Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My impression of the 2013 Jane Austen Festival Australia

Gorgeous Georgian!
I spent last weekend at the 2013 Jane Austen Festival Australia, starting on Thursday night with a potluck super and catch-up with friends, then onto, seminars, dance classes, cooking classes, bonnet workshops, an evening of roast beef and Regency entertainment, the Grand Napoleonic Ball and the Collition Ball, plus a visit to Lanyon Homestead, a picnic, a fair, concerts and much, much more. It was a blast! If you've never visited the Festival I highly recommend it.

I really love this Festival, its only a 3 hour drive away, is packed with activities and everyone is soooo friendly!

So here are some photos of my time at the Festival.
The group photo at Lanyon Homestead
Members of the Australian Costumers Guild
Some of our 1780-1820 fashion parade group for the Variety night, I was the presenter, so have no stage photos
A dance demonstration for the Variety night
Chatting with the military
Touring St John's
Glitterati at the Napoleonic Ball
Glitterati at the Napoleonic Ball
Glitterati at the Napoleonic Ball
Gaming, Unders & Overs, I believe an estate or 2 were lost ...
Touring Lanyon Homestead

Touring Lanyon Homestead
Regency silhouette

Chatting about Lanyon

Resting in the shade of the verandah

Through the arbour, the gardens were lovely

Resting before lunch
Sunday afternoon Fair
1813 Ackerman's Repository reproductions

813 Ackerman's Repository reproduction

Our fabulous and tireless muscians
As you can see, it was a marvellous event, now counting the days till next year's Festival :)

An Australian WWI nurse's uniform - A visit to the Australian War Memorial

Photo from AANS Uniform & Service Requirements

I've been asked to create a pattern for the Australian WWI nurse's uniform, both the ward dress and the dress uniform. Some serious research was required and first stop was the interwebs and I found a number of examples, such as the one above, and have pinned them to my WWI board.

I then contacted the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and asked them what was available in their collection and if I could organise a visit as I was already there for the Jane Austen Festival Australia last weekend. Sadly there aren't many uniforms left and the AWM only had a Norfolk jacket and dickie of the dress uniform. Still n' all, they were marvellous and let me view it and take as many photos as I needed.

It was wonderful to see a uniform worn by a serving women who worked to heal soldiers injured in the battles. She would have worn her dress uniform with pride, and deservedly so!

The Australian Army Nurse Service (AANS) WWI outdoor uniforms changed during the war to adapt to changing fashions and I am very thankful to the AANS Uniform & Service Requirements for the following information.
P04233.0011914 Outdoor Dress
An ankle length grey serge dress with a long sleeved, loose fitting blouson bodice, a six gore skirt ( its more likely to be a 5 gore skirt) and a self fabric belt. ( noted that there are 3 horizontal tucks at mid calf level on the skirt). The bodice had a yoke at the back but not at the front. This was fastened with 5 buttons (in front) from the neck to the waist and the belt had two buttons. The stand collar and cuffs were edged with narrow, linen liners. On the right sleeve, just above the elbow there was a raised embroidered AANS Badge.
AANS Uniform & Service Requirements
As noted in the above quote, the first outdoor uniform jacket was based on a Gibson style shirtwaist. Then, it changed in 1916  to the very popular Norfolk jacket style, with a front dickie that shows as the undershirt. The jacket was also worn with the 5-6 gore skirt of the period, which started at ankle length and rose to mid-calf by the end of WWI. It is this later jacket that the AWM holds and is the one I saw.
P03253.004The 1916 Outdoor Dress
In 1916 the AANS Outdoor Dress was changed and army officer’s rank was given to all nurses. The outdoor uniform itself changed to a grey serge suit consisting of a Norfolk jacket and a 5 gore skirt.

Oxidized rank insignia and “AUSTRALIA” titles were worn on the shoulder straps of the jacket.
Army unit color patches were worn on the upper sleeves.

