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Regency


A Regency fashion parade at Woodford Academy July 2014

On a sunny but very cold Saturday in July, I ran a fashion parade for the Woodford Academy in Woodford, the oldest building in the Blue Mountains, built in 1835. My models, all good friends and brilliant costumers, volunteered along with me to do this as a fund raiser for the Academy. To quote the Academy:
"Thank you to all who attended Lorna McKenzie’s Regency fashion parade. The Parade was both highly entertaining and very informative. We were absolutely thrilled to have a full house. The Woodford Academy Management Committee is very grateful for the ongoing support from our creative community which is critical in ensuring that this historic building remains open for all to experience and enjoy. Thanks again to Lorna McKenzie and her wonderful models."
Many couldn't attend, so I am giving you a taste of the event through my blog. Enjoy!
War, revolution, lost colonies of the Americas
We start in the early era of budding Sydney Town, the British claimed Australia as its own and in 1788 Sydney is the capital of the British colony of New South Wales. Britain was at war with France on and off throughout the Regency period, so uniforms play a big part in the clothing for men, but first, let’s look at a sporting costume from 1790s. …

1. Royal Society of British Bowman
Sir Foster founded the Society of British Bowmen in 1787. It was an ideal way to socialise with his social equals around Wrexham in England. The society was open to ladies and gentlemen. Initially the sport was the top priority. The Society quickly gained the patronage of George, Prince of Wales. He gave a prize each year to the gentlemen and the ladies. The Society also had its own poet who wrote suitable rhymes about the host and the guests.
At So and So's the other day
    The Clouds were in a passion
    His art no archer could display
    Since grape shot came in fashion
A poetic hint at the drinking.

The meetings were the place to be seen. It was a dating agency for the upper classes of Wrexham. Archery was not the only sport at these meetings. Ooooooh, la la!

Dinah's outfit is based on an extant Royal British Bowmen original jacket circa 1794 in the Manchester City Galleries. The original uniform is glazed wool trimmed with silk & linen, but as glazed wool is both hard to find and not suited to our climate, Dinah used polished cotton. Dinah’s guess of a white skirt has been confirmed in? an aquatint of the 1794 women's competition in Wales after her uniform was sewn. To be completely accurate it should have a pink van dyke trim piped with green on the hem. Dinah wears a style of hat called a Lunardi and is based on a fashion plates she researched via pinterest. She is carrying an original 19thcentury bow and arrow.

As already mentioned, The Royal British Bowmen was the first archery society to admit women members in 1787, and although women members had no fees, there were fines of 1 guinea for not wearing the uniform at meets. The best scoring lady at the first meeting of the year would be the Lady Paramount for the season, and in charge of all female members and had the power to fining any for lady for misbehaviour.
 
2. Baudin era French naval uniform
In 1800, Baudin set off from France with battle corvettes refitted for a peaceful expedition to the Great Southern Land during a lull in the Napoleonic wars. The ships were renamed Géographe and Naturaliste. Captain Baudin did not get along with the young free thinking gentlemen on board. He died on the return trip allowing François Péron to write the official journal of the voyage ruining Baudin's reputation. Péron also offered a proposal to the governor of Mauritius for how Sydney may be invaded. There is no evidence that anybody took this seriously.

Philip’s French naval uniform was worn from late 1793 to 1804 and is based on a portrait of Captain Jean-Jacques Magendie (painted in 1802). Philip made this uniform in classes with me.

The embroidery primarily indicated ranks until they were officially abolished in 1800. Many people continued to wear embroidery on their uniforms regardless. At the time of the Baudin expedition to Australia (1800-1803) a uniform like this without embroidery would indicates the naval rank of Lieutenant.

 3. Off with their heads!
Death, destruction, fear, excitement, opportunities, change, the world is in turmoil for all and extremely
dangerous for aristocrats. This is France in the late 18th century.  Robspierre's reign of terror is in full swing; the rules and laws change, and then change again.  The monarchy is gone, the French Revolution changes the world.

How to survive, how to cope? The answer? Be prepared for Madam Guillotine and party like its 1794! The Reign of Terror and the Directoire period in France is a time of fast and furious change in everything from who is important, who is dangerous to know, how you wear your clothes, what's important to survive, the fashion you wear, the music you listen to, the laws that rule your life, the way you live from day to day, all is in flux!

The silks and satins of the years before are replaced by simple but expensive cottons from India. Archeological discoveries of Roman and Greek statues referring to democracy and republicanism are the rage and influencing fashion, architecture and furniture. To look like a Roman senator or Grecian goddess is the height of fashion.

Your wig is old hat, but what do you do with the short hair under it? Turn it into a fashion statement my dear and wear your hair 'a la Titus', i.e. like a Roman, fashionable for both men and woman.
 
4. The Peninsula Wars, the Grasshoppers and their wives – Alex and Deanne
Alex is a member of the 95th Rifles re-enactment group. The 95th is a Napoleonic British Regiment raised in 1800. Deane is his wife and has been allowed to accompany him on his campaign. This means he has a better chance of survival, as he has a cook, nurse; help meet and, hopefully won’t get Syphilis! 

