Musings of a Lady

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Le Modiste: Creating A Regency Wardrobe for 2014 Jane Austen Festival

Hello everyone!  I hope that this post finds you all well and happy.  I mentioned in earlier posts that I am preparing to go to Bath, England in 2014 for the Jane Austen Festival.  Excitement is not the word for how I am feeling about that.  I have not been out of my own country since 1984! So shameful!  Yet as the economy has been crazy it just hasn't been in the cards for me. I am overjoyed that this will be remedied in a year!

What I will need is a wardrobe that I can use at this event and to the events here in California that are beginning to explode on the scene!  In a previous post I went to a movie opening or preview of 'AustenLand'.  I made a gown and spencer for that.   Luckily, I had a chemise and a chemisette plus a short corset ready to go.  Do you remember my adventure into making a short corset?   It looks like I have already started on the wardrobe, right?  However, before I go any further I want to plan out a wardrobe that will make sense for any event, meet my esthetic style and not exceed my income!

The three questions that came up are:  What will I need?  What is my Regency style?  What should I create? I began looking for articles about what is essential to a woman's wardrobe during the period of 1810-1818 or the Regency period in general. At, there was a nice list.  In another article, that unfortunately I can't find now, a similar list was provided but included a special essential accessory to every woman, a Mr. Darcy for an evening event, A Captain Wentworth for a stroll and one other.  I laughed myself silly.
Friedrich Carl Gröger, Emilie und Johann Philipp Petersen, 1806.
What I have believe I need to have for this trip, (which includes two balls, evening events (cards, soirees and dinners), picnics, promenades and visiting), will be:
1 ball gown (possibly one underdress with two different overgowns (?))
1 evening dress (double duty as a dinner dress or soiree/salon dress)
2 day dresses
1 spencer
1 Pelisse or Redingote
3 chemises (1 that is sleeveless for evening)
3 Chemisettes
Bodiced petticoat or a shoulder strap one.
1 night gown
1 dressing gown

1 shawl
1 Tippet and/or Capelet
1 soft crown bonnet (I am limited in travel packing space).
1 turban material - evening
1 reticule for every day
Stockings ( several pairs)
1 walking day shoes/boots
1 heeled slippers for evening
Jewelry of course (includes a tiara of some sort and hair ornaments)
Gloves 1 pair for evening - long white; 1 short pair for day (neutral color)
Fan - very essential when one is all a glow!

Phew!  I think that is a good start, can any one of you think of something else essential that I have left off?  Do I have items already in my costume closet?  Yes, I do they are:
3 Regency day dresses (one I have to seriously alter the bodice as I am a 'few' inches bigger at the top...sigh)
1 spencer
A bonnet
A Pelisse that I can fit in again, hurrah!
A chemise and corset plus one chemisette.
A reticule
A fan

The trick will be if I can stick to the one of this and one of that?  I don't know?    ;)

My esthetics or personal style is very tidy, simple but elegant.  I like my fabrics to do the talking and have details that put pizazz in the look.  Though I am not a frill and lace kind of woman, little bits here and there are okay.  So what floats my boat?  Let's see:
1815 Spencer
 — at
I like spencers with a tailored look.  I really like this one!  However, I do like the military-style ones as well.

Dress (ladies). Floral motif. Dark blue with scattered flowers printed in white and light blue. Linen / flax printed. Around 1825 - 1830. Dimensions: height 133 cm. National Swiss Museumwebcollection.lan...

This dress is just simple and yet pretty without all the frills and fussiness.  Though it is dated later than my 'time frame' I like it and think I can adapt it to what I need.

Day dress, ca 1820-25 UK (made of French silk)
This Pelisse or 'day dress' is very nice.  I like the detail.  Now, with that said, perhaps I should shift my 'time frame' to 1818-1825?  I seem to like these....

Portrait of Countess Sophia Stroganoff, Mosnier, 1808
The Countess looks fabulously elegant.  I would love to look like this when dressed to the nines! Again, this is just outside my 'time frame' but....she looks so cool!

1800-1810 (?) From Imatex - A Spanish textile site.

The embroidery on this dress...well, its absolutely beautiful!  Let's see, I have a year...could I? Will have to think about this one - time, energy and there is a lot I have to put together.

I like the print and the solid colored spencer.  The bonnet is nice as well.

A nice evening gown.
 The next two portraits are just examples of the look I want to have; that certain air, and carriage required of a Regency Lady.  I think I can manage it.
Lieder painting c 1810

Portrait of a Woman - Henry Inman, 1825.
I really like the blue color and the detail around the neck in the Henry Inman portrait.  I think I should shift my focus up a little in terms of time frame.  Mmmmmmm....thinking, thinking...pondering.  

Next steps?  I am working on the chemises and under things right now which is a good place to start.  I am doing the research on period construction and will do these by hand.  I have one machine stitched chemise but the next two will be by hand and given little details that I can embroider. I hope you all will check back in for the next post which will chronicle my work on the chemises and my initial designs and swatching for my garments to come.

If you have any suggestions or links to other sites with information or designs or whatever, please share!


Kleidung um 1800 said...

Now that's a PLAN!!!
Your choice of garments is lovely and I'm very much looking forward to following your progress and the preparations for your 2014 Bath adventure :)


Angela said...

Thank you, Sabine! I may be making inquires on the best practices for getting it all done! A lot to do. I have a few basics so I am not starting from total beginnings but none-less I have a great amount to do. Tally-ho!

Lady D said...

I'm also making a few things as I'm planning to go to the JA festival in bath in 2014. Went in 2012 and loved it (hope to have a more accurate frock this time).
My tips would be for the promenade its all about the spencer & pelisse and the bonnet (as you are outside).
I actually came round to the idea by the end of having a pain white dress as it makes it much more economical as you can add sleeveless spencers, sashes or and open robe and totally change the look. And its best to make it with detatchable long sleeves.