In working dress rank insignia was worn on shoulder straps of the red cape. Nurses who served in the forward hospitals on Lemnos during the Gallipoli campaign were awarded the Anzac “A” like other AIF veterans of the Dardanelles

On the 1916 Outdoor Jacket the shoulder straps were most commonly detachable and chocolate colored. On some photos the shoulder straps are clearly grey. AANS Uniform & Service Requirements
Images from my visit to the AWM
The garment was made in a beautiful grey flannel (wool) and lined in cotton. The jacket is machine stitched, with hand stitching for the silk collar of the dickie.

The curator was marvellous, extremely helpful and encouraging. It was a great visit and I have learned a great deal that will inform my pattern making for the client.

its a shame they didn't have a working uniform, but here are its details:
P07989.003Working Dress for the entire war
The Working Dress remained the same for the entire war, except for a slight shortening of the skirt to keep in line with the current fashion.
This was a grey zephyr cotton dress similar in pattern to the 1914 Outdoor Dress, with a detachable starched white collar (photos show both stand and stand-and-fall collars,) and cuffs.
White cotton armband with a red felt Geneva cross sewn in the centre. The armband is curved - wider at the centre and tapering to either end, forming straps. The band is fastened by a two-clawed metal buckle sewn into one end of the armband. 'A. [broad arrow symbol] S' is stamped on the back of the armband.
There was a starched white apron with a bib front and cross over straps at the back (this could also be unstarched grey zephyr for extremely dirty work). The apron sometimes had a cotton embroidered Red Cross center top. AANS Uniform & Service Requirements

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

1820s late Regency dress making patterns from The Tailor's Apprentice

The new flyer for my soon to be released 1820s late Regency gowns. Get on the alert mailing list today!

These gowns will be available as separate patterns, Diana and Charlotte, or you can 'mix-n-match' to create a different gown altogether!

I believe these are the first 'Mix-n-match' Regency patterns on the market. Choose a bodice style, a sleeve style and different trims for the skirt. You will be able to create a versatile wardrobe for day, evening and dance events. No gown need look the same in your closet. Only buy the pattern part you require!

As the year progresses, more variations will be added to the 1820s Wardrobe Collection.

Diana is based on the gowns worn by the women archers in the 1823 painting Meeting of the Royal British Bowmen, 1823. It can be worn in the colours of the club, or turned into a lovely walking ensemble for an afternoon promenade or, with the right choice of fabrics, into a delightful ball gown.
Taken from 'Meeting of the Royal British Bowmen, 1823'

Charlotte is based on early 1820s full dress (evening gown), with a number of variations for the bodice neckline and different trims, you can create your very own gown to suit your needs and fabric choices.

These gowns will be available as separate patterns, Diana and Charlotte, or you can 'mix-n-match' to create a different gown altogether!

Pre-order available very soon, get on the mailing list to be the first in the know!


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.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A 1920s Robe de Style

From my 1920s Pinterest board
I adore the 20s Robe de Style gowns, they hark back to the 18th century pannier gowns and they have a waist and hips.

I decided to make one for this year's Blue Mountains Roaring Twenties and All That Jazz festival this February.

My friend Sam gave me a copy of Draping a Magic Dance Gown from 1928. Now who wouldn't want to make a 'magic' dance gown!

I decided to use it as my guide to make my own dance gown as it has all of the elements of a Robe de Style. I intended wearing the gown to the Tango Evening at The Parragon Cafe in Katoomba.

I didn't chart my progress I'm afraid, but I followed the guide faithfully and here is my result.

My fabric was a silk chiffon saree for the over gown and the under gown was a 'gold' lame for the bodice and a beautiful blue silk for the skirt, all from the fabric stash.

Good photo of gown, shame my eyes are shut though!
I used pink netting, also from the stash, to make my panniers, that was the only deviation I made from the instructions.
 I loved the way it turned out, finally a 20s gown that I enjoy wearing!
Tangoing badly, lol!
Eyes open this time.