To match Alex's 95th uniform Deanne is wearing her camp followers out fit which is a dark  green woolen skirt, striped yellow and white vest. Tartan navy and green shawl and white plain bonnet.

The 95ths green uniform dress, tactics and training was dramatically different from the normal red-coated British line Infantry of the day. The green uniform aided in their ability to conceal themselves, and their rifled firearms increased the accuracy of their fire. Their training allowed them to work in pairs, use marksmanship principles and actively shoot at human targets.

The Rifle Corps was fundamental in the success of the British Army and was the basis of the modern Army. The 95th Rifles still exist in the British Army, now named the 'The Green Jackets'. The 95th Rifles were never deployed to Australia but many veterans of the Napoleonic War migrated to Australia.

5. A fashion plate from France
War and revolution influenced fashion in many ways; the new high- waisted gowns that represented freedom and ancient democratic cultures meant that the fashion magazines of the day went mad with many ideas for high fashion. Like high fashion today, one suspects that some were never developed past the Vogue photoshoot or a water colour drawing from Ackerrman’s Respository.

Dinah is prettily presenting a reproduction from a fashion plate from Year 11 of the Directoire period in France, 1803 in non-French counting. She wore this at the ball for the Jane Austen Festival in Canberra this year, and my dears, everyone was bowled over by her beauty and grace, as are we now!

6. French civilian (naturalist) outfit
 The gentleman of the Regency and Directoire period undertook the study of botany and different animals in their habitat. Naturalists abounded in Sydney town, clogging the narrow and muddy streets, exploring out to Parramatta, Botany Bay and Penrith to see the new world flora and fauna animals of kangaroos, emus, wattle and grevillias. They were hHoping to find something to claim as new, kill it, stuff it, present a paper back home on it and name it after themselves.

Phillip is representing a French civilian naturalist. His Empire style linen coat is typical for 1805-1820. It has a Republican cockade on a button, as many of the naturalists (especially Labillardière) were inspired by the egalitarian ideals promised by the Enlightenment. A Royalist would wear a white cockade and a Bonapartist might wear the Imperial red, white and blue as seen on the military uniforms.

7. Adventurous women
There is a lot of upheaval at this time, women’s husbands die in war and they need to support themselves and
their family - , widows pensions as we know them do not exist. Sydney Town, with its lure of wealth to be made through new land unencumbered by aristocracy, calls a siren song from afar. Adventurous widows of substance take the chance, book a place on a ship sailing to Sydney Town to try their luck and see what is possible.

Tracey has arrived to do just that, she can hire skilled convicts to till her land and make her profits for her while she hobnobs with the gentry of the town. She is dressed for a dinner with friends; dinner at this time is taken at 4 pm, sometimes earlier. The colony does not have endless wax candles to burn, the native bees do not provide the wax required. She is dressed in a Grecian style gown of fine white muslin, with a trained over gown in scarlet. White and pale colours are all the rage, the archeological statue finds are all white, so it is believed that they were always so. White is the height of fashion and it says ‘I’m rich and don’t have to worry about my laundry’, the red silk says what silk always says, ‘I’m rich’. I understand there is a gentleman of the party who is keen to make her acquaintance …

8. Furthering his interests in the colony
The country fashion of the English gentleman has changed men’s fashion forever. Where the women have
moved into soft and simple gowns, with minimal underpinnings, the men are keen to emulate the ‘huntin, shootin and fishin’ gentry of England. Gone are lace, bright colour and silk. An English gentleman wears russets, greens, yellow nankin, buck skin pants so tight that you can see everything and I mean ‘everything’. Beau Brummel will arrive soon and take colour from men’s wardrobe forever, well mostly, his is a style of basic black, white cravats and spotless linens. But the countryman still revels in his dull coloured sports wear and men of today can be grateful as this lead the way to jeans!

J-L is at the Rocks waiting for the mail packet to arrive with letters from home; it’s six months between communications with his wife and children in England. He sports the long coat of the period; this is an adaptation of an 18th century man’s ‘around the house’ coat known as a Banyan, the ‘onesie’ of the 18th c man. Well it’s left the house and is elevated to the dining rooms, saloons and ballrooms all over Europe and the Colonies. He wears a silk waistcoat, a linen shirt and silk cravat and is sporting the knee breech and white silk stockings with clocks. His shoes have buckles as the 18th c still has some influence over his wardrobe. Gloves and a top hat complete his attire.

9. A glittering ball at Government House
The foundation for Government House on Sydney Harbour was laid only three months after the First Fleet landed, but it took a year to build. Once built it became the place for social gatherings in the colony. It’s not the one we know today, that was built much latter. Still, for its time and place, it is a building of substance and grace.

