On Saturday the 14th of September I woke up with the conviction that no matter what happened I would smile the entire day. I would not give myself a single moment to process the fact that today would mean that I was less than 48 hours from the moment I would stand at security and cry as I hugged my friends goodbye at Heathrow.
I decided that for this event I wanted something special and decided to tackle a project I have wanted to do for nearly two years. My spencer is fashioned after the one worn by Louise of Prussia. It is the first time I have ever used proper tailoring methods and I now have a great respect for pad stitching. My bonnet was created last February for the Keetje Hodshon Regency Ball in Haarlem by the magnificent Lynn McMasters with a few feathers added on top by yours truly.
I started off the morning with an interview by a Japanese morning show being televised live in Tokyo. I thrilled the reporter by replying in my rusty Japanese. I was then borrowed for another interview for a morning show in Bath. During the promenade I took immense pleasure in photo-bombing tourist photos, especially throwing up the peace sign with Japanese tourist who nearly fainted in shock.
After the promenade a man remarked that I looked like Lydia Bennet rushing off towards the soldiers, I countered by saying that I was indeed Fanny Price searching for Edmund. A complete stranger stopped and turned around to say ‘My dear there is no way you could be plain Fanny, you are Mary Crawford without the attitude’. As a Jane Austen devotee (especially to Mansfield Park) this is one of the most touching compliments I have ever received and I will carry it with me. I was utterly taken aback (in the most positive of ways) and a friend had to make apologies for my sudden loss of speech and thank her for me.
Through friends I was able to find photos of me on three major news websites including The Guardian which I am completely tickled and honoured by. The most amazing moment was when I poured myself a cup of smoky earl grey from my dwindling stock of Fortnum & Mason tea jar and settled down on Flickr to peruse the photos.
Words cannot describe my utter shock at finding so many photos of myself (especially the ones with the little girls. I LOVE photos with children). The best moment came when I came across the page of Steve Wassell ( All rights reserved by fat-freddies-cat ). I don’t want to use the word shy (because I am definitely not) but I am usually very aware of my smile because when I am happy I have the tendency to grin very wide. But to see this photo and see how happy I was reflected in my eyes is completely priceless. Mr. Wassell, I am unsure if you will ever see this but I cannot find the words to thank you enough for the gift you have given me. You have allowed me a form of closure, I am able to look back on this weekend and recognize it for the truly magical time it was. I was fortunate enough to have been able to spend my last few days with my dearest and closest friends before flying off with a smile on my heart and in my eyes.
1 chemisette, 1 pelisse, 2 pair of stays, 2 parasols, 2 petticoats, 2 spencers, 4 bonnets, 4 pair of gloves, 4 reticules, 5 pair of shoes, 6 fans, 7 gowns plus a small suitcase of jewelry. It’s Jane Austen Festival time in Bath!
L’abito che porterò al ballo di aprile sarà così. <3
Thank you for the kind comments but I would like to make sure that the proper person is given credit for this image. I owe a debt of gratitude to Owen Benson from Owen Benson Visuals for this photo taken of me during the Jane Austen Festival Masquerade Ball in Bath.
When I received my invitation to the Hampshire Regency Dancers Ball I only read two lines before I decided I had to attend:
'As Jane Austen wrote in 'Pride & Prejudice' “Do not you feel a great inclination, Miss Bennet, to seize such an opportunity of dancing a reel?”
Where better to dance a reel & celebrate the 200th anniversary of the novel than at this year’s Hampshire Regency Dancers Ball’.
An amusing thing happened late Saturday night. I had just finished the Swiss Allemande and was dancing down the dark hallway in search of a glass of water when I heard someone behind me gasp. I turned around to find the head of the house at the end of the hallway staring at me with his hand over his heart as if he has seen a ghost. I finally broke the silence to enquire if he was alright as he was quite pale but this caused him to step back against the wall. Very worried I walked towards him which seemed to alarm him greatly. Then I realized that in my white gown in the darkened hallway of Chawton House I must have looked like the ghost that was haunting the home. Which I of course took as a grand compliment! I wanted to achieve a floating gossamer feel for the ball. While making this gown I frequently practiced the Duke of Kent’s Waltz to ensure that it floated properly.
My evening gown is a direct copy of the following fashion plate (click the link): 1817- Ackermann’s Repository Series2 Vol 3 - April Issue
I am so proud of all of my friends who were able to participate in this gorgeous event!
For more information on The Netherfield Ball (for those with access to BBC2 it’s on right now!) please click me.
Today is the 200th birthday of Pride and Prejudice! I am so proud to be able to live in the UK and celebrate this momentous occasion!
I feel it would be a little unfair to use an Etsy photo without explaining what it is and who it belongs too. I have an Etsy addiction, as a creator I feel it’s much better to buy something handmade and original than to buy something mass produced. These little journals are a perfect example of why! I must admit I am quite taken with their beauty, originality, and their price! I am a huge fan of the P&P cover (which I am hoping will still be there by the end of the day as I am very much in love with it) but also of the London cover (and now I am n love with the Juliet cover).
As a regular participant of Regency dancing and a firm costumer of the early 19th I want to wish you all a very Austen day! I hope that no matter where you are in this vast world, the beauty of the written word continues to inspire you. I hope your day is happy and filled with joy and I send love to you all.
So my friend messaged me and said I was on the gift shop page for the Jane Austen Centre and I though right, like that could ever be me. I went to the page fully prepared to correct him and nearly knocked my tea cup over!!
Oh my gosh it is me!!!
I owe a debt of gratitude to Owen Benson from Owen Benson Visuals for this photo taken of me during the Jane Austen Festival Masquerade Ball in Bath.
On Monday I decided I had to go to the London MCM Expo | London Comic Con. I pulled out my sewing machine and went to work.
I present: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
I came, I saw, and zombies were slain. Give me a few hours to wipe the brains off my katana and I will post a making guide on The Mended Soul.