors wear them at historic events at Tryon Palace. Lambrecht had to become an expert in history in order to learn different styles from different periods.

Ultimately, Lambrecht is happy to have fallen in love with something she was talented for.

It is a passion that she is happy to share with others. Lambrecht organizes tours of the costume shop once or twice a month. She shows guests how costumes are researched and made, and you can even get a glimpse of some of her past and current projects.

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