Jane Austen Festival Costuming – first attempt

In the summer of 2017 I attended my first Louisville Jane Austen festival.  If you have any interest in costuming or Jane Austen you really must go.  It is a weekend filled with workshops, speakers, teas, a fashion show, vendors with period appropriate items and a lot of people in period appropriate clothing (or at least trying to be).  I had already made a few Regency style ball gowns for myself and my daughter. but now we needed day dresses and bonnets. A proper woman of the period would not go out in public with bare arms or head uncovered.

I decided I could add sleeve extensions to the first dress I made for myself that was a plain cotton with simple sleeveless pelisse and  my daughter’s ball gown could serve double duty with sleeve extensions and a sleeveless pelisse. (see right)

We also needed bonnets.

Without much time I started researching and bought a few pieces that I thought could be adapted for period appropriate use.

I was wrong. 

The first try, which matched my pelisse seemed OK, but just not close enough. The front view didn’t work

I decided to try with the larger brimmed pieces, creating a short crown out of a heavy buckram (which my local fabric store had very little of), and decorated.  I liked the look better and because of time limitations wore them, but wasn’t really thrilled with the final look.


From the front I think I was OK, but from the back it didn’t work at all.  The brim wasn’t stiff enough and I should have trimmed off some of the back ends.  

And I didn’t have time to create a crown for my daughter so she just wore a decorated brim, not historically accurate at all.

While we were close on many levels I knew I had a lot to learn.

The Louisville festival is just two weeks away and I have been busy creating new dresses, ball gowns, bonnets, and a parasol.  Look at my other posts to follow along, but here is a little preview.

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