Kathy, Miriam and Angela are off to a glittering ball in honour of the victory over Napoleon in 1813. Napolean kicks his heels in Elba trying to figure out how to escape and the British party at their success. Their husbands are ex Rum Corp officers transferred into the 73rd regiment after the Rum Rebellion in 1809. They have remained to serve the colony and their personal land interest.

As wives of officers whose pay often doesn’t make ends meet, they have refashioned the bold embroidered silk from their late 18th c. gowns, Miriam is the exception, she is in mourning for the death of her child 12 months ago.

All three wear the bib front gown style popular a few years earlier; their gowns have a smooth column front and lovely draping with a train at the back. They wear flats like ballet slippers; heels are very out of fashion and remain so for over 20 years! Hair is in ringlets, or still short as in Kathy’s case. The hairstyles reflect those as seen on the ancient statues of Greece and Rome. They wear gloves and carry fans to keep cool in the warmth of the Australian evening.
10. Trowsers by gad!
John is sporting fashionable trowsers (sic) of the mid Regency period. Trousers were first worn by sailors and working men before 1800, and were adopted by the fashionable set around 1810. Originally known as “slops”, trousers were loose-fitting and ended at the ankle. As trousers were adopted, long stockings with decorative clocks were replaced by half-hose, all but destroying the stocking industry, which had thrived since breeches had become fashionable.

They were fastened with a flap in front called a fall front, not surprisingly! This flap was held in place by two or three buttons at the top. No belts were worn. Instead, breeches, pantaloons and trousers were held up by tight-fitting waists, which were adjusted by gusset ties in back of the waist. Seats were baggy to allow a man to rise comfortably from a sitting position. As waists rose to the belly button after 1810, suspenders were used to hold the garment up.

Pantaloons were recommended for men whose legs were both slim and muscular. The idea was to show off a good leg. If men possessed deficiencies in musculature, a slight degree of stuffing was recommended, although padding, it was assumed, would be used with the greatest care and circumspection. Interestingly, stockings worn under pantaloons were kept in place by the tightness of the design and fabric.
 
11. Red coats! Trooper uniform of the 73rd Regiment of Foot 
Philip is representing a “lance jack” or lance corporal as shown by one rank stripe on the arm in the first battalion of the 73rd regiment of Foot served in Australia from 1809 to 1815. These were Governor Macquarie's troops who relieved the NSW (Rum) Corps and maintained civil order.

They supervised convict work parties, hunted bush rangers and defended the colony from invasion but their biggest challenge was boredom and lack of opportunity for military glory.

Australia did not have a dedicated artillery regiment at this time and one of the duties of the 73rd regiment was to man a gun battery at Dawes Point, which is now the site of the Sydney Harbour bridge.

12. Second sons and fortune hunters
The new colony is a magnet to second sons who want to leave the confines of England and find a fortune in a
new land. America isn’t as easy to them anymore and we’re the ‘new kid on the block’ and we all know its ‘first in, best dressed’ so out they flock to the great southern land of promising futures of squatocracy and living off the sheep’s back. Fine wool means wealth, everyone wears it, all uniforms are made from it, you can become as rich as a Nabob off the ‘sheep’s back’.

Alex is from Scotland, the second son, no money, but skilled in sheep rearing, he hopes to secure some land and learn from Elizabeth MacArthur about sheep breeding to develop a long staple wool that will change the weaving world! His Kilt and jacket are copies of an extant suit made in 1800. The fundamental differences from the modern kilt are the fastening buttons instead of buckles and lack of formal pleating requirements. The Regency jacket has little resemblance to the formal modern kilt jacket.

Deanne is wearing a brushed cotton , regency style dress for warmth in a checked purple. Over the top she's sporting a tartan Spencer and matching cap.

Their daughter is wearing a white cotton dress with blue flower with bib opening front.Over this she is wearing a full length apricot woolen Spencer and matching cap.

13. The gothic revival
As the Regency moves on, dress starts to lose the simple Grecian lines and move into a more structured format and by the teens the fashion style is influenced by the gothic styles of the Renaissance. Gowns start to take on aspects of style, such as split sleeves, many more trims and furbelows, Renaissance style head dresses, etc. Miss Austen makes fun of the Gothic revival in Northanger Abbey, while others, such as Mrs Radcliffe, write tales of gothic horror that curl the hair of her Regency readers.

Alex is wearing a stunning recreation of Mrs. Hurst’s gothic style full dress (ball gown), as seen in the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice adaptation in the mid-90s.

Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility were written in 1811 but published in 1813. According to a biography writer, Jane revised her books, and the fashion between their covers, accordingly before being published.

The original gown was made in green silk with green velvet contrast. Alex’s is brown with burgundy velvet contrast. Other than that, the gown is decorated as closely as possible to the original BBC costume.

Her jewellery and headpiece are also replicas of the film costume and were created by a good friend.
 
14. Australia, your standing in it!
‘Prinny’ The Prince Regent, ascends the throne of England as George IV on the 29 January 1820, the regency era is over.

