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

Fanning All Over the Place

fangirl

Yes, its true.

I am such a fangirl and have so many, many, many fandoms that I belong to. They take over my life! I mean if you think of all the hours that are put into being a massive fan, it’s astounding!

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Here is a list of  things (alphabetically) that constantly take over my life. I’m actually breaking this up into a series of posts, as just one was tooooo much.

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Anne of Green Gables Series

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I love Anne of Green Gables. It is one of my most favorite book series and books turned into films. The book takes place in Canada in the early 20th century. Marilla and Matthew Cuthburt, two elderly people, have decided to take in an orphan boy to help take care of their farm, Green Gables. When Matthew goes to pick the orphan up, he finds a girl instead of a boy! A redhead named Anne. Anne proves to be widely entertaining, spirited, imaginative and a whole lot of fun.

Anne is just so awesome how she is always trying to find a kindred spirit and using her optimism and sweetness in everyday life. She also has an overactive imagination and gets herself into the best scrapes.

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All my friends say that I am just like her, which I have to say is definitely true. While I’m missing the red hair; I most definitely have the same temper, imagination, and tendency to get into accidents/scrapes.

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Yep I totally would have whacked him too!

So the first book Anne of Green Gables, is about her life as she lives on Prince Edward Island. You get introduced to her character along with meeting the rest of the people who live on the island. She studies hard and ends up getting a scholarship to college, but things happen that makes her decide to wait and become a teacher for the present.

In its sequel Anne of Avonlea, it chronicles her time as a teacher on the island, and her desire to become a writer. She continues to get into scrapes, even though she that being older should make her wiser. Her family also takes in twins, Daisy and Davy, to raise.

In Anne of the Island, Anne goes to college and it chronicles her years there. She also gets six proposals.Yes, not one, not two, not even three, but six!

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In the end, she agrees to marry one of her suitors. I won’t tell you who, as you have to read!

Anne of Windy Poplars she can’t get married right away as her fiancé is still in school. She goes to Windy Poplars to teach and has to contend with the politics of the areas, as certain “old families” run the roost.

Anne’s House of Dreams Anne is married and has to deal with the issues of early marriage, running a home, and eventually kids. But that doesn’t stop her from her earlier imaginative games and friendmaking.

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Anne of Ingleside details her married life, spotlights her children, and visits old friends and flames.

Besides the wonderful, imaginative, and fun Anne; you also have one of the best romantic heros ever. Gilbert Blythe.

gilbert-Blythe-AnneofGreenGables

Yep, I’m Anne. I know I say stuff like that all the time, but if I had to pick a fictional character I’m really like, it is her. We are the same although I live about a hundred years later than her. (Yeah an exact 100 years, spooky).

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Which means that Gilbert is absolutely perfect for me. Still looking for him. Someday I’ll find him.

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Definitely check out the books and the films. Just an FYI the films move away from the stories, and the first two are the only good ones.

For more on the Anne of Green Gables seriesgo to Part XI: A Movie Lines List’s Excellent Adventure

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Austenite/Janeite

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Do I really need to explain this? I mean look at the title of my blog and half the things I write about. I am a huge Austenite and love everything Jane Austen.

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Jane Austen was an amazing woman who faced all kinds of adversary. She grew up with money, but ended up living in poverty. She fell in love with a high class man, but his family intervened and sent him away. She was given another opportunity to marry a wealthy man that would have saved her and her family from destitution, but  she couldn’t marry him as she didn’t love him.

Love Passion

She continued to wait for her true love; although he never walked back into her life. Her first book she ever wrote, Northanger Abbey (then called Lady Susan) was published post-mortem. Her second novel and the most famous, Pride and Prejudice, was turned down several times before being published. In fact, it was published after she wrote her third novel, Sense and Sensibility.

Austen wrote not only great stories that have stood the test of time, but wrote about real issues and her more radical thoughts/philosophies, that wouldn’t be as easily accepted if spoken in person.

