Yesterday we celebrated Sweden’s national day here. Now, this celebration is not for most people a particularly big one, nowhere near the size the 4th of July is in the USA for example. But eager for any chance to dress in nice and special clothes, I decided to wear my national costume as we went to a town not far from where I live to attend some small festivity there. It is not often I have the chance really to wear a national costume, but even so it is in many ways a very practical outfit. Because it can be worn at any time! It’s just not so common. It is a dress that you can use for more “everyday” occurrences as well as parties, weddings and even the Nobel Prize banquet, if one happens to be there.
There wasn’t a great number of people about in national costumes, but at least my mom, my grandmother and I wore them. Here is a picture of us; three generations in traditional Swedish dress.
There are many different variations of these costumes in Sweden. Every area has its own. The one I wore is from the area of Sundborn. My mom wore one from the area of Värend, and my grandmother’s is from Norrbotten (the very north of Sweden!).
We all received several positive comments on our outfits, which is always fun!
As we know Jane unfortunately did not live to a very rip old age. She died at the age of 41 and had “only” time to write six complete novels. But, since the six novels that she wrote are all of them classified as some of the greatest literary pieces ever written that’s not really anything to call “only”. But still, when you have read all of those books (and all of her shorter and unfinished work that you have been able to get hold of) and still haven’t had enough, then what do you do? In my case the answer appeared in many different forms. Of course there are all the films to be watched (again and again and again), places to be visited and other books to be read. Books about her, about the time when she lived and books by authors that have been inspired by her.
One such author is Georgette Heyer. Ms Heyer lived between 1902 and 1974 and she has written over 30 Regency novels. She has not only written books set in that era, but those are the only once I have read. I came across her books for the first time when I was in a bookstore in Switzerland; the covers with their Empire line dresses caught my eye at once. I have only read a minority of her books so far, but the ones I have read have all been more than usually delightful. She writes with a great sense of humor and a lot of knowledge of the era she is writing about. In a way I would probably have to say that I have learnt more about the details of Regency life from her books than I have from Jane Austen’s novels. Because Jane’s books are well known for not containing much detail on such matters as fashion, politics and in general what was going on at that time. Ms Heyer’s books do though.
They are all romances and are all filled with amusing and likable characters. I would highly recommend them to all those who like me can’t get enough of the world of evening balls, long elegant dresses, gentlemen in top hats, wonderful letters, exquisite language such as you never encounter nowadays and everything else which we love about the world Jane Austen lived in.
Here are a few of the books I have read. The first one Cotillion is my favourite. It is a lovely story, and the hero is one of the most charming ones I’ve ever encountered!
A few of the other books that I have read are: The Reluctant Widow, The Grand Sophy and April Lady. All of them most delightful and charming.
I am writing this post in honor of my very dear friend Miss L. who on this day is turning 18 years of age! I met my friend for the first time 7 1/2 years ago now, and ever since the first day we have been great friends! We have shared many fun (and sometimes less fun) experiences over the years!
Like me, my friend is a fan of classics, costume dramas, beautiful old-fashioned clothes and everything else in that field, and we often have long delightful conversations on these topics! And not only conversations by the way, here is a picture of the two of us dressed up in our Regency dresses enjoying a delicious afternoon tea!
Enjoying a delicious Regency afternoon tea!
So, I wanted to take the opportunity here of wishing you a marvelously happy birthday my dear! Your friendship means so much to me!
I have several plans and ideas about things I would like this blog to contain in the future. One such idea that I have in mind is to have a feature on the sidebar dedicated to various Jane Austen/Regency style events happening in the world. I know that there are a lot of such things (like balls, teas, festivals etc, etc) going on at different places. During my travels for example I stayed for some months in California, San Diego more precisely, and I came to understand that there is a lot happening there. I didn’t have the pleasure of attending any Jane Austen events during my time there, but I did go to a couple of lovely Victorian Balls!
With my family on the way to a ball in San Diego
Personally I am always on the look out for anything within this field and would myself greatly appreciate such a list. But of course; I don’t know about everything that is happening everywhere, so if you, who read this know of something; like a ball, dance, tea, festival, reenactment or anything else in a similar style, please, please tell me about it!
I thought I should share with you some pictures of the Regency style clothes I have made for myself so far. I will begin with the first such dress I made.
At first I found the fashion and the style of this era to be a little… well… weird. At least the ladies dresses. But that was before I became a true Jane Austen fan. Since then I have not only become used to the way the dresses looked at that time but I have also grown to love the simple, yet so elegant look that was in fashion during the time of Jane Austen’s life.
I first came up with the idea that I wanted to make my own Regency gown in 2006. I began at once to search the internet for some pattern I could use. And that’s when I came across this: www.sensibility.com. This is a wonderful website that not only sells patterns for Regency era garments (and several other eras too); they also offer online classes for several of the patterns. And then there is also a most lovely forum! It is mainly supposed to be focusing on historical sewing, but even if that is not something you think is for you there is also a lot of discussion going on about books (like Jane Austen’s), movies and anything within this field really. I have found many kindred spirits in this forum, there are many lovley ladies there who share my passion for these kind of things. The kinds of things I am writing about here.
But, I am wandering from what I originally set out to write about. So lets get back to where we were; I had found this site, and I ordered this pattern straight away!
Click here to view more details
And after some days work (I think it was days at least, but you know, it could have been longer) this is the result I ended up with:
Wearing my dress for Midsummer's Eve
Now, this picture is a few years old, so I might look a little different, but I don’t think the dress has changed much…
I felt really very pleased with the way it turned out! And I have had the opportunity to use it on several occasions. But alas, not yet as many as I could have wished!
Here are a couple of more pictures; close ups of the bodice front and back.
I had a longer post planned for today, but then for some reason my computer refused to cooperate with me to get that to work. So I’ll leave that post till another day and for today you shall have to content yourselves with a quote from the one and only Miss Austen.
I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.
Miss Bingley (Pride and Prejudice)
How true! But I think that when Miss Bingley said it, she was being rather ironic, I don’t think that is the view she really had! But I sure have!