Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on October 27, 2013
The Jane Austen Festival’s Costumed Promenade in Bath, England 2013
It was the loveliest of September Saturdays! The weather was forecast to be grey and rainy, but instead the 600 plus costumed participants were greeted by warm sun shining down on the cobblestone streets and Georgian Bath buildings. In a crowded section of the Royal Crescent, one massive group of historically clad Jane Austen fans mingled with Regency “officers” in full military apparel, while waiting for the town crier to announce the official start of the 2013 Jane Austen Festival’s promenade. If it hadn’t been for the iphones and cameras which were flashing through the crowd at an alarming rate, you might have thought it was a cast of extras from a Jane Austen adaption!
Then the parade was officially underway, and the whole lot of us wound our way slowly through the city streets, where hundreds of local onlookers were lined up with cameras to photograph their town being overtaken by “Austenites”!
For this event I wore the same “Georgiana Darcy” gown which was made of point d’espirit netting lace from the Regency drawsting gown pattern at www.sensibility.com, and which I also wore to “Rosings Park” and to the interior of “Pemberly“. This time, however, I added a double-faced gold satin ribbon sash, and my brown ruched bonnet from the Elizabeth Bennet outfit.
The parade lasted for around an hour, and we ended in this lovely, sunken in garden which we accessed by descending some ancient stone stairs…
It was a lovely time to chat with costumers and other Regency enthusiasts!
And of course we had to get a group shot of the entire Sense & Sensibility Costume Tour group!
Here I am with Jennie Chancey, the pattern designer from www.sensibility.com, who has been one of my greatest sewing inspirations over the years and who led this tour to England. I am so very thankful for her friendship and encouragement since I first began drafting patterns years ago.
After that I met up with Aurora whose wonderful blog is quite famous in Regency circles, and together we went to the historic Pump Room restaurant for lunch. Aurora and I had been emailing for months before the event, so it was so exciting to finally meet her in person! We had so much fun chatting about how we got into costuming, the Jane Austen Festival activities, and much more.
On the far left is Aurora, and in between us are two of the other group participants from the S&S costume tour.
Here’s one of the gorgeous chandeliers inside the Pump Room!
And I was so excited for this next shot! If you have ever watched Persuasion, you will certainly recognize this very spot from the film! This is the fountain from which folks in Jane Austen’s day would “take the waters” – a tradition of drinking sour-tasting mineral water which supposedly had medicinal qualities. I wasn’t brave enough to actually drink any, which was probably a wise choice as some friends who did try it didn’t feel particularly well afterwards. 😉
From there several of us headed back to the Bath Abbey hotel for a little rest, while I hurriedly typed up a blog post (this one here, in fact) in my hotel room. My friend Anita from the group kindly snapped this shot of me while I was typing away on my laptop. If Jane Austen had a laptop she would have looked something like this.
No, I don’t usually wear costumes when I’m on the computer. Ha ha!
Then we dashed off to the dance practice in anticipation of the grand costumed ball that evening. The caller was much too quiet for us to hear her in a room that large, and the general sense in the room was one of chaos. But nonetheless we did get the gist of what we were supposed to be doing, and it helped quite a lot in feeling prepared for such an important event that evening.
It’s hard to get clear pictures while dancing, but I’m very thankful to Anita for taking some and sending them along to me!
After a wonderful afternoon of twirling away, it was time to head back to the hotel to prepare for the monumental events of that evening. Getting ready for the ball was so marvelously fun, but I will wait until next time to share more photos of my ball gown and the steps that went into making it.
Hope you all enjoyed this “trip” to Bath!
Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on October 13, 2013
A Pride & Prejudice Film Costume Reproduction & a Visit to Lyme Park (Pemberly)
Here are pictures from what was one of the most momentous days of my entire trip to England – a day spent at the 1995 filming location of Pemberly from Pride & Prejudice! I had recreated the golden brown spencer jacket, ruched brown bonnet, and white striped day dress that were used in the film for the scene where Elizabeth Bennet visits Pemberly with her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner, and I was so thrilled to wear it in such a fitting location!
“Lyme Park” is the real life location which was used for the exterior of Pemberly in the film. To quote Elizabeth Bennet, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a place more happily situated.” It was GORGEOUS! The pristine lawns and imposing mansion looked precisely as you see them in the 1995 Pride & Prejudice movie, only bigger!
“I believe one would be willing to put up with a good deal to be mistress of Pemberly…” – Mrs. Gardiner
Here I am standing exactly where Elizabeth was before she ran into Mr. Darcy!
The lush green surroundings where Elizabeth and Darcy bumped into each other.
