My Regency Gown from MadsenCreations

So I don’t know about you all, but I’ve been wanting a Regency inspired gown for quite a while now.

I had planned to have one made for Modesto Jane Con but time ran away with me and we didn’t get a chance.

But this time I was ready. I put an order in early with Madsen Creations and was determined to have my Regency gown for my birthday party.

Now I don’t know about you all but I’m one of those people who I need to see something on me and struggle at looking at fabric and seeing the end result. Oftentimes I don’t know what I want and kind of hem and haw about it all. This time I had seen lots of Regency gowns in different films and had a better idea of what I really wanted. Of course I really wanted a coat like Catherine:

But that is too, too hot for CA spring.

Instead I really wanted a blue gown, as blue always looks good on me, and after searching through many gowns the biggest influence was the cut of Lydia’s gown in Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and the style of Daphne’s gown in Bridgerton.

I haven’t actually seen this show, but I loved the pearls on the dress.

After the gown was selected we went on a trip to the fabric store. Originally we were going to find a lace to add on top of the gown, but there was no fabric that I really liked and time was limited. Instead we purchased blue linen, blue thread, pearl buttons-and swapped out the plans for an overlay for an applique (being inspired by Emma (2020).

I also needed a new fan, as my pride and joy is a red fan from Spain that my brother and sister-in-law gave me, and would clash with this gown. I needed a few supplies from the dollar tree and found a blue fan that matched the fabric for $1.

From there my work was done and Madsen Creations took over. She made this dress in a week, yes one week! Isn’t that amazing?

She ended up using a lace overlay with pearl buttons she had leftover from a previous costume she made. She also said that if it wasn’t for the trickiness of the pearls in the overlay, the dress would have been completed in two days.

My dress was absolutely beautiful, a perfect dream and I looked great in it.

If you are looking for any custom work, definitely check her out.

We are almost done with my party plans. Can you believe it? Just a one more thing to share and then I’ll be back to our usual book reviews and such.

For more on Madsen Creations, go to Jane Austen Runs My Life Collaboration with Madsen Creations!

For more Madsen Creations products, go to I Tried Madsen Creations’ Reusable Cloth Teabags

For more Jane Austen products, go to Marrying Mr. Darcy: The Pride and Prejudice Card Game

Jane Austen Birthday Party: Paper Fan Making

So as I have been saying in every post, I have been planning my Jane Austen 29th birthday party for a few years, and when the lockdowns happened last year I began to grow worried that I wouldn’t be able to have it. But luckily we moved down a tier, I had it, and we all had such a wonderful time.

Party time!

So in my previous posts I went over the invitations, the prizes, and the decorations. The next step in my party planning was activities. I had planned for three games, but I also had four little girls coming and needed something to occupy them; along with those who didn’t like playing games. I had thought about doing a tea blending, but the weather was supposed to be warm with wind. I looked about on Pinterest for ideas, and found fan making on the PennyWise blog.

Hmm…?

I love fans! They are so pretty and useful and I thought it would be perfect for the girls to make with their moms, or for any party guest to make if it grew too hot. With my party being the first of May, weather in California can either be extremely hot, medium hot, cool, or occasionally cold. I figured fan making would be something fun all can do to add to an outfit or a useful tool in the sun.

Austenland (2013)

So I didn’t follow exactly what they did in the PennyWise blog as I didn’t want to pre-make anything, and I also didn’t want to worry about having to supervise glue gun usage. So I took her idea and made a few changes.

Supplies:

  • Colorful Paper (Scrapbook Paper works best)
  • Stickers
  • Clothespins
  • Colorful Tape/Craft Tape
  • Stapler (Optional)
  • Ribbon (optional)

Directions:

  1. Add stickers to scrapbook of desired.
  2. Fold the paper back and forth, making accordion folds.
  3. Staple the bottom part together and then pin by the clothespins or just pin the ends together with the clothespins.
  4. Cover the clothespin with the Craft tape.
  5. Add ribbon or other notions if desired.

Here is my example:

I then left everything out on a table so people could choose what they want and do it how they like.

This was a lot of fun. Only one child made one, as the rest had my friend make them for her. Then when it grew really warm, a few other of my friends decided to make some as well. My one friend is super artistic and made an extremely beautiful one. I didn’t get a chance to take a picture but she is fantastic at everything she sets her hands to.

