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

Monster Movie: Supernatural (2008)

SupernaturalTitles405MonsterMoviecopy

“All three monsters – the Dracula, Wolf Man, and the Mummy – all the same critter, which means we need to catch this freak before he “Creature from the Black Lagoon’s” somebody.”

So I know that I have had quite a few TV episodes this October. I know that I went a little overboard, but I wanted to include this anyway. You see I have been wanting to review this episode for a while, but felt that I couldn’t do it until I had reviewed the original The Wolf Man film. As I finally did it this October, it allowed me to finally be able to talk about this episode. This is my all-time favorite episode because it has what I love! Monster Movies!!

Universal Monster Movie Horror

Yep it parodies a series of Classic Horror Films: Dracula (1931)The Mummy (1932), Wolf Man (1941)In fact to further the homage to classic horror film, they even filmed the whole thing in black and white!

love it

So Supernatural is a show that like Grimm, every episode could be done for Horrorfest. The show consists of two hunter brothers, Dean and Sam Winchester, who travel all over the U.S. hunting ghosts, demons, vampires, werewolves, etc. As the seasons progress they get more focused on the battle between angels and demons and stopping the end of the world. It’s an awesome show.

supernatural

So this episode takes place in season 4. There have been a lot of angst and sadness

Supernatural

(I won’t go into detail in case you haven’t watched it and want to) and the two brothers have finally been reunited.

COMWSsamanddeanwinchesterKansas

So Dean and San are driving into Pennsylvania on the trail of vampires. Sam is worried about the apocalypse, but Dean convinces him to stop off at an Oktoberfest to relax a bit. They find the Sheriff and introduce themselves as Agent Angus and Agent Young (homage to Angus Young of AC/DC).

FBIMonster-Movie-supernatural-2654708-1280-720

There they are told to speak to the witness Ed Brewer, but the Sheriff doesn’t put much stock in his testimony. They run into the very beautiful waitress Jaimie, who points them toward Ed. There Ed describes the Vampire as being the one out of the 1931 Dracula film.

SayWhat?

Yep, Dean and Sam are shocked, but Ed insists that it is true. The guy looked just like Bela Lugosi’s Dracula.

Dracula

In fact the vampire even uses the Transylvanian accent.

Sam and Dean confer and determine that it is probably a twilight-esque fan and that it isn’t really strange enough for them to stick around.

The night however, things change.

dun-dun-duuuun

A couple is making out in a car when a werewolf comes upon them and attacks.

wolfman-strangle

The next day, Sam and Dean talk to the girl who survived the attack, Anne-Marie, and discover that the killer looked just like Lon Chaney Jr. in the 1941 Wolf Man film.

wolfman

The sheriff also finds wolf hair on the dead body. Sam and Dean are confused as real werewolves don’t have wolf hair.

confused

That night a guard discovered an Egyptian sarcophagus at the docks. As the guard is about to call to figure out what is going on, the mummy rises from its grave.

Monster Movie Supernatural Mummy

The Mummy attacks the guard, strangling him.

The Winchesters go down to investigate and try and figure out what is going on. There they discover the sarcophagus is actually a movie prop that has been laced with dry ice. Dean leaves Sam to figure out a theory, while he heads down to meet up with Jamie for their date.

Meanwhile, Jamie has been waiting for a while and decides that Dean is most likely standing her up. She starts to walk home, when she runs into Dracula.

Blood!

Blood!

He calls her his reincarted love, and tries to kidnap her, but Jamie sprays him with pepper spray and then runs away…right into Dean. Dean gets a punch into Dracula

dean_punching_supernatural

But then finds himself overpowered by the vampire

Dean-Dracula-The-Delusional-Shapeshifter-in-Monster-Movie-supernatural-24166990-700-300

The vampire calls him “Harker” (reference to Jonathan Harker the fiancé of Mina [the woman Dracula tries to take]). Dracula tries to bite Dean, but he rips his ear off and a medallion. With his ear gone, Dracula runs away and jumps on his scooter.

Say What

Nope you heard my correctly

DraculaMototrbikeSupernaturalMonstermovie

Back at the bar, Dean shows Sam the ear and medallion.

“Dean Winchester: I, uh, pulled it off during the fight. Look at the label on the ribbon.

Sam Winchester: It’s a costume rental.

Dean Winchester: All three monsters – the Dracula, Wolf Man, and the Mummy – all the same critter, which means we need to catch this freak before he “Creature from the Black Lagoon‘s” somebody.”

They determine that they are dealing with a shapeshifter obsessed with classic film. Now if you have been reading my posts posts, such as Phantom of the MegaplexScream, and An American Werewolf in London, you know probably realize another reason why I love this episode. Yep, I can relate to the shapeshifter. I love classic film (especially horror) and I can completely understand him.

screamBilly

Anyways, so Sam, being the scholar, recognizes the name Harker and figures that the shapeshifter is trying to recreate the 1931 film, Dean being Jonathan and Jamie being Mina. I guess that makes Sam, Van Helsing.