Standing in front of this magnificent structure was so surreal!
Now here’s a comparison shot – first from the film and then one which a friend on the tour kindly took.
Here are some more shots of the architecture:
Here is the famous courtyard inside Pemberly where Mr. Darcy ran out to catch the Gardiners and Elizabeth right before they left.
And here is the same courtyard when shown in the film!
~The Elizabeth Bennet Costume Reproduction~
Perhaps my favorite part of the whole outfit was the ruched brown bonnet. Unfortunately the bonnet didn’t show up very well that day (it was drizzly with grey clouds), but I’m thankful I have some pictures I took at home!
This is what the brown taffeta looked like when I was ruching it up to cover the bonnet.
Here the outer layer of taffeta was pinned to the straw frame.
And here is the finished bonnet!
The interior of the bonnet, with the brim lined with the same ruched taffeta.
And I trimmed the back with a wide ribbon bow, just like the original made by Louise Green for the film.
Here’s the original film costume which inspired my reproduction.
For this Spencer jacket I used a couple of pattern pieces from the Regency jacket pattern at www.sensibility.com, and a lot of pieces that I drafted from scratch.
One of the notable features in this garment is the piping, so I covered my own piping using bias strips of the fashion fabric. The buttons also were covered by yours truly, which you see on the front opening and on the sleeve cuffs.
I LOVED sewing this costume, and wearing it in the actual “Pemberly” location was so marvelous I can still hardly believe it! The only thing I regret about the pictures is that my curled hair was rendered rather straight thanks to the rainy weather, but other than that I had the most wonderful time possible.
I hope you all have enjoyed this “visit to Pemberly”, and if anyone is interested in the same tour I went on, you can find the website for P&P Tours here.
Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on October 8, 2013
~The Sound of Music Wedding Dress Rediscovered ~
This is a day in Sound of Music costume history that I’ve been anticipating for a very long time! Earlier this spring, during the sale of many famous Sound of Music costumes, I noted that nearly every significant outfit from the film had come up for auction in recent years, save Maria’s Wedding Dress and a few Baroness Schraeder ensembles. But today we watch history being made, as what is arguably the most iconic movie wedding dress of all time reappears into the public eye.
Fashioned of silk shantung and fitted to perfection, this hourglass creation was once pristinely beautiful for the on-screen wedding of Captain von Trapp and Maria. But as is often the case with film costumes, the present-day state of the wedding gown shows signs of alterations, adjustments, and years of wear and tear. As hard as it is to believe, nearly all the Sound of Music costumes were returned to the general rental section of Western Costume after production ended in 1965. The producers of the movie had no idea that their newest picture was going to be such a smash hit, so they would have had no reason to suppose that the costumes would go down in history. Because of this, the outfits shown in the Sound of Music continued to be “in circulation” so to speak for years afterwards, and this wedding gown itself was reportedly reused for subsequent productions or possibly even real weddings. (I don’t believe Western Costume rents out their stock to the general public for real-life events such as weddings, but an article I read brought that up as a possibility.) I should dearly like to know what in the world it was used for, as I’d love to see another scene with Maria’s wedding dress in it! (This gown is currently going up for auction at Julien’s Auctions and is estimated to bring around $50,000. My guess is that it will bring much more than that!)
~ There are unfortunate water stains on the lower front of the gown, but the bodice remains as perfectly white as ever.
Until recently, this movie costume has been in the private collection of Jane Withers, who was once a famous actress herself. I find it interesting that both Debbie Reynolds and Jane Withers, both film stars in their own right, have invested so much time, effort, and funding into collecting film memorabilia from movies that they weren’t even connected with! But I’m grateful that these two ladies have preserved the costumes to the best of their ability and have recently auctioned off their Sound of Music collections so the public can once again see these treasures up close, if only on a computer screen.
Below are pictures of Maria’s wedding gown as it appears today. I will add some final thoughts below the last picture.
So there you have it! Maria’s once-glorious wedding gown may be a bit fragile, but it still serves as a reminder of one of the most beloved family stories of all time.
I believe that one of the alterations alluded to by Julien’s Auctions might have been to separate the back bustle pieces (which cascade into the train) from the skirt side seams and finish them separately. If this was the case, additional pieces would have been added underneath the bustle to the skirt front in order to close off the underneath skirt part.
It is difficult to tell because of the way the skirt is arranged – in the movie it was draped in wide folds in back as is shown in the side shot above, but the photo which shows the back view has the train arranged with all the lower skirt flat in order to demonstrate the full width of the skirt back.
Whatever the case, this gown is a treasured piece of film costume history which will be preserved for years to come.
So long, farewell!