This wasn’t too expensive, the thing that cost the most was the Scrapbook paper. I wanted a pack of paper that looked more vintage, to go with the Regency style of everything. They had cheaper ones, but not the style I wanted and I went with the more expensive one at Hobby Lobby (80 sheets for $19.99). The clothespins were $2 a pack. I bought three different types of craft type: two came in a pack of 2 for $1 and the other a pack of 3 tapes for $1. The stickers I already owned.

As only a few made fans I had a lot of paper left over. You know how much I enjoy making my own cards, so I used them to make thank you cards and have lots to choose from for any future ones I design.

I’ve been having so much fun sharing all these things with you, and even though the party has ended I will be continuing to share all my other party plans!

For more of my Jane Austen Birthday plans, go to Jane Austen Birthday: Prize One

For more Jane Austen party ideas, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Decorations

For more Jane Austen crafts, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Teapot Piñata

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Northanger Abbey Audiobook Narrated by Anna Massey

Modesto Jane Con: Dressing the Regency Lady

So if you have been following me, you know I have been super excited about Modesto Jane Con. The past eight years I have seen pictures from different Jane Cons and festivals and wishing I could go-but they were not possible for me to attend as it always came down to a problem of time, money, work, etc. Instead I had to be content with seeing pictures on social media.

But then Modesto Jane Con was created!

From January 10th-12th there were all kinds of workshops, activities, movies, an opera, and even a fashion show!

Your $30 ticket allowed you to attend the workshops (BOTH DAYS) and see one showing of Mansfield Park Opera (your choice of Saturday or Sunday).

That was it, I was going! And I convinced my book club + my sister to join me. I scrounged around for a costume (I’ll post on that later) and made sure to bring a notebook to take copious notes on the workshop and opera to-of course post on them later (as I am now).

So the first workshop of the day was Gowns & GroansAfter that you had your choice of The Definitive Darcy or Start You Own Book Club. The third workshop was your choice of Dressing the Regency Lady or Are You a Long-Lost Austen? Searching Your Family Tree.

Our group decided against the genealogy as we knew we were not related to Jane Austen. My mom’s side of the family is Mexican with a little bit of Chilean and Chumash Native American. On my father’s side we are Danish and Sicilian Italian. Besides that, I was extremely interested in knowing everything that goes into the outfit of the Regency Lady, so for when I get a costume made I will know what I need. I had thrown something together (more on that later) for the event, but eventually I want to get an accurate costume made.

This workshop was led by Elizabeth Layton:

There’s a lot going on beneath those deceptively simple Regency gowns. Stays long and short, chemises, petticoats, and more. Costume College graduate and Costume Society member, Layton will walk us through the layers that make a lady.

Elizabeth Layton is a Costume Historian with nearly 20 years of historical garment research. She has a degree in history and is a costume College attendee.

By the elementary school age, women would be proficient in sewing. They learned it young, and unless they were very wealthy-continued to sew their whole life. The sewing machine was invented in 1790, but a widely used model was not patented until 1830. So Regency women had to do everything by hand. Can you imagine how long that would take?

So the first thing that comes in dressing is the chemise. A chemise was your underwear, basically, and would be washed often. Most women would have a minimum of seven chemises, one for each day of the week, to last them until washday. Chemises had a gathered neckline that come close to the chest and completed the stays. Chemises had to be worn under the stays as the stays were never washed.

Women made their own chemises, unless they were very wealthy and could pay someone else to do it. The women would also make the men’s shirts. Women of the Regemcy era were very thrifty, using every bit of material. Husband’s shirt gets messed up? Turned into a Chemise. Lose or gain weight? Reuse the material to create something else. Eventually as an item became too worn they were made into smaller and smaller things-until they went into the scrap container.

“And pray, sir, what do you think of Miss Morland’s gown?”

“It is very pretty, madam,” said he, gravely examining it; “but I do not think it will wash well; I am afraid it will fray.”

“How can you,” said Catherine, laughing, “be so—” She had almost said “strange.”

“I am quite of your opinion, sir,” replied Mrs. Allen; “and so I told Miss Morland when she bought it.”

