From 1pm to 2pm on Saturday, July 22nd guests at the Jane Austen Festival gathered under the Big Tent at the side of the Museum House where a lovely Regency Style Fashion Show was presented.
The day held many exciting events but I think this was my favorite part of the JA Festival.
Here's a look at all of the various Regency outfits that were featured and a few interesting tips and historical facts that I remember them mentioning.
(Click photos below for a closer look)
Ms. Betsy Bashore led the fashion show explaining the fabric, sewing techniques and history of each model's outfit.
Ms. Bashore created all (or at least most) of these outfits herself from modern patterns (Sense and Sensibility patterns and a couple others) or from studying fashion plates and Regency dresses. A lot of the dresses required hand sewing and particular fabrics. I greatly admire her work!
She mentioned that all of the models were wearing the undergarments made using the Regency Underthings Pattern from Sense and Sensibility so that they would have the correct look for the period.
First was this dress and open pelisse, paired with a ribbon headband and coral necklace. I like the color pairing and the stripes on the pelisse.
Each model would walk down the center isle displaying their ensemble. The open pelisse flowed out prettily behind her as she walked.
It's sort of hard to tell here but this rather bright dress is made of a Sari from India. Ms. Babshore explained that Saris were often used to make Regency dresses because they were of that silk material that was already embroidered and because they came in lengths of 4 to 9 yards each were the perfect size for making dresses. With the big trade of importing items from Asia Saris were readily available in many colors and designs.
A spencer jacket is worn with this dress. The sleeve has a slight poof at the top with a longer sleeve.
The style cap this young lady is wearing was very popular during the early Regency period because it was a rather romantic version of the red mop caps worn by the rabble during the French Revolution.
This is another Sari dress in an evening style. Here the embroidered edging from the sari is clearly visible on the neckline, sleeves and bodice. It also had a bit at the bottom hem if I remember correctly.
The dress has gathers at the back with a slight train. Worn with gloves for a ball or evening dinner party.
This young lady looked stunning in the purple/magenta shade with the decorative jewels in her Regency hairstyle.
This striped dress is designed to show the drop front style dress that can be seen in many Jane Austen adaptations. This dress is paired with a bright red shawl that contrasts nicely. The outfit would be perfect for a morning at home.
The back of Regency dresses were cut with back seams to make ladies look as tiny as possible from the back.
Next was Gayle Simmons in her elegant Regency day attire.
A spencer jacket, shawl, tall box hat with a fan to ward off bugs or cool a fainting spell and a charming fringed parasol to keep off the sun.
Ms. Simmons near the ballroom of the Museum House where Regency Costumes were on display. Her white day dress has three-quarter length sleeves, lace tied with a broach at her neck and a yellow ribbon at her waist to add color and match the yellow ribbons on her hat. Black earrings complete her look.
She reminded me of a Lady Catherine or a Lady Russell presiding over the proceedings. :)
Now a gentleman's day attire. A long riding coat worn over the usual pants, undershirt and waistcoat. Boots, straw hat, deerskin gloves and riding crop tell us that this gentleman is set for riding.
It was mentioned (if I'm remembering correctly) that the boots he was wearing were ones he's made himself by buying a certain type of boot, cutting off the original tops and attaching a Regency style cuff to the top of them. Unfortunately I wan't able to get a good photo as he passed by.
The back of this riding coat is designed with pleats of extra fabric so that when the gentleman sat on a horse the pleats would fan out over the back of the horse in a handsome manner!
Taking off his riding coat to display his morning jacket with it's wonderful blue striped and handsome set of buttons. A most distinguished looking gentleman - he looks almost like a Mr. Bennet who has spent the morning running and shooting with his future son-in-law Mr. Bingley!
Next, another morning dress in a lovely green shade with a green striped spencer. The bonnet is silk stretched over a straw brim which was quite common to do. The jacket has v-cut sleeves with green trim.
Unfortunately I didn't get a good photo of this elegant lady with her jacket off, but you can sort of see the front of the dress here. The dress has a criss-cross front with a dickey collar worn underneath for more modesty. Gloves and reticule (purse) show a lady like Mrs. Weston, Mrs. Gardiner or Mrs. Allen ready from some shopping in town.
Next came Ms. Bashore's husband modeling a style more suited for reading by the fire or strolling in the garden or otherwise relaxing after a day of work.
A pair of plain slipper shoes (a masculine form similar in style to these) were paired with long trousers, a pipe, straw hat and long silk dressing coat show he's enjoying a late afternoon stroll on his country estate.
The dressing jacket is fashioned from an Indian silk sari of black color. Ms. Bashore said there was actually a lot of piece work done to this jacket because the five yard of fabric she had was barely enough to suit her husband's great height.
Before leaving to make way for the next model Mr. Bashore expressed his disappointment at his wife not mentioning the hand sewing he had done on one of the dresses before. She explained that he enjoys watching war programs on the History Channel and while he sits she employs him to do hand sewing for her.
My father caught the photo above of Mr. Bashore relaxing at an outdoor picnic.
