Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Louisville Jane Austen Festival

Hello everyone!  Long time, no talk!  In the weeks leading up to the Jane Austen Festival, I feverishly sewed quite a lot, and in the weeks after, I completely crashed from all of the stress.  Finally I'm getting on my feet again!  With all of the stress that Jane Fest brought, it was immensely fun and worth all of the work.

The weekend began with an early morning drive to Louisville in order to drop off two pairs of trousers and one waistcoat for my dear friend Julia at Bingley's Teas.  After that we wondered around for a bit and finally ended up at the home of our dear friends, Brian and Amy, who were hosting my dear Regency sister, Erica.  We sat around, sewed a bit, and ate pizza until we were ready to Twilight Shop.  I wasn't feeling well so I didn't think I wanted to dress out for the shopping... but about 1 hour until showtime I made the snap decision to dress out anyway!  Monsieur Stay-Lacer Brian aided in my dressing and we went and shopped until we dropped.

Mr. Cushing has many talents. Photo by Amy Liebert.

Saturday brought lots of fun!  We spent most of the day practicing our first-person impressions with Brian and Amy, which was quite fun.  I wore a new gown based off of this original from the Bath Fashion Museum:

I decided to shorten the waistband and make the skirt flat-fronted in order for it to be suited for a time closer to 1815 than 1820.

I accessorized with the bonnet I made in Lydia Fast's workshop, with added cherry blossoms.  Photo by Reva Shottenstein.

There was a light rain in the afternoon, so I covered my bonnet with my wool shawl, courtesy of Maggie :) Photo by Janet Abell

Mr. Loomis had a grand old time, getting to join the boys at the Hellfire Club (don't worry, we had our own inaugural meeting of the Sweet Angels Temperance Society) and serving Mr. Cushing as his second in the duel!  We finished the evening with a fun get-together at Brian and Amy's, watching Blackadder and playing Question and Answers.

For Sunday, I refashioned the first Regency gown I made.  I was just a novice seamstress when I had made that gown and it was no longer indicative of my skill as a seamstress.  I threw it into a corner of my closet and vowed never to wear it again.  

Not only was it an earlier style than the period I currently portray, but it also had some crazy horrible stitching, an accidentally unlined back, and overall clumsy construction.

In my scramble to get gowns ready for the festival, I saw this original on Pinterest, and I was absolutely taken.  I knew I needed to make it, and my old gown was the perfect canvas to start on.

I essentially tore the gown apart, recut the bodice, added piping to the skirt, changed the sleeves, and put it back together.  Then, in a moment of blind faith, I threw it into a dyepot and prayed!  And I LOVE IT!

Photo by Jessica Bagley.  The hat was purchased from Lydia Fast on Friday night, and worked perfectly with the gown!  Maggie, again, helped me out and made the ruff for me to wear.

All in all, we had the greatest time.  It's hard to express how dear this event is to my heart, and I can't wait for next year!

With love and care,
Mifs. M. Alexander

photo by Dale Matthews

photo by Janet Abell


  1. Hi there Melissa! I just wanted to say how fabulous your Regency creations are, especially those hats!! And, your refashioned dress is absolutely, positively STUNNING! Love, love, love.
    Keep inspiring us, Anneliese :)

    1. Thank you! Unfortunately the only hat of my creation was the pink and yellow, I haven't the skill for the straw. The woman who made that is an artist and I'm happy to wear her art whenever! Thank you for your compliments :)