But then you know, madam, muslin always turns to some account or other; Miss Morland will get enough out of it for a handkerchief, or a cap, or a cloak. Muslin can never be said to be wasted. I have heard my sister say so forty times, when she has been extravagant in buying more than she wanted, or careless in cutting it to pieces.” –Northanger Abbey

After the chemise, the stockings and boots would go next. It is easier to put the boots on first, as after the stays were put on, bending down would be extremely uncomfortable. Stockings would have embroidery, called clocking, over the ankle and seam to hide it.

The stays would go on next and had a busk that went down the middle, the breastbone area. It is called a divorce stay, as it lifts and separates the breast-showing two instead of creating one like the previous dresses did.

After the stays, went on a “petticoat”, which was essentially a slip. The top layer dress would be sheer, so this was on for modesty. The slip might be colored, fancy, simple and depending on the weather would be cotton or wool. The slip and dress would be buttoned up the back. The buttons would be handmade with thread and were called dorset buttons.

Layton mentioned that prostitutes wouldn’t have used a slip and girls who were on the wilder, wanting-to-show-off-their-bodies side would moisten the slip with water to show their legs. In the book, Victoria and the Rogue, Victoria gets engaged to Lord Hugo Rothschild, Earl of Malfrey and he throws a party for her. In the book, here we get a glance that maybe the Earl isn’t the best person for Victoria as we see that he throws the party not only on Victoria’s dime, but that the people aren’t the most moral and had very loose behavior. I remember Victoria commenting on one of the ladies having a wet skirt and finding it odd. I thought it was weird too, but now I really understand why that lady was making hr legs wet-trying to show off to the guys.

After the slip, essentially to bags were tied on, that would be the pockets. The gown that would go on over would have big slits in the side so every dress would have pockets. The pockets she should is were quite large and it made me wonder-how come we don’t have pockets like that today.

After the pockets came the dress. The dress was kind of like a bib overall, or apron,  with a fitted top that they would pin together. The dress would be patterned muslin, as mentioned in Gowns and Groans.

From Emma (1996)

Yes, that was how the dress stayed together-it was pinned, not sewed, but pinned in the front.

Huh?

I know!

Yes, my thought was that is weird that everything is sewn, except for the last part of the outfit we will just pin it. We will pin the part that covers the breasts. That seems so immodest and all I can think is what if it falls open?

That’s not good.

My second thought? OMG that’s why Mrs. Allen had the pin!!! I thought it was in the dress and she had forgotten to remove it or overlooked it, you know like back when you bought a new button up shirt and it had the pins in it and you had to remove it. No, she had the pins because that is how her dress was held together!

“They were interrupted by Mrs. Allen: “My dear Catherine,” said she, “do take this pin out of my sleeve; I am afraid it has torn a hole already; I shall be quite sorry if it has, for this is a favourite gown, though it cost but nine shillings a yard.”

“That is exactly what I should have guessed it, madam,” said Mr. Tilney, looking at the muslin.

“Do you understand muslins, sir?”

“Particularly well; I always buy my own cravats, and am allowed to be an excellent judge; and my sister has often trusted me in the choice of a gown. I bought one for her the other day, and it was pronounced to be a prodigious bargain by every lady who saw it. I gave but five shillings a yard for it, and a true Indian muslin.”   –Northanger Abbey

After the gown a ribbon would be put on to tie in the back.

During the day the chest was covered with a fichu or chemise that went up to the neck. Thinking back to Gowns and Groans, there were quite a few movies who don’t follow this, especially Mansfield Park (2007), that we had watched right before Modesto Jane Con. In the evening the chemise was changed to a lower one or the fichu removed.

Elinor Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility (1995)

After that would be a long wool coat:

Death Comes to Pemberley

Or a Spencer Jacket. The spencer jacket is a short jacket that the Earl of Spencer had named after him. Supposedly, he was too close to the fire when his tails burned up-creating the jacket.

After that a hat, or Chapeau, would go next and it would have big plumes.

Mansfield Park Opera

Then that they would put on gloves and grab their fan and a reticule.

Emma 1996 AKA the Gwyneth Paltrow version.

Austenland (2013)

Northanger Abbey (2007)

The reticule wouldn’t carry much, maybe a little pin money, but usually a letter of credit from the male relative or guardian that controls their money. Some families, guardians, or husbands wouldn’t give them anything and they would have nothing.