I love the gown, its fun to wear and I love the huge hips the pannier's provide. I know, I'm weird!

An 1813 cloak for Jane Austen Festival Australia 2013

I'm making an 1813 cloak for Jane Austen Festival Australia 2013 challenge, which is to create an outfit to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice.

I've been in love with the gorgeous blue cloak on the left since I found it and pinned it to my 1813 Pinterest board. I love everything about it, the shape, especially the pointed front, its colours, the embroidery, its so stylish, so I am replicating the design for the challenge.

First challenge was to figure out how the shape was created, its not a simple circle, the water colour doesn't show any seams, so really, its all guesstimate informed with period construction.

My Jean Hunniset book has been fabulous an gave me the period cloak shape to use. The triangle points at the top can be extended to create the style I am after. This cape is one from the early 19th century and therefore totally possible to use for 1813.

The back has a lovely curve that I can also emulate, I cant see the back of the Ackerman's water colour, but it does curve up towards the back, so I can use this detail happily.

I drafted my toile from the above pattern, elongating the front and back pieces and this is what I got.
Look at that, its an almost exact replica, very pleased.

Here's one with the hood toile included, used a different pattern for the hood, still from Jean Hunnisett, but the type used by the fashionable red cloaks of the period with the pleated centre.

So toile done, now to get into the fashion fabric ...

Fashion fabric
The cotton velvet is much harder to work with than the calico of course, but the results are so pretty.
I love this fabric, the lining is a floral cotton.
With hood pined on, hood lined in silk taffeta
Back view
Front view with hood
Trimming pinned on for hand stitching
Hand stitching trim
Its coming together, now I need to hand stitch down the trim, and the hood and embellish it.
As the cloak is hand stitched I had issues with velvet on velvet that doesn't happen with my Pfaff with its integrated walking foot. This was much more noticeable when I was attaching the pink velvet trim, the velvets kept on 'walking and buckling, argh!

Attaching the hood

I pleated the cloak's neck, it could have been cartridge pleated or gathered, all three are appropriate for the period. I gathered the cloak's velvet hood and then pinned and hand stitched down. I should have gathered the hood of lining and fashion fabric first, d'oh, so I did that next while I had access.
Gathered end of hood, this could have been cartridge pleated as well

Adding the cover to hide the pleats, I created a kind-of Suffolk Puff

Repeated with silk lining

Covering the gathers
Hood silk lining covers the seams and was hand stitched down.

Ribbon ties
The cloak is very heavy so to ensure my ribbon ties stay attached I used 2 metres of ribbon and stitched it around the the outside neck of the cloak. I doubt this is period, but it will work.

The original water colour has what looks to be embroidery of roses and leaves all around the cape, this is way too complicated for my minimalist embroidery skills and the time available. So I bought pre-made pink roses on green leaves made of ribbon. These weren't cheap, $A5.99 for 6 pieces, ouch! Needs must however and I bought them and stitched to the pink trim. I bought 6 packets, not enough to replicate the Ackerman's profusion, but all that were available. Here's the results.

I will 'gather ye rosebuds' (sorry couldn't resist!) and attach them when they have been restocked to properly replicate the Ackerman watercolour embellishment, but I am very pleased with my reproduction of the cloak.

The #Historical Sew Fortnight Challenge 'just the facts mam'
The Challenge: Embellish. Reproduction of an 1813 Ackerman's water colour fashion drawing
Fabric: cotton velvet, cotton printed lining and silk for the hood lining
Jean Hunniset book has been fabulous an gave me the period cloak shape to use
Year: 1813
How historically accurate is it: as accurate as I could make it, hand stitched, fabrics are natural, pattern is of the time period.
Hours to complete: Two weeks
First worn: not worn yet, next week at the Jane Austen Festival Australia
Total cost: about $90 for blue velvet, pink velet from stash, plus ~$60'ish' for trimmings