There is so much more I could say, but that would take several posts to fill it up. I recommend reading On the 10th Day ‘Til Christmas: Merry Christnas from the Austen Novels to read more of my love for Jane Austen’s work and her characters.

the-austenite-prayerElinorDashwoodAnneElliotElizabethBennetDarcy

For more on Jane Austen, go to Opening With…

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The Avengers

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Now I may be one of the few that are far more interested  in The Avengers than Magic Mike but I see that as a good thing. The Avengers are another part of the Marvel (now Disney) family. The comic originated in the ’60s, with the team consisting of Iron Man, Ant Man, Wasp, Thor, Hulk, & Captain America. Superheros from all the Marvel comics have joined up as team members through the years, such as Kitty Pryde and Wolverine from the X-Men. Even solo acts like Spider-man, have joined up for a while.

Now the film was amazing. The Avengers is one of the best superhero films to come out.They did an outstanding job as the film gave each superhero its chance to shine and made it about them as a whole, instead of one individual (that’s how it’s done X-Men. Yeah I’m looking at your 2000 series that was really only about Wolverine). Plus you have some extremely hunky guys. There is Chris Evans as Captain America, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, and Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk.

DANisnotonfireAvengersobsessed

LOVE IT!! Check it out!

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Back to the Future

back to the future

I LOVE Back to the Future. Words cannot describe what this film means to me.

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After the first time I saw this film, I immediately became obsessed with it. I memorized every single line in the films. I would comb through the TV listings, and watch it every, single time it came on. One time I even got up at 4:00 am! That’s commitment right there. And why not be obsessed with it? Duh, it’s AWESOME!

Backtothefutureheymcflyanybodyhomehello

The film is a combo of Science-fiction, historical fiction, the ’50s, and the ’80s. All things I love and hold dear. Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), is the youngest of the McFly household and growing up in 1985. He wants to be a musician but is afraid of failing. He’s close friends with amateur scientist and millionare, Dr. Emmet Brown, Doc for short. Doc has finally created the time machine he’s been working on for 30 years. And put it in a Delorean.

Back to the Future time machine delorean marty mcfly doc

Before he can set out on his trip through time, Doc is killed by the terrorists he bamboozled for uranium. Marty jumps in the car and takes off, accidentally going back to 1955 and messing up his parent’s meetup. If he doesn’t get them back together, he’s history.

What’s not to love? Comedy, romance, science-fiction, great music, clothes, Michael J. Fox? Plus amazing gags!

starwarsBack2theFuture

This film was a hit and followed by two more films. In Part II Marty goes to 2015 to fix something, but indadvertedly causes his present to be destroyed. When he goes back to 1985, he finds out his father is dead, mom is married to Biff, and the whole town is run by Biff and is a hell hole. He then has to go back to 1955 in order to refix the time stream. But, it won’t be as easy as before, he can’t run into himself or else the whole time-space continuum will be destroyed!

Part III, Marty discovers that the Doc from 1985 has gone back to 1885. He then has to get the 1955 Doc to help him out and send him to 1885. When he gets there, he discovers that Biff’s however many grand pappy, “Mad Dog” Tanner, is planning on killing Doc.

backtothefutureGoodBafDoc

They not only have to figure a way to get back without any modern convinces, but to make the issue even harder…Doc falls in love with a 1885 woman. Will they survive the Old West? Will Marty ever get back to 1985? Watch to find out!

Great mix of the ’80s & Western film

I visited Universal Studios in 2012 and was devastated to see that they had hardly anything from Back to the Future. The clock tower was destroyed in that big fire, the ride had been taken out for “newer” things, and you couldn’t find any cool souvenirs. When I went in 2013, things were different. Universal Studios has a studio museum that they constantly move props in and out and they had a whole Back to the Future collection. I was having a ball, in fact I wanted to climb over the plexiglass and sit in the Deloran.

Here are the clock tower building plans

BacktotheFuture clock tower blueprints

And the beautiful car

Backtothefuture delorian universal studios

For more on Back to the Future, go to Just a Friendly Reminderhearts banner

Batman

batman

So I love Batman. He will always be my favorite of the DC comics. And I like all the Batmans!

So here we have a man who’s parent’s die and cause him to become a vigilante; always hoping to finally destroy crime as that was the thing that killed his parents. He is a billionaire, but other than that a normal person. I mean, unlike Superman who has a gazillion powers, Batman relies on his mind, martial arts, and inventions.

