Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on September 10, 2013
Yesterday was one of the most amazing days of my life!! I saw so many sites beloved to fans of Pride & Prejudice that I hardly know where to start, and I’m quite overwhelmed by everything we did. I started out the day by perusing through “Meryton” (Lacock Village), and ended the evening in the beautiful home of Longbourn. I can hardly take in all that happened, as I had the most unbelievable time dancing the night away inside Longbourn itself!! I must rush off to eat some breakfast so you’ll forgive me for sharing mainly pictures rather than words, but rest assured that I will give a more detailed post when I get back home!
“Shall we be quite safe here, Mr. Darcy, do you think?”
The Red Lion Inn where the “country dance” takes place at the start of the film.
The GORGEOUS Lacock Abbey where we saw so many incredible things inside….
“But by then his habits were as dissolute as his manners were engaging…” Remember?! Mr. Darcy walking here to find Wickham at Cambridge?
Look at this! It’s the window at the Bell at Bromley where Lydia leans out to call to Lizzie below!
Squeal!! It’s the church that the Bennets attended and where the Bennet girls’ double wedding took place!
I must say at this point that by the time we arrived on the Longbourn property (which is not open to the public and is absolutely exactly like how it was in the film), we were so overwhelmed that many of us were at the point of tears to see in person the place that we’ve known and loved so well from the beloved film. To stand right in front of the very house where Lizzie and Jane’s stories unfold, to walk up to the home and actually touch it, is so overwhelming and incredible that it was hard to believe it was really happening. I can hardly believe I was so blessed to see this all!
Look! “This man, and this woman, and THIS man, and THIS woman, in holy matrimony…” Can you just see the Bennets, Bingleys, and all their family sitting in the pews? I sat where the Gardiners were during the wedding ceremony. Amazing!!
Look at this! It’s where Lizzie and Jane would walk and where Jane was told, “I give you leave to like him – you’ve liked many a stupider person!”
And I wore my Elizabeth Bennet reproduction costume in the very spot that Jennifer Ehle wore hers in the film!! Oh my goodness!
Forgive the exhausted look (I had only had three hours of sleep the night before), but I was absolutely in heaven. Behind me is the “prettyish sort of wilderness” where Lady Catherine and Lizzie walked. Incredible!
So when at last the sun was setting we all headed into the house where photography is not allowed for the most amazing evening I have ever experienced. On hand was a fabulous historical dance teacher who is often summoned to help television productions and films with their dances. We had a marvelous time twirling the evening away before dinner in the Bennet’s dining room! Squeal! I tried to envision the whole family sitting around the table, and quoted Mr. Collins’ speech to Mr. Bennet on how “You may imagine, sir, how happy I am on every occasion to offer those little delicate compliments to ladies which are always acceptable.” Ugh, Mr. Collins was despicable! But it didn’t stop me from giving the whole little speech just for the fun of it!
And after dinner, about twelve of us started dancing which gave much more room in the main entry way for those of us who really loved dancing. OH MY GOODNESS!!! Well, I’ve never had so much fun in my life. And what do you know, but the dance instructor chose my three favorite Regency dances in the whole wide world right in a row!! I have memorized these from watching Jane Austen movies for years, but it’s very rare that I actually have the chance to dance them. First we did that amazing dance that Emma & Mr. Knightley dance in the 2009 version of Emma, which was absolutely gorgeous! The video for this on Youtube is here. It was marvelous! Then, we danced probably my second favorite dance ever, this jig that they danced in this same film where Mr. Knightley rescues Harriet from sure humiliation. The dance teacher said while teaching, “You already know this one! Maybe you should teach it.” I was quite excited! I’ve never danced it before, but it came quite naturally after watching it so many times on DVD. It is the bounciest, most wonderful dance you could imagine, and I did it just as energetically as I could. You can see which dance I’m referring to here.
And finally, we did Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot dance!! This is the one that Darcy and Elizabeth dance at the Netherfield Ball. The music went on and on, and I wished the dance would never stop…
Well, I now am officially running short on time as I must go get ready for another costumed day in the English countryside.
I will update again as soon as I can. Thank you, Lord, for such an amazing time in England!
