Jane Austen Festival 2018, aka: 2 New Gowns, 1 New Hat and 1 New Parasol Shade (+ an antique quizzing glass!)

It’s been a busy-ish past couple of months for me since I decided to try out the Louisville, Kentucky Jane Austen Festival this year in addition to attending – and teaching at – Costume College, both in July. And, of course, there was much sewing and preparation to be done for both!

But now it’s time to start catching up on ye olde blog.

Let’s start with the Jane Austen Festival. Because everyone I knew who’d gone before warned me repeatedly about the heat and humidity I realized that most of the regency-era clothes I already had risked being too hot to wear because of their medium-weight linen bodice linings (yeah, it’s that hot!).

Thus new gowns had to be made – and they had to be made as cool as possible! This meant trying out something new and a little scary for me: unlined regency gowns in very lightweight fabrics! I was pretty nervous approaching these as I feared they wouldn’t stand up to actual wearing but I ended up being very pleasantly – and gratefully! – surprised at their durability.

I also decided to make 1 new hat that I would wear with my 3 outfits for the weekend.

And lastly, I made a new shade for an adorable antique parasol I managed to score online just in time for the festival!

The festival started with a twilight shopping event on Friday evening. Since it was later in the day and less disgustingly hot I opted to re-wear my DAR reproduction gown + sleeveless spencer ensemble (most or all of these photos were taken by Angela Burnley of Burnley & Trowbridge with her magic iPhone camera!):

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‘1 Nightgown new made’: A Practical Investigation of Eighteenth-Century Clothing Alteration PART 3 (of 3)

This is the third and final post in my small series chronicling an “experimental archaeology” project of mine about 18th century alteration practices by first making then altering a 1760s style gown to a 1780s style gown drawing upon research from my PhD thesis on the topic. If you’re just joining and would like to start from the beginning you can click for Part 1 and Part 2.

This reveal has ended up being a tease for some of you since it took some time for me to get pictures that I was really happy with. I hope it won’t be too anti-climactic for you! For the first photoshoot of the 1780s dress I ended up being unhappy with my styling of the gown – hair, ruffles, ribbon colours. It took time to schedule a re-shoot, which Taylor of Dames a la Mode was very gracious to do for me (she took the styled photos of the 1760s gown and the first round of the 1780s dress – she has a lot of patience with me, for which I am very grateful!).

And now, without further ado, I present to you the altered gown:

Phase 3: 1780s dress

Plain Photos

The first set of photos are just the gown mostly alone but with the proper underpinnings for the 1780s, mainly a split false rump in addition to the stays, rather than the pocket hoops worn for the 1760s iteration.

With the skirt left un-tied at the back:

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‘1 Nightgown new made’: A Practical Investigation of Eighteenth-Century Clothing Alteration PART 2 (of 3)

This is the second of three posts on a recent “alteration reproduction” project I completed for exhibition at this year’s CSA Symposium in Williamsburg back in March. If you’re just joining, you can check-out Part 1 here to see what this is all about!

For quick reference, this is the gown I altered:

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‘1 Nightgown new made’: A Practical Investigation of Eighteenth-Century Clothing Alteration PART 1 (of 3)

This post is a little something different from my usual and is actually rather more like an old project of mine you can check out here.

This is an “experimental archaeology” project I did to present at the Costume Society of America symposium that was held this March in Williamsburg.

The project consists of historically accurately reproducing a mid-18th century nightgown (fitted back style) and then altering that same gown to c.1780.

Why do this you may ask? Well, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here before but I wrote a PhD thesis a few years ago all about the alteration and re-use of 18th century women’s garments. I’ve been itching to do a related reproduction project from that research for a while now and the CSA symposium finally gave me the chance I’d been waiting for!

Here’s a couple of snap shots of the finished exhibit, entitled:

‘1 Nightgown new made’: A Practical Investigation of Eighteenth-Century Clothing Alteration

Image may contain: 1 person, bedroom and indoor

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1780s Mint Redingote at a Colonial Williamsburg Weekend!

Right at the end of 2017 I had a little dream come true – a costumed weekend at Colonial Williamsburg!

A couple groups of friends decided to get together there to take in the holiday decorations and sport our 18th century winter wear.

*Note*: all watermarked photos are courtesy of In the Long Run Designs – thank you again Gloria & Mike!!

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c. 1794 Striped Silk Open Robe (aka: more autumn colours!)

In early November I got to attend a lovely annual event here in the DC area: The Pumpkin Tea and Candlelight Dinner hosted by the ever-gracious Lady Detalle.

This post is about the outfit I put together for the afternoon tea.

The group shots and photos of me in my outfit were graciously taken by Gloria of In the Long Run Designs.

Everyone looked SO GOOD!

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Late 1780s Cutaway Front Anglaise + Hat of Unusual Size (H.O.U.S)

This dress is the first off the list of 2017 historical sewing projects. Hooray for crossing items off lists, I love that feeling! (if you’d like to, you can check out the full-ish list here)

This is something I had planned/wanted to make for some time – basically ever since I bought the fabric a few years ago. It’s a scrummy silk taffeta in irregular micro-stripes of light robins egg blue and ivory and I the moment I saw I had late 18th century visions. In fact, I loved it so much that after first buying 6m of it I went back to the store (it was on sale at Fabricland) and bought the rest of the bolt for a total of about 12m!

After making my quarter-back Italian gown in the fall I really wanted to make an Anglaise with an en fourreau back. Initially I thought I would do the regular kind, just with the late 18th century quite narrow en fourreau. But then I saw this and I was instantly won over:

Robe à la Polonaise Date: ca. 1775 Culture: British Medium: silk, cotton:

I had actually seen one (or two) other such dresses in-person in the UK as part of my research so I knew it wasn’t a complete one-off-outlier and I think it’s just such a neat twist on the en fourreau style I had to have it!

I was also keen to try a cutaway front bodice (often referred to as a “Zone front” but as that’s a modern term I try to stay away from using it) and so put all of these elements together in one dress.

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c. 1780 Italian Gown – Sleeve Cuffs & False Rumps

I’ve finally gotten around to doing a sort-of how-to post on the ruched sleeve cuffs of my rust 1780s Italian Gown. This is very far from an authoritative description or tutorial as it was entirely trial and error, my own cuffs are far from perfect and I didn’t have a full tutorial in mind when doing it. But, hopefully it can somewhat helpful to people and it would be awesome if it was a starting point for someone to come up with a much better and more comprehensive how-to!

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