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He also has his strain of the double life. Just like Sir Percy Blakeney aka The Scarlet Pimpernel, Don Diego de la Vega aka Zorro, and Francisco Domingo Carlos Andres Sebastián d’Anconia from Atlas Shrugged. Batman knows that this charade of a playboy not only hides his intelligence, but the fact that he is be a main piece in destroying the crime. It has to be hard to be thought of and treated “as the richest man and the most spectacularly worthless playboy on Earth” (pg. 56, Atlas Shrugged). But Batman knows that it is a must to continue his work.

Sadface Batman

So there are many versions of Batman and I pretty much love them all.

So besides the comic books you have Batman (1966 – 1968), starring Adam West. This is a hilarious show as it just makes you giggle. It’s fantastically corny.

Then you have Batman (1989) starring the handsome and wonderful Michael Keaton. In this we have Batman taken to the big screen in a darker way, with none other than the Creeper McCreepy Creep Jack Nicholson as the Joker. He is one of the best as his uber creepiness in real life was magnified on the screen. A great film, you should check out.

In Batman Returns, Michael Keaton is back and facing up against Christopher Walken, the Penguin, and Catwoman. I never really liked the penguin’s part in this film, but Michelle Pfeiffer is the best Catwoman ever. Halle Berry and Anne Hathaway wish they could be as awesome as her. Definitely worth seeing for her and Michael Keaton.

Batman Forever totally sucked. Val Klimer is too stiff and monotone as Batman, Nicole Kidman the therapist is a sex-crazed woman who needs to help solve her own issues before getting into others, and Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face is just…no wrong. Wrong. The only bright spot is Jim Carrey as the Riddler. He was absolutely perfect, and the only reason I watch this film.

That’s probably how most of us fans would act when we meet out idol.

Batman and Robin is…its a mess. I know it. It is full of puns, lots of stuff makes zero sense, but I LOVE IT! I can’t explain it. I find it absolutely hilarious. I love Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze. Its more of a parody, and I love it.

Besides that you have a some great cartoon series that came out. Such as Batman: The Animated Series. This has to be one of the best versions of Batman ever made. It really develops into the psyche and relationships of Bruce, Dick, Barbara, Comissioner Gordon, etc. Plus you have great villans like the Joker, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, etc. It is definitely worth a watch, and it is free on Amazon Instant Watch. I have my own favorite episodes, but Nostalgia Critic really hits on the best ones in the series (although I would add Harley & Ivy episode to that list).

Then we have Batman Beyond. In this they took the story to a different level. It was very dark and used the colors black and red only. It takes place in 2039, and Bruce is all alone. All his old friends have died or left him alone. Terry McGinnis gets involved with Bruce accidentally, and eventually Bruce trains him to become the new Batman and avenger of Gotham City.

Intense!

And then we have the new Batman films. Now I really liked Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. I didn’t like The Dark Knight Rises however, but I’m like the only one. I just couldn’t get into it and hate how they chose to end with Bane after the Joker. Come on now, seriously. But I thought the first film was great. The only issue I had with the second film was that they didn’t give Two-Face enough screentime, and that he didn’t argue with himself as much as he should have. He didn’t have the same rooted issues. But all in all they were really good.

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And I’m super pumped for Batman vs. Superman. Bring on the bat!

Batman NaNaNaNa

For more on Batman, go to That Girl is Poison

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Bones

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I love Bones because of one reason really, FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth played by David Boreanaz.

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He is AMAZING!

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Bones is about forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel) who gets hired by the FBI as a consultant to help them solve cases. There is also an amazing secondary cast: wild, artistic, Angela Montenegro who does facial reconstruction; Dr. Jack Hodgins, an entomologist who spurned his family’s wealth and “buisness” to study science; Dr. Zack Addy, genius graduate student who is unfamilar with “social norms”; and Dr. Lance Sweets, the young, handsome, FBI psychologist who helps them out.  It is a great show, that I highly recommend.

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Ah, the life of a fangirl

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Stay tuned for Part 2!

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For more on my fangirlness, go to How I Differ from Others

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Peeta Please!