Ms. Bashore explained that no, this young lady does not have a veil on her hat because she is a bride. The veil on the hat was a very popular style for keeping bugs and sun off a lady's face while she was walking.
Her blue pelisse and hat are paired with an exquisite silk shawl.
As is often shown in Regency fashion plates, the veil would be swept to the side of the hat when not needed.
Her gloves are embroidered with a lovely pattern on the back.
Her pelisse was removed to show her gorgeous dress underneath! I love the bright colors in this outfit, very striking.
A morning dress for with hat, gloves and spencer for walking or visiting friends.
This striking dress and spencer is probably my favorite because I love the colors and the details!
The hat is a box style of red and black, decorated with feathers and ribbon.
The spencer jacket is of a red and gold striped sateen fabric with a darling little duck bill ruffle at the back!
The spencer was removed to show off the dress with is gorgeous hand applique on the sleeves, neckline and bodice! There's also a few red flowers scattered over the skirt.
View of the back. Isn't it gorgeous?!
Applique on the bottom of the gown and on the skirt.
I had to take a closer look at this gown after the show. I really love this gown, definitely my favorite!
Next up an evening ball gown in purple with a white lace collar added, long white gloves and a silk shawl.
The front bodice of the gown has an interesting detail that the model told me was very flattering for larger chests.
And you can't see it here but there is lace at the bottom of the skirt too adding an elegant touch.
A handsome morning gown in gray with a black spencer, bonnet, gloves and a fan.
The clothes are made of a light weight cotton that the model said was fairly cool even in the summer heat.
Notice the charming metal closure at the front of the spencer.
The hat with it's flourish of feathers is reminiscent of a soldier's helmet.
Removing the spencer reveals the long sleeved walking gown underneath. A collar is added for extra interest.
Sort of reminds me a an Anne Elliot look from Persuasion.
A romantic late Regency look for a young woman.
The wrap style gown is made of a shear fabric so it's worn over a couple layers of undergarments and a lace collar is added.
I'm not sure if you can see it very well here but the bracelet she's wearing on her wrist is of a mosaic design.
This detail of the burgundy shawl shows the embroidered bit at the end and the long fringe that Ms. Bashore but on by hand. She said it took much more time and more money to buy the embroidery floss for the fringe than the shawl cost.
The striking hat she wears has silk flowers on it and a charming lace fringe similar the the lace veil of the blue hat above.
This look reminds me very much of the Regency styles worn by Fanny Brawne in Bright Star (2009).
The next dress was a more studious look of a lady scholar.
The velvety brown spencer sits slightly lower than the spencers of the early Regency period and three brass-like buttons act as a front closure.
Removing the jacket we can see that buttons instead of ties are used at the back of the gown. Buttons were used sparingly in ladies' garments during the Regency period because they were thought of as more masculine.
A man's style undershirt is worn under the gown peeking out at the collar and sleeves.
Pattering women's clothes after men's clothes became more popular as the Regency era progressed.
The clothes were fitted very well with a clean cut look that's simple and not fussy.
I found myself wondering if Fanny Price might have adopted some of these styles since she was a more studious young lady and spent much time learning from her cousin Edmund.
Or perhaps Mary Bennet would have preferred this plainer look while her younger sisters adorned themselves in fancier looks.
This day look is the last of the outfits shown. A simple white dress with a green spencer, straw bonnet, elegant shawl, white gloves and reticule.
This was my father's favorite outfit because it was tailored so well and the green is so striking. Take a look at the pin tucking detail on the back of this adorable spencer!
More detail of the back and sleves!
Ms. Bashore admitted that the simple straw bonnet was one they found at Target and decorated with the green ribbon. Isn't it cute?!
The spencer is removed to show off the white day dress. It's of a thinner fabric with modest undergarments worn underneath.
The collar has a Peter Pan look to it and the waist sinches in for a flatering look.
With the buttons being on the front of this gown it is a style that a young lady could put on by herself and didn't need a lady's maid to help her with the closures.
Detail of the back of the dress. A very elegant look.
This young lady was most obliging in answering our questions after the show and letting us take lots of photos of her outfit!
She even put her spencer on again so we could have a closer look even though it was quite warm. The workmanship on this jacket is incredible! :)
I found the reticule she carried most intriguing. It's the classic pouch style with a tiny wicker basket sewn to the bottom. The basket is really just a decorative feature but I just thought it was such a cute and clever idea! :)
I found these basket bottomed reticules in several places including the Museum House and in a few of the Shops of Meryton outdoors. I really like the look of them and would love to have one of my own! (I'm quite partial to bags in general but this is just so darling!)
After the show the models assembled at the front of the tent for us to get a closer look at their gowns, ask them questions and take as many photos as we wanted!
So many charming styles! A lot of work went into these outfits and the models wore them very well. We, the audience, gave them and Ms. Bashore a big round of applause. Such a fun a fun event!
All of this really makes me want to go make my own Regency outfit! :)
Which of these Regency outfits are your favorite?
Have you ever been to a Regency Fashion Show?
Have you made your own Regency dress?
Very Truly Your's,