So we enjoyed the workshop and how Layton dressed her assistant as she discussed each layer, but this workshop wasn’t as enjoyable as the others. Layton often went off subject and spoke a lot about Victorian Era clothing and herself. At the beginning of the workshop she shared that she very nervous, and I’m sure that it was led to her going off topic. With the Victorian era I’m not sure if she kept talking about because that is her favorite time period, or if she wanted people to understand the difference between the time periods.

She mentioned that she is a substitute teacher, so I know she is used to speaking in front of a group, but maybe this was her first talk on Regency clothing. She probably just needs to practice and she will be fine. We still learned a lot and I have ideas for next year.

I like Catherine Morland’s outfits.

For more on Modesto Jane Con, go to Modesto Jane Con: Defining the Definitive Darcy and Lizzie

For more Mr. Tilney, go to Jane Austen Chinese Zodiac

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Let That Catherine Morland Flag Fly Free

Jane Austen’s Royal Fanboy

So there are fans

And then there are the hardcore fangirls/fanboys…

Now a lot of us call ourselves major Jane Austen fans,

But one guy takes the cake: Prince George IV.

Can you believe that, a royal fangirl or boy in this case.

Huh?

So the story goes that Jane Austen’s brother, Henry, became very ill. Dr. Matthew Baillie was the Prince Regent’s doctor and when finding out who Henry’s sister is he lets Jane know that the Prince is a big fan of her novels.

“…that the Prince was a great admirer of her novels; that he read them often, and kept a set in every one of his residences … and that the Prince had desired Mr. Clarke [James Stanier Clarke], the librarian of Carlton House, to wait upon her”*

What?

She was “invited”, as one cannot say no to a prince, to go to Carlton House and there was “asked” to give a dedication to the prince in her next novel.

With her books

Now this would have been fine for most people but Jane Austen really, really did not like the Prince Regent. She hated how he treated his wife, Princess Caroline (read more here). So she didn’t want to.

But can you say no to a prince?

Of course not.

So it had to be done and this is what she wanted it to say:

“The Title page must be Emma, Dedicated by Permission to H.R.H. The Prince Regent. – And it is my particular wish that one Set should be completed & sent to H.R.H. two or three days before the Work is generally public.”

But that’s not enough for a fangirl/boy. They want more.

TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS

 THE PRINCE REGENT

THIS WORK IS,

BY HIS ROYAL HIGHNESSES PERMISSION,

MOST RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED

BY HIS ROYAL HIGHNESSES DUTIFUL AND OBEDIENT HUMBLE SERVANT,

THE AUTHOR

It makes you wonder what you as a fan, or people you know, would make their favorite person to fan over do with that kind of power.

For more on Jane Austen, go to Just Jane

For more on fangirling, go to To Fandom With Love

Jane Austen Manors

So you know me and Jane Austen stuff:

There used to be this really fun game on facebook called Jane Austen Unbound. You had to search different rooms and areas to find certain objects, the more you did the more characters from the books come into play. It was great.

Well like all good things-it ended.

Now they have a different game, Jane Austen Manors

I thought, well might as well try it out and see how it goes.

So the first thing you can do is dress yourself. They give you a few things, you having to purchase the rest. You have the ability to go to town and purchase more. I bought a fan-it was the only thing I could afford.

Then we have the mini games

Needlework-

This mini game you have to fill in the squares with the corresponding colors until you complete the embroidery.

You have to spend your gold coins to get something called a “magic fill”. If you don’t you have to go and do each individual square-one by one. With magic fill, it fills all the squares with the same letter.

It takes forever. By the time you finish an area when you look at the rest of the square you have to do:

It was awful. Boring and it takes far too long. At least real needlepoint you are doing something fun and cool, making something.

The Circus-

This is a hidden pictures game. You have a chance of the different main characters’ manor houses. When you click on one they show you all the rooms and the objects, you job being to go room by room try and find them all.

This wasn’t too bad, but you had to click on the object at the bottom when you found it in a room. If you didn’t it would kick you out and you would have to go through it again.

Word Search-

I think this was the best of the games. You are given text from a novel and have to find the words that make it up.

When you find the word, it marks it red in the text. This wasn’t difficult in what you are doing,but did get a bit confusing after a while.

It wasn’t a bad game-but really boring.

I know there are a lot out there that like it-but I’m not one to be playing it again.

For more Jane Austen stuff, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Darcy’s ’80’s Power Song