Counting down

It’s only a week until the Jane Austen Festival Australia starts. I’ve been flat out with another project for the past few months and only squeezing in JAFA sewing for a few hours here and there, but I’ve (mostly) cleared this next week to sew. Five days, really, since I fly to Canberra on Wednesday. Of course I already have a number of outfits that I’ve made for last year and 2015, but would like to have some new things, too, and to expand my skills.

Lauren came up a couple of weeks ago and we did achieve some things – both on our respective PhDs, and in planning and sewing. A big thing for me was starting a couple of buckram and wire-based hats – I’ve not made one before so it’s all new. I bought three Lyn McMasters patterns and so we worked using those. And watched Sense and Sensibility while stitching!

Lauren and I bonnet making

Some of the plans I made in December have shifted and changed. So here’s an update of where I’m at – I’ll post more detailed posts on each project when they’re finished.

Morning Robe

A morning outfit for Breakfast with the Bennetts on Sunday morning.

1816 Fashion plate - Morning dress

Ackermann, Morning Dress, May 1816

I’ve made the robe, and it’s all finished except for the sleeve frills, and the sewing on the metres and metres of frill – which I have started.

Morning Robe in progress  Morning robe frill detail

I have a bodiced petticoat cut out, which I may wear under the robe, with a chemisette. Or, I could wear the first muslin dress I made, back in 2015, which has frills edging a v-neck. I’ll have to check how well it goes under the robe.

I have hopes of making the cornet, too – how delightfully over the top it is!


Red polka-dot dress

This dress wasn’t in my original plan, but I bought the book for the DAR Agreeable Tyrant Exhibition, and fell in love with the dress. 

Polka dot dress 1810-1815 Polka-dot dress 1810-1815

Spotlight happened to have a suitable red-spotted muslin, so the dress is now underway. I’m not trying to make it an exact copy – the extant dress has been altered a least once, anyway – but my version will be inspired by it. I have the bodice sewn up, the frill ready to be applied, the sleeves cut out, and I’ll be cutting out the skirt today. My existing chemisette should work under it, and I have coral beads to make the necklace.

I also have fabric for a red twill spencer to go with it, and a half-made bonnet in crimson satin that needs finishing. I’m not sure whether I’ll wear this dress for the Saturday, where I can wear it all day, or for the Sunday promenade – but Sunday has three outifts (morning dress, promenade, and Waverley Ball) so I wouldn’t get to wear it as long – I’ll decide when I see how it looks on me!

Pink Overgown

1798 fashion plate

I’m planning to make the pink overgown on the left, to wear on the Friday (Georgian) evening over my muslin dress. I have some satin in a salmony pink, and Lauren helped me to work out how to drape the pattern while she was here. Now I just have to make it – but as it doesn’t involve layers of frills or much decoration, it shouldn’t take too lone – I hope!

Blue Opera Dress

Blue opera dress from Ackermann, 1817

This is the big project, and yes, I have made a start. I haven’t cut out the dress (that’s on today’s list of tasks!) but I’ve starting making the flowers and have made good progress on the hat – I just have to add the side piece, do the lining, bind the edges, and add All The Decorations.

Blue satin opera hat in progress

I have the blue satin fabric and after much hunting in town and online I found a suitable lace for the frill. Ideally, I’d like to make a satin slip to wear under it, but if I run out of time I’ll wear one of my cotton petticoats.

There are a couple of other things I’d like to make, but time is pretty tight, and I’ll be doing well to get these all done. Just as well there is a fine tradition of last-minute stitching at JAFA . . .


This entry was posted in 1790s, 1800-1820, Accessories, dresses, Hats and bonnets, JAFA and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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