Accessorizing: Hat or bandeau; feathers, ribbons or scarf

Since my late 1790's gown is nearly finished (I only have the sleeves and hem to do), I've lately been dreaming about accessorizing.  The only problem is, I mostly have to work with what I've got because I'm currently on a shoe string budget.  I did manage to scrounge up recently some gorgeous ribbon, and antique clasps at a local vintage antique store.  That will be my only purchase for this outfit this year (remember the fabric was bought last year ) I will have to make do.  I'm not too worried, because the gown itself is the show piece.  A little splash of color here or there will make it pop.

I bought this shawl at last year's Jane Austen Festival. It's gorgeous, and I plan on using it again this year.  The good news, other than that it's gorgeous and I love it, is that it matches the color of the ribbons I purchased (without even thinking about it).  It doesn't surprise me that they match, because I'm almost always drawn toward jeweled, or peacock toned clothing and accessories....teal, jade green, peacock 'em.

The other item I have to work with is my late 1790's capote bonnet that I made last year.  I will wear the bonnet during the day of the festival, but will probably come up with some sort of bandeau or ribbon to wrap around my hair (and maybe a feather or two?) for the ball.  I don't want the capote to look exactly like it did then, so I will remove all of the brown ribbon that I hastily put on, and have a clean slate to work with.  I've been browsing several fashion plates to get some inspiration for the trimmings.

Here's one (sorry it's not very to see a close-up view), second from the left.  It's decorated with a simple wide ribbon and a sprig of flowers is attached to the top, right side.

I like the first one on the top, left in this plate.  The simplicity of the white ribbon wrapped several times around and tied at the back, bottom edge really intrigues me.

While I don't like the enormous bouquet of flowers perched at the edge of the bonnet, I DO love the wide spread of fabric, draped almost scarf-like around the hat.  I might be able to use a bit of my lawn fabric that's left over to achieve this look.

Finally, this one, I've been contemplating using a scarf to hold the hat onto my head, and this one (top left) would be the manner in which I would do it.

Here are my cast of characters (minus the bit of lawn I could use as a scarf-like material).  I could use any, all, or none of these items for my hat and bandeau.  The fun will be in deciding how to put it all together.

The silk scarf above is one that my sister-in-law brought back from India and gave to me a few years ago.  I was thinking of using it as the bandeau for the ball, along with these feathers.  It's long and rectangular, so I don't think it would work as a scarf for the hat.

And finally, if I use ribbons on my hat, I will probably use the wide ones above.  I think I will save the thin, silk ones (bought from Burnley-and-Trowbridge ) to use as a belt around my gown. 

I'm a little bit afraid that the vintage buckles I bought to use as a faux belt buckle might be too heavy to use on the silk ribbons, but surely I can rig up something and make it work, right!

I'm looking forward to playing around with my accessories, and of course, I'll be sure to share the results with all of you!


Pretty Things said…
that bonnet is absolutely stunning, very jealous of you talents, everything looks beautiful so far, can't wait to see the finished product

Sarah Jane said…
Your accessories definitely look like they will make the dress pop! They are lovely, and wonderful colors. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

I am likewise trying to acessorize on a shoestring budget. Just from reenacting the 1860's, I know all too well how lack of accessorizing or improper accessorizing can really scream out "costume"! Yet proper acessories; the right proportion in the right materials and right style, can make a plain outfit look as if it came from a period image (in "our" era it was cdv's and glass plates; here it would be paintings/fashion plates)

I feel sooooo lost when it comes to all this and appreciate so much your detailed posts on your research, decisions and construction of the different parts of your ensemble!

I was wondering about your shawl; what would a correct size/style be for this era? I have a black wool paisley shawl for 1860's reenacting with bright primary colors on it (very gaudy in the 60's fashion) but I don't know if it would work, or if I would want it to work. :P
Jenni said…
Pretty Things - Thank you very much!

Sarah Jane - I am certainly not an expert yet when it comes to accessories. Basically, I look at fashion plates and paintings, and I combine what I see there, with what I know about popular fabrics and colors of the time. As for shawls, I would like to see a picture of yours before I comment on it. I do know that they had everything from square to rectangular shaped shawls. Some were large, others were thin, almost like really long scarves. And there was a variety of ways to wear them. Just look at the first image at this post and you will see what I mean. Wool would have been used, as was silk. Paisley was in, but I'm not sure exactly what kind of paisley, as I know that it differs from decade to decade. Colors: well, think along the lines of rich tones that can be made from natural burnt umber, mustard yellow, dark teal, cobalt blue, turkish red, emerald green, etc. Also think about silk Indian Sari prints, like mine...those would make great options. You might search around on the S&S site to see if anyone has posted about shawls...I know one lady was selling some gorgeous ones last summer. They were expensive, but even if you can't afford them, they might give you a good idea of what to look for.
Sarah Jane said…
Thanks for your reply, advice and encouragement Jenni! I have been looking around at various sites with fashion plates and trying to get a general idea of the right shape, colors and design to look for. From what I've read about the paisley shawls of the early 19th century, I don't think mine is going to work. :( The paisleys are longer and curvier and the design is too busy with no real open "ground space" in the middle. That's okay though, since I really want a long rectangular shawl. Something simple and basic and everyday-ish, not high fashion.

I think I have a few ideas but need to do some more research. If I can come up with a shawl with materials I have already, it will save money. I'm seeing a few shawls at Vintage Textile that look to be no more than strips of fabric with decorative borders/edging and fringe, and some have seperate borders which seems piecing two fabrics together might be okay. . . David has a certain amount set aside for our clothes and the trip, so the more I can pinch on our clothing here, the more we'll have to shop around with at the festival! :)

Would fine silk shawls be worn more with silk or fancier dresses? My dresses are NOT going to be fancy so that was one thing I was concerned about. I was thinking lightweight wool might be more universal, so I could wear it with my humble cottons as well as a nicer dress if someday I decide to make/can afford one.
Jenni said…
Sarah, You are certainly on the right track....yes, a long thin rectangular shawl, with decorative border would look fabulous....and yes, I think that silk would be a bit more fancy. Wool would be great, or even, I think, maybe linen would work...I've seen some fashion plates, like the 6th picture on this post, that mention linen as an option (in this case it was the fabric wrapped around the capote.)
Nabila Grace said…
Oh goodness I LOVE those colors too and oh the unending options! I can't wait to see how you end up decorating it! :o) I know it's going to be beautiful!

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