Sunday, May 25, 2014

Regency Costume Inspiration: Sense and Sensibility (1995)

I've managed to reduce over 800 screencaps from Longbourn's Jane Austen screencaps down to ten that best represent the look I'm going for. My main idea is for a summer picnic ensemble, hopefully to wear to the Time Travelers Picnic I want to host this summer (historical or futuristic garb encouraged but not required!). In this post, I'll share the photos and notes. In a subsequent post, I'll share period inspiration.

Sisters, amirite?
This is a good shot of pretty much the main idea. Marianne (right) is wearing a sheer 3/4-sleeve dress that I would like to recreate. Elinor (left) is wearing a similar sheer dress with an overgown that is open in the front and fastens under the bust. You can see that it is fitted in the back down to underbust level. Both ladies wear simple straw hats (Marianne's is more like a bonnet) with ribbon decoration. I like the idea of decorating mine with feathers. I already have a crappy, long-hated straw hat I'm going to repurpose into something I can hopefully wear with joy.

This is a good view of the fronts of both underdress and overgown. I noted this screencap for the even pleating detail on the shoulders and bodice of Elinor's overgown.

I love me some Colonel Brandon.
This is a good view of the dress in motion. It looks like Marianne has blue unders on beneath the sheer gown. I haven't decided on a color for my ensemble yet and the contrary side of me wants to keep it a surprise until the picnic, only posting in-progress photos in black and white!

Pretty sure Colonel Brandon was my first crush.
A full-length view of the dress. You can tell she's wearing a couple petticoats. I will be making a bodiced petticoat with possibly two skirt layers. A bodiced petticoat is essentially a high-waisted sleeveless garmet with straps that provides coverage and modesty over the chemise and stays on top and bottom, under the dress.

Another good view of the overgown. I amazingly couldn't find a screencap of the fastenings, but in watching the movie again, it looks like it fastens in center front with buttons.

A 3/4 view of Marianne's nearly-identical overgown. Hers seems to fasten with hooks and eyes. The pleating on her shoulders looks narrower and concentrated farther out on the shoulder. I think I like that technique better. It seems less bulky that way. The fabric of Marianne's overgown seems thinner than Elinor's, so it probably lends itself well to smaller pleats, whereas Elinor's would need wider pleats sewn down at the edge as well to lay flat. We also see Marianne's other hat with floofy feathers. Usually I'm not a floofy person but I kinda like it!

Willoughby! Boo-hiss!
She wears her open overdress over a sheer dress as well, over white underpinnings. 

I included this to show her shoe(s). It's a slipper, like the Highbury slippers at American Duchess. (Yes, I plug other people's stuff! I have a pair of "Gettysburg" Civil War boots from American Duchess and my shopping experience was easy peasy, the boots are amazing, and I have heard nothing but good things of Lauren, so I will plug them for sure!) This scene may have been set up with slippers rather than boots (like the "Hartfield" boot) so it was easier for Willoughby to pull off her shoe and inspect Marianne's injured ankle, but I take it to mean that slippers are fine for a picnic and outdoor games. Especially if you are like me and very unladylike and prone to run barefoot.

It's hard to see in this screencap, but in the movie as the camera pans and Elinor moves slightly, it looks to me like she is wearing long stays. I am making long stays as well. I prefer them to short stays for posture and for back support. I have found several blogs with tutorials to draft your own Regency stays, but I have opted to use the 1820-1840 corset pattern from The Fashionable Past. It's a bit late, since Sense and Sensibility was published in 1811, but it fits the silhouette and the look and comfort I desire.

Marianne is wearing underpants in this shot, possibly to avoid a wardrobe malfunction while falling down the hill, since women didn't really start wearing them until early Victorian era, if I remember correctly. Feel free to set me straight! I plan on making underpants to wear too, because, well, unladylike behavior!

In Progress So Far:
— Short-sleeved chemise in white muslin, drafted and modified from the Elizabethan Smock Generator, since chemise form and construction didn't change very much, and the generator has never steered me wrong in the several times I've used it.
— Long stays in white twill and white muslin. So far I have resized the pattern and cut the mockup out of an old pillowcase.

(Work at a hotel or make friends with someone who does. Take thrown-out linens. I haven't bought fabric for mockups in almost three years, and as long as you're okay with poly/cotton, you can make beautiful "real" pieces too! I have garbage bags full of white poly/cotton sheets and duvet covers I can't wait to cannibalize and dye into lovely pieces.)

Onward, home to make more coffee and sew more! I found the S&S soundtrack on YouTube and I've been playing that until I can get the CD from Amazon as musical inspiration. The track "Miss Grey" is one of the songs from the ball and it makes me want to dance every time! I found a great website for Regency Dances and I REALLY want to try them!


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