JAFA 2017 Planning

With the Jane Austen Festival Australia now less than four months away, it’s time for some serious planning!

Dresses from previous years I can wear again:

Newly made since JAFA 2016:

I can get by with what I have, but of course I’d like some new outfits! As I learn more about the fashion of the period and how to make it for me, I’d like to extend my skills – and use up some of the fabrics that I have accumulated!

I have a number of projects in mind, most based on either extant costumes, or fashion plates.

Blue opera dress from Ackermann, 1817

An Opera Dress, from Ackermann’s Repository for March 1817. The bodice may be a challenge, although I think I’ve worked out how to do it. All those flowers and greenery may be a challenge, too – I may tone that down a bit as I am a short person and I don’t want to overload it. The hat . . .  I have no idea yet how to do that!

Blue redingote from Costume Parisen 1817

A gorgeous blue redingote from Costume Parisien for 1817. The plate describes it as being merino – i.e., fine woollen cloth – but I do have a fine-wale corduroy of a similar shade of blue, so I plan to use that. The hat is glorious, but my hat-making skills are currently pre-novice (I’ve never made one!), and yellow is definitely not my colour. So, much though I love the look of the yellow with the blue, if I attempt that hat, I will have to come up with a non-yellow contrasting colour.

Teal gren block print gown from Museum of London

I’ve loved this dress from the Museum of London ever since I first saw the image on Pinterest. I’ve now tracked buyambienmed.com down the museum record , which includes a slightly more detailed photo of the bodice front. It’s an apron-front dress – the bodice front buttons at the shoulder. I’ve emailed the museum asking if they have higher resolution photographs or more construction information. I’ve also just ordered a block-print cotton voile from ebay which, although not an exact match, is similar in colour and style:

Block print cotton form ebay

I’d also like to make an outfit for the Sunday Breakfast with the Bennetts, which I can easily change a layer or so to wear for the picnic and promenade. But I am so far undecided. There are some possible inspiration plates, from 1815 and 1817:

Fashion plate from Ackermann's Repository October 1815

I love the jacket of this one (Ackermann 1815)  but the frills at neck and on the cap do seem to be channelling our dear Mrs Bennett! (I see myself more as Mrs Gardiner, the sensible aunt . . .)

Ackermann Promenade dress August 1815

This Promenade dress from 1815 has been on my list since the first JAFA I attended. I have some blue and white striped cotton. I have a ruff, partly made . . .

Walking Dress August 1817

I rather like this Walking Dress from Ackermann August 1817 – perhaps I could use it as a base with an long jacket over the top for breakfast, and then drape the scarf for the promenade if it’s not too cold. Or wear the redingote over it if the weather is chilly – April in Canberra can be unpredictable.

I also have several lovely saris just begging to be made into evening dresses . . . but with a PhD to finish during these next four months as well, I’m not sure how much I’ll get done! there’s always 2018 . . .!

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