The French Revolution is long over and with Napoleon safely removed from the scene, in distant St Helena, the Bourbon king Louis XVIII -  who is restored to the throne now for the second time - attempts to establish the constitutional monarchy which has been the condition of his dynasty's return.

In 1824, the British Admiralty officially adopts the name ‘Australia’; we have ‘arrived’ on the map of the European world.

It’s a decade where the native born children of first settlers and convicts alike assert themselves and their rights to what William Wentworth and others toast as ‘the land, boys, on which we live!’. Sydney has 1,084 buildings – mostly single-storey dwellings – and 12,079 people and 120,000 sheep! We really are ‘living off the sheep’s back’.

Clare and Phoebe are daughters of freed convict parents who received land grants
and are prospering. News of such prosperity upsets the English government; transportation should be seen as a terrifying prospect, a deterrent to crime. During the 1820s, the dreadful penal settlements of Moreton Bay, Macquarie Harbour, Port Macquarie and Norfolk Island were established and gained reputations for harsh punishments and severe cruelty.

Both young women wear gowns designed by me from extant originals from the early
1820s. They are dressed in the late Gothic revival style that still holds sway on fashion, their waistlines have dropped and will continue to the natural waist over the next few years. The classic and clean lines of revolution and change have departed and we move to over decorated gowns, rope petticoats appear to give an A-line shape, rather than a graceful drape. Both these gowns are dress patterns in my ‘Stitch Up History’ collection and will be published in the near future.

If you've read down this far, thank you, and I hope you've enjoyed a trip the early Sydney Town fashions.


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I'm The Tailor's Apprentice, maker of The Miss Page 1940s reproduction patterns, gowns developed from pattern pieces found amongst the remnants of Miss Violet Florence Page’s life and work. Affordable, elegant, and unique garments from the 1940s war years. 

All my patterns are available on Etsy and my website where you'll find out more about me as well. This year I am publishing an 1820s gown wardrobe pattern and have already published the Australian Army Nurses Services WWI uniform pattern.


If you'd liked to be included on my mailing list for events, pattern release dates and interesting snippets about vintage and historic sewing, please subscribe to my Newsletter on The Tailor's Apprentice website.








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Making an 1814 evening gown from Ackerman's Repository

A white crape, or fine muslin petticoat, worn over white satin, embroidered in silver lama round the bottom. A bodice of olive, or spring green - green satin. ornamented with a silver stomacher. Short, full sleeve, rounded bosom, trimmed with a full silver border to correspond. A fan frill of fluted lace, continued around the back, and terminated at the corner of the bosom. A silver fringe round the bottom of the waist. Ackerman's Repository March, 1814.
I choose this gown for my Jane Austen Festival Australia 1814 challenge. It was simple, elegant and relatively easy to recreate. Or so I thought. Little did I know that it would become the 1814 bodice from hell!

I went shopping for some green satin at the local fabric stores, everything but green of any kind.  I bought all the trims, the silver plastic 'lama' ribbon for embroidering, silver fringing and two mother of pearl buttons for the sleeves.

I went home and searched through my stash for fabric to go with the silver. I decided on a royal blue saree silk Georgette that I could interline with a pale blue taffeta. Blue and silver always look well together.

To create the 'rounded bosom' bodice, I cobbled various Regency pattern drafts together. For fitting, I'm using my paper paste dummy that was created over my stays. Its actually slightly bigger than I am due to the T-shirt and paper, which means I can make the gown nicely tight, but on my more malleable body it will be comfortable. You can make one for yourself, it saves you having to put stays on and off for fittings. Plus fitting oneself is NEVER easy!

 The gown apperared to have a sweet heart neckline so I cut one in, but then I realised that it was the stay busk separating the bosom and so didn't continue with it.

As there was no back shown, I made my standard Regency triangle back. So far so good.

Now the trouble starts, a stomacher to me is an 18th and earlier front in a V shape, often covewred by lacing. Its highly embroidered and decorated. The one below from the Museum of London is a beautiful example.
Stomacher for a spitalfields woven silk Court dress. The stomacher is roughly triangular, with a straight bottom edge; trimmed with eight rows of metal thread braid with bows and tassels alternating with seven rows of ivory, yellow, purple, green and pink silk rosettes; edges finished with cream silk tape. The Court dress was traditionally thought to have been worn by Mrs. Ann Fanshawe when her father, Crisp Gascoyne, was Lord Mayor of London in 1752-53. Mrs. Fanshawe acted as her father's Lady Mayoress as her mother had died in 1740. Image from Museum of London
This what I had in my mind, so why did I go off in some weird 'Heidi or Snow White meets Regency' fantasy land? Reader, I know not, but off into this land I went and here's the results.

Now, admittedly, I was using the blue ribbon as it showed up better on the calico, so at first I thought, 'Its just the colour'. WRONG! I pinned on a coloured sheer skirt that I thought I might use, but it was too green for the blue. I then added the lace, now I was really in Disneyland...

