Historical Sew Fortnightly: Challenge #14: Eastern Infulence and The Jane Austen Festival

The Dreamstress hosts Challenge #14 of the Historical Sew Fortnightly Event: Eastern Influence.  My take on this was to make an early 1800's, Regency style Sari Gown, out of a vintage sari that I bought at last year's Jane Austen Festival, and to wear the gown to this year's Jane Austen Festival.  Every year, the festival is hosted by the Louisville chapter of JASNA. and it's splendid!

"Sari" gown, inspiration #1.

  Of course, the word EMPIRE, in empire gown, stems from what some would call the height of England's Empire, or control over most of the world.

"Sari" gown, inspiration #2.

Not only were spices and exotic foods being brought back from India during the Empire era, but so were textiles and jewelry.

"Sari" gown, inspiration #3.

The sari's brought back home to England were made into gorgeous gowns, shawls, and capes.

This stole, made from what I'm assuming is sari fabric, is from The National Trust Collection.

Portrait of Mrs. Harrison Gray Otis (Sally), by Edward Malbone, 1804.

For my gown, I used a vintage, green sari, with an elaborate dark blue and gold floral border, and with flecks of silver thread dotted throughout.  The design was drafted by me, and was an amalgamation of a few different gowns, but the portrait above was what truly inspired me.

The gown is done in a crossover style, and I used a pair of 1920's blue "sapphire" and "diamond" (not real) shoe clips to decorate the gathered part of the bodice, just as the portrait above does.

Portrait of Madame Thérèse Vestris - 1803, Le Brun.

This portrait influenced how I finished off the sleeves, and how I wore my chemisette at the festival this year (although my chemisette sleeves were a bit of a disaster, wonky and sliding all over the place around my arm - you will see in the photos from the festival.)

I purchased these silver buttons at Burnley and Trowbridge, and used only two, because my gathered sleeve wasn't as wide as the one in the portrait.

A close up of the shoe clip.  You can also see here the dots of silver thread shot through the silk.

Portrait of Madame Visconti, by Gérard François Pascal Simon, 1810.

The above gown also has similar sleeves, but the deep v-shaped back of the bodice inspired the back of my gown.

I hand sewed all of my gown, and put tucks in the back of the bodice.  It's a shame I can't see this when I wear the gown, because it's my favorite part!  The funny thing is, the back is where I had the most problems when I wore the gown this past weekend.  The fabric stretched a bit in the heat and humidity (and probably because of my sweat!)  You can see where it is warped and buckled a bit.  The right side annoyingly slipped off my shoulder over and over again the entire day.  I think the solution will be to pull in the right back panel, so that it is tighter across my back.

The family portrait, taken at this year's Jane Austen Festival.  Me wearing my new Sari Gown.  
(More festival pictures below.)

Just the Facts:

The Challenge: Eastern Influence, early 1800's Sari Gown

Fabric: Vintage silk sari.

Pattern: Draped by me.

Year: circa 1800-1810

Notions: Silk thread, 4 silver buttons, two identical shoe clips or pins, and a pin to hold together the front crossover bodice.

How historically accurate is it? I would say 100%...fabric, style, techniques, hand sewn, etc.

First worn: At the Louisville Jane Austen Festival last weekend.

Total cost:  Fabric was from my stash, but was bought last year for $50...plus notions (shoe clips bought a couple of years ago)...about $75 total.

~~~~~~~~~~~~More Festival Pictures Below~~~~~~~~~~~~

The crew: Laura, Carson, Jane, Me, Natalie and Polly.

(Notice my wonky sleevil!)

A few more fabulous shots of the festival...including some people that captured my eye, as well as Laura's.  Laura was our own personal paparazzi.  I didn't bring my camera, so all of the shots below are thanks to her!

*Bingley's Teas - YUM!*

*The VEIL!!!!!!*

*There were many more handsome, dashing, Regency attired gentlemen at this year's festival than I've seen in the past.*

*The GORGEOUS interior of Locust Grove.*

*May we have Sedan Chairs in real life, please?*


melissamary said…
It was great seeing you again! The sari gown turned out wonderfully :)
Aawww, I was (impatiently) waiting for your pictures from the Jane Austen Festival. Thank you very much for sharing. Such a lot of vendors, it must have been fun to see all their displayed goods.
Lovely dress - the pleated back looks amazing!
Jenni said…
Melissa, it was great to see you too! Although, there is never enough time to talk...we are all so busy rushing around to see everything and everyone. :)

Sabine, thank you! It would have bee lovely if you could have been there!
ZipZip said…
Dear Jenni,

This is one of my favorite dresses among those you've made so far. It's original but true to the period, very flattering on you, and beautifully made. Can't wait until you wear it again!

We didn't get near enough time together; festivals seem to pull people in so many directions. I hadn't learned how to use my camera, either, so have very few photos. So glad Laura was willing to play paparazza!


The Dreamstress said…
You look gorgeous, and the sari gown is just beautiful! Such a fabulous colour of green! I'm so envious of the festival - how wonderful to live somewhere with all those historical costumers and enthusiasts!

I can't be sure without seeing it in person, and reading its provenance, but I suspect the 'stole' might be an Indian wedding shawl. They tended to be re-used over generations, so it's quite possible that despite its early 19th century dating, that wasn't when it arrived in the UK at all.
Kvet said…
Your green fabric is really lovely :)

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