All the best,
Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on September 9, 2013
It’s been one of those rare and unforgettable days when what seems to good to be true is true. When something you’ve been planning towards for months on end finally starts to come to pass, and when you’re so busy making sure you haven’t forgotten a thing that the sheer enormity of what you’re doing seems to get lost in the shuffle… This morning I stood looking at my bare sewing room, where only a few hours before countless dresses had been laid out on tables and hung on the dressform, and where I had spent so many pleasant hours over the last eight months happily sewing for this very trip. In this place where for the last few weeks there has been nothing but bustling and busyness to finish my costumes, the room seemed strangely empty and hollow with all the gowns gone and packed away. It was one of those days when you have to keep telling yourself, “This is really happening! I’m going to England today! My costumes are really finally all done and I’m going to England!!”
I can hardly believe that I’m typing these words, but I’m in London! Hip hip hooray! I managed to survive the 5,000 mile trek in one piece with all my luggage, thank the Lord, and with only several minor “tragedies” along the way. Just kidding! Well, my bags did cause me some slight problems throughout the course of my airplane travel, but I’m back on track for the rest of my trip to go smoothly.
If one has to travel, one ought to do it in style!
And as is only fitting for a costume tour, I was indeed sewing right up till the morning that I left. So much for my goal to be done with all sewing one month prior to the trip! Oh well. All the sewing over the last few months did pay off, though, as I now have three Regency day dresses, two Spencer jackets, two bonnets, one petticoat, and one elaborate, over-the-top ballgown (completely hand-stitched) in my suitcases. These of course are in addition to my “normal” outfits which I’ve sewn for the tour, many of which you’ll be seeing in my upcoming London and Winchester blog posts.
The official costumed festivities will begin in another day or so, but I thought I would post the links to my England trip blog posts from my 2009 tour to tide you over until then!
From the Edelweiss Patterns Blog archives, here is the Victoria & Albert Museum Part I, the Victoria & Albert Museum Part II, a Kensington Palace blog post, and an article about the Jane Austen Festival and my Elizabeth Bennet outfit reproduction. If you read my blog post from last year about Queen Elizabeth’s royal tour gowns from the 1950s, you will see many gowns that I will be viewing in person next week! (Please note that I am using much higher resolution cameras this time than I did four years ago, so hopefully even the low-lit museums will show up quite nicely just like the DAR Museum pictures did this spring.)
So until next time, happy sewing!
Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on September 1, 2013
It’s hard to believe that in just one week I’ll be in the UK! I have been planning towards this costume study trip for so long that I can hardly imagine I’m finally this close!
The trip will be costume-focused in a couple of ways – firstly, we will obviously be studying a lot of magnificent gowns in some of England’s finest museum collections. (The Victoria & Albert Museum, The Fashion Museum in Bath, and Kensington Palace, just to name a few.) And secondly, our group will be wearing a plethora of costumes, as well! For the last eight months I’ve been sewing on and off towards the Jane Austen Festival which will include a marvelous Regency ball held in the very Assembly Rooms that Jane Austen mentioned in her novels, as well as a lovely costumed promenade through the historic streets of Bath.
Here are a few of the things I’ll be seeing while I’m in England:
~ Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation gowns at Buckingham Palace
~ Queen Victoria’s silk wedding dress housed at Kensington
~ Evening gowns worn by Princess Diana
~ The actual filming location of “Longbourne” (the Bennet’s home) from the 1995 version of Pride & Prejudice, complete with a costumed supper in the dining room and Regency dancing afterwards!
~ A tour of “Pemberly” (Lyme Park), for which I have recreated an “Elizabeth Bennet” film costume to replicate some of my favorite shots from the film!
~ Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral, both famous sites of the renowned British royal weddings
~ Plus studying dozens of sumptuous court gowns and day dresses from the 1600s up to the 1900s…
I will try to blog just as often as I possibly can while I’m on the trip , and I’ll be taking hundreds of photos to share! Rest assured that if I can’t find time to chronicle all the goings-on while I’m in England, I will be sure to write much longer blog posts once I come back!
Well, before I go stuff all my dresses into my suitcase, here are a couple preview shots of just one of the Regency outfits I’ve sewn while it was under construction. Does anyone want to take a wild guess as to which Pride & Prejudice costume ensemble I’ve recreated?
And here’s one last picture of a special hatbox I’ve decorated for carrying my Regency bonnets on the plane! I used pink spray paint on the top, “I Love Lucy” fabric for the sides, and sparkly pink ribbon for trim. I think it should hopefully keep my bonnets from getting “squashed”!
The next time I post here I will be in London.