... but still I persisted in my blindness to the fashion fabric, grrrr! Does this look like Snow White I ask you dear Reader?!?!?!
I have no picture of the sleeves on the above bodice, but trust me, I would have been singing to the seven darves!

I frog stitched off the front pale blue stomacher and moved to the next version. I thought that as the stomacher was unseen in the image I could be as creative, or not, as I liked. So I placed a single line of silver 'lama' down the front. This looked better and I started to relax, but a very lame (pun intended) attempt at a stomacher! I couldn't leave it at that.

Having solved the stomacher issue, or so I thought, I added the skirt. I needed a sheer fabric and the only one I could get was a sheer spotted polyester, plastic as hell. Honestly our local fabric shops get worse and worse, no wonder I mostly buy online. Sadly I left this project too late in the day to fetch good silk from OS.
Skirt on, I continued to fiddle with the stomacher again and the spotted sheer isn't anywhere near as drapey as I would like. I don't like the lace either, still smacks of Snow White.

Final fiddle with the stomacher. I think this version is best and frankly I'm over this dress.



It should have a satin underlining but I will wear it over my muslin petticoat as I'm not wasting more time on it. I hope I like it more when its on me, but as I'm still making my new short stays, that has to wait for the weekend.

My next project is an 1814 day gown from Ackerman's, hopefully I will enjoy the process more!

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I'm The Tailor's Apprentice, maker of The Miss Page 1940s reproduction patterns, gowns developed from pattern pieces found amongst the remnants of Miss Violet Florence Page’s life and work. Affordable, elegant, and unique garments from the 1940s war years. 

All my patterns are available on Etsy and my website where you'll find out more about me as well. This year I am publishing an 1820s gown wardrobe pattern and have already published the Australian Army Nurses Services WWI uniform pattern.


If you'd liked to be included on my mailing list for events, pattern release dates and interesting snippets about vintage and historic sewing, please subscribe to my Newsletter on The Tailor's Apprentice website.








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Regency Kitchen Pepper by 'A Lady' and a recipe for Black Pepper Cookies





 




I came across this Regency recipe for Kitchen Pepper by A Lady from 1807 on Old School Pastry a few days ago,  I thought it looked delicious and was not mistaken. Its a perfect gift for Yule as all the combined spices smell just like Christmas in a jar!

It would be great to use in cakes, biscuits, curries, and as A Lady herself suggests: to flavour meats, sauces and soups. I'm using it today in my Black Pepper Cookie recipe (see below).

Kitchen pepper 1807 From The New System of Domestic Cookery, by "A Lady," from 1807
Original recipe:
Mix the finest powder, one ounce of ginger; of cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, and Jamaica pepper, half an ounce each: ten cloves, and six ounces of salt. Keep it in a bottle - it is an agreeable addition to brown sauces or soups.

Spice in powder, kept in small bottles close stopped, goes much further than when used whole. It must be dried before pounded; and should be done in quantities that may be wanted in three or four months. Nutmeg need not be done - but the others should be kept in separate bottles, with a little label on each.  (http://www.oldschoolpastry.com/2011/02/foodie-friday-homemade-seasonings-and.html) 
DSC_0023Its Christmas Eve in Australia, a gentle rain is falling, the rain water tank is filling and we are all cooling down from the heat wave of the last few days, where temperatures reached 40oC.  even in my cool Blue Mountains.

So with the cooler weather making baking more bearable I decided to make my Black Pepper Cookies as Christmas treats for tomorrow and use the Kitchen Pepper as the replacement spice mix for them.

I've been making these for a very long time, my recipe book says they are American, but I have no idea if they are. I reckon they may have been adapted from Dutch speculaas biscuits. They are delicious, full of rich chocolate and the pepper and spices work so well together, a perfect Christmas Cookie.

Black Pepper Cookies 
(The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook. London & New York, Marshall Cavendish, 1973 p.137)Makes about 36 biscuits

Ingredients
   
•    3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
    •    3/4 teaspoon finely ground pepper, plus more for sprinkling
    •    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    •    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    •    1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
    •    1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    •    1 1/2 cups self raising flour
    •    3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    •    1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon good-quality instant espresso powder
    •    1 cup sugar (I use brown sugar)
    •    1 large egg

Directions:

Heat oven to 375oF, Gas Mark 5 or 190oF. Lightly grease a baking sheet with butter. Set aside. In a medium sized mixing bowl cream the butter, pepper, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla extract together with a wooden spoon until the mixture is soft. Beat in the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Sift flour, salt and cocoa into the bowl and blend the dry ingredients thoroughly with the butter and sugar mixture until a firm dough is formed. Lightly flour your hands and roll spoonfuls of the dough into balls about 1" diameter. Place balls on baking sheet, leaving 1 1/2" space between each one. With the heel of your hand, gently flatten the dough balls to 1/4' thick. Place the baking sheet in the centre of the oven and bake biscuits for 12 minutes. Remove from baking sheet from the oven. Transfer to a wire rack and ;eave them to cool completely before serving or storing.


