Friday, January 27, 2012

1820s archery gown for Jane Austen Festival Australia 2012

A Royal British Bowmen event in 1822. Both men and women appear in
the picture in the uniform of the society.
The 2012 Jane Austen Festival Australia will be holding archery workshops.

A challenge for costumers is to create an archery outfit styled on the ones worn by the Royal British Bowman in the Regency period.

The picture to the left shows what was worn in 1822 during an archery competition by the Royal British Bowmen and women.

I am taking up the challenge and will make the women's archery gown. Now, I have searched the interwebs for images of these gowns and the only one that ever turns up is this one. If you could point me to others, I would be so pleased!

British Royal Bowman uniform 1820-25, Manchester City Art Gallery

The art gallery only provides an image of the gown from the front and they provide this discription of the gown.

Lincoln green plain weave mohair and worsted mixture, trimmed with salmon pink mohair / worsted mix and black velvet.

Bodice front in two bias-cut sections below wide v-neck with centre front seam, each section gathered to shoulder seam, with vertical bust dart from high waist seam; bodice back in two bias-cut sections below side v-neck, gathered to shoulder seam and upper centre back opening, fastening centre back with two hooks and metal eyes on bodice and two at waist, diagonal dart each side from back shoulder to left and right back waist; skirt in four sections, gathered to back waist, with centre back opening measuring 19.5 cm; vertical pocket slit, edged with band of self-fabric, in left back skirt; long sleeves, each in two sections, with small puffed upper sleeve gathered to shoulder; upper sleeve lined with white cotton, lower edge of lower sleeve lined brown plain weave silk.

Band of pink fabric and black velvet edging neckline, centre front bodice seam, centre back opening and in double horizontal bands on shoulders; deep band of pink triangles edged with black velvet along skirt hem; upper sleeves trimmed with puffs of pink fabric, gathered to armhole and extending into eight points, edged in black velvet; lower sleeves trimmed with four pink horizontal bands around gathers at lower edge.

Other women in the blogger sphere have made this gown, Anie of Costuming My Bliss has done a fabulous job of replicating the gown, here's another good pic from her photobucket account. Also Jennifer of Historically Dressed has made it, but she doesn't show a view of her completed gown.

I have also found a local Australian blogger who is making the gown for JAFA as well, Antoinette_25 I hope to contact her and share thoughts and notes. Two heads and all that!

What I don't have any views of are the back of the gown, for instance, does the gown use the earlier Regency gown back and is the skirt gathered into it? Or, is it more like the Romantic period gowns, a-line front and back? I intend to email the Manchester Art Gallery and see if I can get any answers, one can but try! [ed: and they replied, see post two for the back views of the Archery gown]

In the intrim I intend to make up this pattern from Tidens Toj as the shape of the skirt and sleeves are very similar. Once I've got a base pattern, I can then drape the bodice to the proper shape.

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