In preparation for the Jane Austen Festival, I've dived into making a few accessories for myself.
Every proper Regency lady must wear a bonnet and gloves when going out of the house. So, I started with the Mantua-Maker fingerless mittens.
They were very easy to make. I hand stitched them in only an hour and a half. The only issues I had with the pattern were sizing ones. It would seem that my arms are slightly longer than the normal person (odd, since I'm so short), so I had to lengthen the pattern 2". I also had to take in the width of the glove along the long seam of the arm about 1/2"....though it fit quite nicely across the palm of my hand. I guess that means I have wide hands?? I also discovered...oddly...that one of my thumbs is shorter than the other!!! Weird, huh! I had to turn under the hem on that thumb one more time than the other one....
Here they are. The lining is done with scrap fabric from my regency gown, so that it matches my ensemble. The outer fabric is a fine, cool linen. Perfect for keeping the summer sun from turning my skin brown and course, right.
And speaking of summer sun, one must have a fan to keep cool! I bought this one for only $2.50 at Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc. You can find their link in my side-bar. If I have time, I might paint a scene or design on the fan.
I have been thinking for a while now about what sort of hat I would like to wear. I might make a turban or some sort of feathered bandeau for the Regency Ball in the evening, but for the daytime, I thought a nice, simple straw or braided bonnet would be perfect. I really am drawn to the Capote style of bonnet. There are a few nice examples in the fashion plate above; the first two ladies in the top row, and the first lady in the bottom row are sporting Capote styles.
Kate Winslet wears a beautifully simple one in Sense and Sensibility.
I looked at several hat sites online and just didn't find much that I thought looked authentic enough for me. Just call me a Regency snob, I know... So, what did I do...I made my own, of course. I found some lovely hemp straw braid at The-Dressmakers-Shop that resembles period correct braiding. It cost me about $10 for an 18yrd. roll of braid.
I've never made a hat before, but, fortunately for me, I am blessed to know an amazing Milliner named Polly Singer, of Couture-Hats-and-Veils. She sat down with me, loaned me her "head" as she called it (I had always thought it was called a hat form). She showed me how to get started, twisting and pinning the braid, and molding it into the desired shape. I ended up sewing the braid together by hand. I think it lends it a more authentic look...but that could just be me trying to make the mistakes sound as if they were meant to be there! The above picture is what it looked like when I brought it home from Polly's studio.
Here's the bonnet after a couple hours of work. I was beginning to be a bit worried that it wasn't turning out to be the right shape. So, at this point, I took it off the hat form...erm...head...and just free styled it from then on.
Here are a few images of the finished hat.
If I had it to do over, I think I would make it a bit longer in the brim, and maybe a bit long along the side too, so that it covered more of my hair and ears. I like how it turned out, but you know what they say about an artist being their own worst critic.... I might try to find some of that beautiful lacy looking straw trim, like on Marianne's bonnet to finish off the hat. Or, I might use a few ribbons to spice it up a bit, but I don't think that I want to over-do it. What do you think? Any suggestions for trim? Does it pass as a Capote style bonnet?