Have yourself a very Merry Christmas
and a 
New Year full of joy and creativity!


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I'm The Tailor's Apprentice, maker of The Miss Page 1940s reproduction patterns, gowns developed from pattern pieces found amongst the remnants of Miss Violet Florence Page’s life and work. Affordable, elegant, and unique garments from the 1940s war years. 

All my patterns are available on Etsy and my website where you'll find out more about me as well. This year I am publishing an 1820s gown wardrobe pattern and an Australian Army Nurses Services WWI uniform pattern.


If you'd liked to be included on my mailing list for events, pattern release dates and interesting snippets about vintage and historic sewing, please subscribe to my Newsletter on The Tailor's Apprentice website.


 

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Croisures a la victime - short hair in the Directoire period

Fashion plate from Wikipedia Commons
Death, destruction, fear, excitement, opportunities, change. The world is in turmoil for all and extremely dangerous for aristocrats. This is France in the late 18th century.  Robspierre's reign of terror is in full swing, the rules and laws change, then change again.  The monarchy is gone, the French Revolution changes the world.

How to survive, how to cope? The answer? Be prepared for Madam Guillotine and party like its 1794!

The Reign of Terror and the Directoire period in France is a time of fast and furious change in everything from who is important, who is dangerous to know, how you wear your clothes, what's important to survive, the fashion you wear, the music you listen to, the laws that rule your life, the way you live from day to day, all is in flux!

Jeune fille en busteVers 1794
The silks and satins of the years before are replaced by simple but expensive cottons. Archeological discoveries of Roman and Greek statues referring to democracy and republicanism are the rage and influencing fashion, architecture and furniture. To look like a Roman senator or a Grecian goddess is the height of fashion.

Your wig is old hat, but what do you do with the short hair under it? Turn it into a fashion statement my dear and wear your hair 'a la Titus', i.e. like a Roman, fashionable for both men and woman.




Fashion plate from Wikipedia Commons
With the Reign of Terror raging around them, the pro-Monarchy needed a way to 'cock a snoot' at the pro-Republicans,

Cut your hair 'a la victime', i.e. hair roughly hacked off at the back of the victim's head leaving the front long, prepared for Madam Guillotine. Thus you turn the affront into a fashion statement, start a fashion trend that becomes the Incroyables et Merveilleuses, then you all party hard at 'a la victime' balls!

The incroyable fashion for outrageously short hair and crazy fashion then travelled to the rising haute-Bourgeois. They claimed the styles previously only affected by the aristos, much to the disgust of these aristos! The bougeois stealing their thunder! How very dare they!

I have fallen under the spell of the Incroyables and Merveilleuses, they leave the tame Regency for dead, they make the rule breakers of Britain look like naughty children! Outrageous in so many things, but its the short hair and the short skirts that call to me!









I want to play with them, if only for a little while. So I have had my hair styled 'a la Titus' by my fabulous hairdresser and am about to create some Mervilleuse gowns for my re-enacting wardrobe. Here's what the clever hair cutter at Kropt Hair created for me today, I am chuffed! Perfect for our Regency Ball on the 28th September, 2013, you can book for it here on Eventbrite.



 Viva la France!

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I'm The Tailor's Apprentice and I have created The Miss Page Vintage Pattern Collection. 1940s WWII dress making patterns for the 21st century woman. Patterns created by me from my extant 1940s gowns. All my patterns are available on Etsy and my website where you'll find out more about me as well. This year I am publishing an 1820s gown wardrobe pattern.















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Forty years of fashion, the 1780 to 1820 fashion parade at Jane Austen Festival Australia

Photo courtesy Lawrie Brown
My friend Samantha and I presented an historical fashion parade of 40 years of Regency fashionat this year's Jane Austen Festival Australia.

We asked attending costumers to show off their gowns, suits and uniforms from between the years 1780 to1820 to the audience on the Friday Dinner with Mr Darcy Variety Night.

The Fashion Parade was a great success and I am sharing it with you to enjoy as well. Sadly we have very few photos of the parade itself, apart from the one above, so where I can I will link to the makers blog for images or use my own and at the last resort, use images from art work of the period.

Welcome, come with us on a time traveller’s journey, no TARDIS needed, only needle, thread and a passion for history. Travel through 40 years of fashion changes from 1780 to 1820. The models have created all these elegant gowns, suits and uniforms, with a few exceptions. Enjoy your trip through time … 


Tea in a Teacup
Kristy Venten
Maker: Kelly Lock
1780


To start our parade we have a beautiful example of a late 18th century Georgian Caraco jacket and petticoats.  Caraco jackets were styled in the same way as a gown of the period, but the skirts were trimmed shorter, usually about mid-thigh length. Other types of jackets were trimmed even shorter than this. The jacket was then worn over stays, panniers or a false rump (Couldn’t we all do with one of those?), and usually a matching petticoat. Note the formal structure of the gown created by stays, many petticoats and a bum pad. This style is formal and will soon disappear into the simplicity of the neo-classical style of the Regency and Directoire periods. Across Europe revolution is fomenting, soon to bubble over in the French Revolution and the world, and fashion, will never be the same again.