Count Dracula: Van Helsing.  [Van Helsing turns to face Count Dracula]  Count Dracula: Now that you have learned what you have learned, it would be well for you to return to your own country.  Van Helsing: I prefer to remain and protect those whom you would destroy.  Count Dracula: You are too late. My blood now flows through her veins. She will live through the centuries to come, as I have lived.  Van Helsing: Should you escape us, Dracula. We know how to save Miss Mina's soul if not her life.  Count Dracula: If she dies by day. But I shall see that she dies by night.  Van Helsing: And I will have Carfax Abbey torn down, stone by stone, excavated a mile around. I will find your earth-box and drive that stake through your heart.  Count Dracula: Come here.  [Dracula raises his hand to hypnotise Van Helsing]  Count Dracula: Come here...Your will is strong, Van Helsing.  [Van Helsing reaches out for his crucifix as Dracula looms toward him]  Count Dracula: More wolfbane?  Van Helsing: More effective than wolfbane, Count.  Count Dracula: Indeed.  [Dracula lunges towards Van Helsing. Van Helsing holds up the crucifix. Dracula snarls and turns away. Van Helsing, in triumph, puts away the crucifix]

The two figure that it must be someone who knows Jamie and is obsessed with her. When they question her, Jamie can’t think of a person who is strange or crazy. Lucy, her best friend and coworker, mentions that Ed recentlly moved to town and is the projectionist for the old theater. Plus he has a crush on Jamie.

suspicious

HIghly suspicious

Sam goes to investigate while Dean stays with Jamie. The two are drinking beer and having a deep conversation, when Lucy interrupts. She is on her way out the door, but Jamie invites her to stay and have a drink with them.

Back on the case, Sam has gone into the old theater and discovers Ed playing the pipe organ.

phantom-of-the-opera

He pulls on Ed’s ear, but find it fast in place.

“Sam Winchester: [tries to tear out Ed’s ear] It’s supposed to come off.

Ed Brewer: No, it’s not!”

OMG

This means Ed is not the shapeshifter!!! But if he isn’t…who is?

Teenage_werewolf

Back at the bar, Dean and Jaimie are getting groggy and falling asleep. Dean punches Lucy in the face, and discovers that Lucy is not “Lucy” but the shapeshifter.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And she has drugged the two of them. Dean tries to hold on, but faints.

fainting1_3759

Dean wakes up and finds himself in lederhosen.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

In a Frankenstein-esque dungeon.

Clive, Colin (Frankenstein)_02

Now I really like what Dracula has to say here. It’s so poetic. “Life is small, meager, messy. The movies are grand, simple, elegant. I have chosen elegance.”, it’s very Movie Mason from The Phantom of the Megaplex.

MovieMagicPhantomoftheMegaplex

Anyways, Dracula is about to electrocute Dean and have a “movie” where the monster wins, when something interrupts him. The doorbell rings and the pizza delivery guy is there.

Pizza Delivery Guy: Uh, pizza delivery?

Dracula: Ah, you have brought a repast. Excellent. Continue to be of such service, and your life will be spared.

Pizza Delivery Guy: Uh-huh. That’ll be $15.50.

Dracula: Tell me…

Pizza Delivery Guy: Yeah?

Dracula: Is there garlic on this pizza?

Pizza Delivery Guy: I don’t know. Did you order garlic?

Dracula: No!

Pizza Delivery Guy: Then no. Look, mister, I’ve got four other deliveries to make. You want to just pay me the money so I can go?

Dracula: Of course. Yes. But I have a coupon.

draculaMonstermovieSupernaturalcoupon

And why not take a pizza break? Pizza is awesome.

I love Pizza

I love Pizza

So now that Dracula has food for later, he prepares to finish Harker/Dean, but is interrupted by Jamie waking up.

Meanwhile back at the bar, Sam has figured out that with Jamie and Dean missing it must be Lucy. He sets out for her house.

Back in the dungeon, Dracula wants Jamie to dress in the gown he bought her and eat pizza with him.

Just like the Mummy, trying to dress his "reincarnated bride" in his old love's clothes.

Just like the Mummy, trying to dress his “reincarnated bride” in his old love’s clothes.

Jamie is really freaked out as she has been drugged, was betryed by her best friend (as Dracula was pretending to be “Lucy”) and is stuck with a killer. Dracula tries to apologize and tells Jamie his backstory. He was called a monster from the beginning of his life and beat by his father. He found solace in monster movies, and achieves strength and confidence when taking their form.

This part actually reminded me a lot of The Phantom of the Opera. Here is a man who is disfigured and mistreated because of it. He knows only how to hate as he has been so mistreated. It makes you wonder how things might have been different if one person had loved him.

one word kind change day

While Dracula is reminiscing, unbeknownst to him Sam has slipped into the house and is skulking around the dungeon. Dracula knocks Jamie out and turns his attention to Sam and the freed Dean. They start fighting, with Sam being thrown through a fake door. Dean and Dracula are struggling to get the gun with silver bullets along with trying to knock the other out. Dean tries a groin attack and move for the gun, but Dracula throws him back. Before he can do anything else, Jamie, who has just woken up, grabs the gun and shoots him.

Gale-Randy-Billy-and-Sidney-scream-23148646-499-198

With Dracula conceding, that maybe this is how the “film” should end.

The next day Dean says good-bye to Jamie. The two brothers agree that’s it was nice doing some old-fashioned monster hunting, rather than the angels & demons stuff. They discuss what film they would want to live in as the episode ends.

TheEnd_Title_2

halloween banner

To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For the previous post, go to Murder is My Favorite Crime

halloween banner

For more on Supernatural, go to Keep Clear of the Moor. Beware the Moon

For more on Dean Winchester, go to I’m Batman!

For more on Sam Winchester, go to You Can’t Have Just One!

For more horror parody, go to Who’s Afraid of Cory Wolf?

For more on Dracula, go to I Bid You Welcome

For more on The Mummy, go to Part X: The Movie List That Would Not Die

For more on The Wolf Man, go to Unleash the Savage Instincts that Lie Hidden Within

For more monster movies, go to What Is This Thing?

For more on Phantom of the Megaplex, go to Friday Night Fun

For more on recreating a scene, go to Carried Away

For more on pizza, go to Food, Food, Food