Pattern adapted from Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion.



George Miller,
Maker, Sam Miller
1790s


Mr Collins is wearing the dark black suit of a Regency clergyman. He is a man who is ever humble and does not like to put himself forward so his style is slightly out of fashion, but still elegant. The fabrics are chosen for wear and comfort; Mr Collins does like his comforts.

George specially requested this garb as he'd always wanted to be Mr Collins.

Adapted very skilfully from a commercial pattern to create the period look.

John is on the left
John Potter
Royal Navy Officer - Lieutenant 1787 - 1805


John is wearing a Royal Navy officer's full dress uniform for the rank of Lieutenant in the style of the 1787 regulations. This style stayed in vogue until 1805. War and Revolution was very much a part of this period and men in uniforms were a part of all social events and added glitter and flair to a ball.

Throughout this period, the cut and style of the officer’s uniforms resembled those of the army which was itself based on the civilian fashions of the time. Sailor's dress in contrast was very different to their shore based contemporaries, being designed for practical use at sea, and it marked them very distinctly as being seamen.

The 1787 officer's uniform comprised a long blue coat (gold laced for more senior officers) with flat gilt buttons bearing an anchor device, single breasted white waistcoat and breeches, white shirt, stockings or hose and buckle shoes. The hat resembled the original tricorn shape but was by this period virtually an 'extended bicorn' which was worn 'athwart' (crossways) and was gold laced for senior officers. The head would normally be covered with a white powdered wig pulled back in a pigtail.

For ordinary dress or 'undress', officers had a plainer, more practical coat. For Lieutenants this was blue throughout, including lapels which could be fastened across the body, plain cuffs and standing collar, all edged with white piping. The more decorative 'dress' sword would also be replaced with a more practical fighting sword - typically a curved sword called a 'hanger'.

Purchased from a military supplier.


J-L to the right
Jenny-Lee Heylen
Maker, Lorna McKenzie
1800s

A Dust jacket for a Regency gentleman, Dust jackets evolved from the gentleman’s 18th century banyan, a comfortable lounge jacket for less formal occasions in one’s home. The war and revolution had a great influence on both women’s and men’s dress to a more simple and neo-classical. Dressing ‘down’ was the fashion, keeping your head more important than displaying your silks or satins.

The English country gentleman ‘look’ took the fashion world by storm in the early Georgian/Regency period. Men adopted their ‘huntin’, shootin’, n’, fishin’ clothes for the town and the ball. Comfort became fashionable.

Pattern was drafted from a late 18th century banyan and then adapted to portrait images of the period.

Steve is 2nd from right
Stephen Gapps
Army Officer  Infantry Captain (1805-1812)


Stephen is wearing a British Army officer's uniform of the rank of
Captain. The rank is indicated by the presence of two epaulettes on the shoulders and the absence of any additional devices on the epaulettes. More junior officers (Lieutenants and Ensigns) typically wore one epaulette on the right shoulder 

The uniform reflects a style worn between 1805 and 1812 as fashions changed from long swallow tailcoats to shorter, more practical coatees, partly in response to the experience of the British Army in North America. The coatee can be worn in three different ways depending on the occasion  either with lapels fully buttoned back for formal occasions such as balls or at court, partly buttoned back (a style fashionable with young officers) or fully buttons across to protect the 'facing colour' which was a common style on campaign.

Officers wore a magenta sash around their waist (or over the shoulder for highland regiments) and generally wore a sword as further marks of their status. The bicorn was an item of headgear worn regularly before 1805 but it was falling out of fashion in the early 19th Century to be replaced by felt shakos. Senior officers however, continued to favour bicorns well beyond the introduction of the new headgear. Officer's dress, particularly on campaign, was not as closely regulated as that of the men..! Breeches and buckle shoes are worn for social occasions but would be replaced by trousers and boots or shoes in the field.

Purchased from a military supplier.


Meg is on the far left
Meg Gardiner
1790s-1805


Meg’s day robe introduces us to the revolutionary influence on women’s fashion, simplicity and elegance held sway. The influence of the Royal Court were gone, replaced by the influences of the classical world of Greece and Rome.

Her fabric, beautiful mauve voile, lined in white cotton, shows us the influence of the East India Company and the exotic cottons that were now available.  Her gown is based on the neo-classical early Regency and Directoire period style of simplicity and grace.

Meg’s elegant robe features a simple high bodice tightened by draw-strings, a graceful draping skirt in soft fabric, a small train for day wear, the gown’s back bodice shows the characteristic ‘diamond’ back and the inset sleeves still used the late 18th century techniques to provide better arm movement.

Pattern used Sense & Sensibility Elegant Ladies Closet.


More images
Sophie Kunst
1790s-1805


Sophie is wearing a high waisted, bib-fronted day gown in beautiful blue and white stripes, with blue trim. Her gown is in cotton, wildly fashionable for any lady of style. It is simple and elegant. The column shape of a Grecian statue, with the graceful gathers at the back.

Both the bib-front style and the long straight sleeves covering her hands provide a perfect example of this extremely popular style of the early Regency.

Pattern used Sense & Sensibility Elegant Ladies Closet.



Jo Sandbach
1810-1813


A soft rose cambric robe, with full long sleeves, unornamented at the feet, piping is used to create a soft smocking effect on bodice and sleeves. The gown drapes elegantly with the mid-teens A-line look, but with a softness provided by the drape of the fabric. Its simplicity belies its elegance.


The bodice & sleeves are based on a "The Mantua-Maker" pattern.





Joanne Van Raaphorst
1811


A stunning recreation of Mrs Hurst's full dress (ball gown), as seen in the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice adaptation in the mid-90s.

According to a biography writer, Jane revised her books Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility’s in 1811 and had them published in 1813.

The original gown was made in green silk with green velvet contrast. Joanne’s is brown with burgundy velvet contrast. Other than that, Joanne has decorated the costume as close as possible to the original.

Her jewellery and headpiece are also replicas of the film costume and were created by a good friend.

We can see a further move away from the neo-classical style, formality of line is returning to high fashion.

Pattern Sense & Sensibility adaptation.



Gabriel Bienek
1813
Maker, Lorna McKenzie, The Tailor's Apprentice


Gabriel wears a two toned green silk robe in full dress, with short puffed sleeves made in the Elizabethan manner. Her robe is ornamented at the feet by embroidery in silver and the sleeves are styled in the same embroidery.

The fabric is a 7 metre silk saree. Shawl and saree gowns were extremely popular as gown fabric during the Regency, Directoire and Empire periods. As the East India Company’s goods trickled, then flooded back to England and Europe, these beautifully woven and embroidered objects were greatly desired and gown styles utilising these elements were much employed.

Note how Gabriel’s gown sports the fashionable A-line silhouette of the mid-teens with its Gothic Elizabethan and Renaissance influences. This silhouette will become more stiff and exaggerated as the century progresses.

The pattern was drafted from period examples of 1813 gowns with especial reference to Jean Hunniset and Norah Waugh.



Antonia Lai
1817
Antonia’s 1817 ensemble is based on the November 1, 1817 fashion plate from Ackermann’s Repositiory.


Ackermann’s Repository was the fashion magazine of the Regency, along with others such as Bel Assemblee. These beautifully painted watercolour designs were the epitome of haute couture. If your mantua maker could emulate one of these ensembles you were lucky indeed.

Antonia’s stylish walking ensemble includes an elegant Spencer jacket showing the military influence on women’s fashion, a white muff, hat and a white robe with ruffle edges and puffs. Simplicity has been replaced by decoration and trim. The gown’s bodice and the Spencer are extremely high waisted, sitting directly under the bust.

We have reached the apogee of the short waisted gowns; soon, fashion will dictate a move downward towards the natural waist. Antonia’s skirt ruffles and puffs demonstrate further the move to the more elaborate gown ‘architecture’ of the late teens and early 20s, moving even farther from the neo-classical simplicity of the early Regency.

Pattern drafted by Antonia from period sources.



Lorna McKenzie
1820s

 

Lorna’s gown is a reproduction of the sporting uniform worn by the women members of the Royal Society of British Bowman in 1823. These gowns worn by the women archers copied the men’s uniform colours,  Lincoln green with a stylised yellow or pink and black trim of van dyke points representing arrowheads. The women archers also wore a chemisette in the Elizabethan ruff style and a Tam O'Shanter type of bonnet.

Archery, battledore/shuttlecock, walking and horse riding were the main sporting activities followed by ‘genteel’ women in this period.

This final style in our trip through Regency fashion shows the trend to much wider skirts, the hem is supported with wool wadding to hold the shape of the A-line and a rope petticoat was often worn as a support.

From this point on, the gown’s bodice will head down to the natural waist, skirts will widen into a bell shape, needing rope petticoats or horse hair crinolines to provide support. The neo classical era of the Regency, Directoire and Empire is at its end, moving forward to the Victorian period bell silhouette. 


Pattern drafted by Lorna (aka The Tailor's Apprentice) with reference to the Royal Society of British Bowman portrait of 1822.

This ends our trip through Regency fashions between 1780 and 1820, we hope you have enjoyed it; please show your appreciation by giving our models a big round of applause. The models are more than happy to chat with you over the weekend about the creation of their gowns, or you can chat further with Samantha or Lorna at anytime, we respond well if champagne and chocolates are provided … once again, please thank our models … and they did, long and loud!

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I'm The Tailor's Apprentice and I have created The Miss Page Vintage Pattern Collection. 1940s WWII dress making patterns for the 21st century woman. Patterns created by me from my extant 1940s gowns. All my patterns are available on Etsy and my website where you'll find out more about me as well. This year I am publishing an 1820s gown wardrobe pattern.


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