What do you like to do when you have a free Saturday morning? I prefer sleeping, but on occasion I will venture out, wearing something a little different. I awoke before dawn, raided my brother’s closet and stole his shield, sword, and helmet (items that all brothers have sitting around no doubt), packed my camera, chose the wrong shoes for field terrain, forced my sister to come with me, and in rushing out the door forgot any sort of coat. No matter, the day would not be spoilt by the cold. Or the wind. Or the frosty wet grass. I consider the cold I later caught by running around in a valley on a blustery morning, a mere expense of high adventure. We suffered no casualties, save a bruised nose. I really must get better at putting on medieval helmets if I am ever to succeed in battle. I do myself more injuries than I would my enemy.
It was a wonderful day from start to end. First, we parked and gathered all the metal and leather bits and bobs before entering the wide valley to get lost on noble quests, fight orcs, and scavenge for second breakfast.
Just as I left the car, holding my sword and shield with the helmet on my head, a car drove down and into the parking lot. I was in perfect view in his windshield. It must have been strange for him to see a rogue Lord of The Rings character so early in the morning. Turns out he was so frightened of my menacing attire, he parked, got out of his car, and ran away! (Yes, he was a jogger, but that’s beside the point.) I was indeed menacing. . .
I may be a menace, but. . .
We snapped photos and videos listening to the LOTR soundtrack (likewise I am as I write this). Hikers passed by but didn’t say much besides hello. No one wanted to cross swords with me, I suppose, for I should surely have won a duel and left them in shame. In actuality, the sword was much too heavy for me to fight successfully. I prefer a smaller blade, perhaps a Hobbit sized one.
The belt I found at a thrift store and the dress was given to me. The shoes, I wore in my first blog post ever (in 2016) and the headpiece is a necklace I’ve had for years. The lantern was from World Market, I believe, and the rest, of course, was stolen from my brother, which is how I imagine Eowyn got her armor for the Battle of Pelennor Fields.
“First, I must tell you how ardently I love this dress. From the moment I saw it, I never wished to be parted with it from that day on.”
If you’re as big a fan as I am of the 2005, Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen, you’ll recognize the above quote, though it is slightly altered. 🙂 There are a few films that I can play all the way through in my head, scene by scene and this is one of them. The other two are The Wiggles Magical Adventure, and The Apple Dumpling Gang. Take that information as you will.
Fun Fact: the book Lizzie is reading as she walks in the opening scene is actually text from the last page of “First Impressions,” the original title Jane Austen put down for today’s Pride and Prejudice. The book I’m holding is a 1903 edition of Pride and Prejudice. I recently discovered that walking and reading at the same time is a skill yet to be acquired.
Out of all the beautiful gowns in the film, this one is my favorite, and I instantly knew I had to make it for myself. After a LONG time researching and looking for the right materials (I went to so many fabric stores to find this exact fabric, and finally found it at a random Joann’s) I started to self-draft the pattern. As with any of my recreated film costumes, I always watch the movie it appears in as I sew. It’s a cool experience! Until the movie is over and there’s only half a bodice completed because Mr. Bingley is having a ball, Lydia has run away, and Charlotte Lucas is engaged to be married!
I looked at a LOT of still shots of Keira wearing this gown, and attempted to replicate (almost) every pleat, seam, and detail visible. The most important thing for me was getting the silhouette right. Long live trial and error. I also had the white blouse to figure out. I was about to start drafting a pattern when I realized that I already had a white blouse exactly like this. It even had the overlapping shoulder seams like the original. All I had to do was make a wider collar and hand sew it on, which I must admit, is already coming loose. That’s something I’ll have to fix.
A little disclaimer: this dress is not historically accurate to the era in which Pride and Prejudice occurs. It was designed by Jacqueline Durran, (who also designed the dreadfully inaccurate costumes for Little Women, 2019 which I despise and ranted about in this post. . . but let’s overlook that). As long as it is duly stated that this gown is not accurate to the regency times, we may continue. I may be a bit of a hypocrite, but I do believe Durran’s work in Pride and Prejudice proves much more historically accurate than in Little Women. Speaking as someone who has studied Victorian fashion, and not Regency.
This was absolutely the most fun day, running around in fields with my sister until sunset, playing the soundtrack to the film along the way, and saying almost every quote we could remember. I felt like I was in the movie. Although dressing like a fictional character from another century can definitely deliver you some odd looks, finger points, and quiet conversations as people walk away, it wasn’t as bad as I had predicted. Even in the mall afterwards, I didn’t seem to notice too many people questioning my attire, (yes, I went into a busy mall in this dress to pick up my other sister, and yes it was pretty fun).
I’m definitely not the first to recreate this design, nor the last. There are multiple YouTuber’s videos/tutorials out there that show the whole process of creating this gown, if you’re interested in making one of your own. Here are some of my tips for recreating this gown:
Make sure your fabric is correct (I used a thin linen.) I’d also recommend buying it in person and not online. Photos and descriptions can be deceiving.
2. Make it a wrap dress. I’m not sure if this is specific to the original, but I think it’s a lot easier not only to make, but to put on and actually use as a functioning dress. I added ties to both the inside and outside flaps. The buttons aren’t really doing much.
3. Wear proper undergarments. I wore a cotton chemise, regency half-stays, and a white petticoat under the dress, but by all means you don’t HAVE to. (After all it’s not even a historically accurate dress). Putting on any ankle length skirt underneath should be good enough to fill out the dress properly and help with the flow of the fabric. But you definitely need something to help with the fullness of the skirt.
4. If you don’t feel comfortable drafting the pattern yourself or just hand draping it as you go, find some paper patterns that are similar to this design. Maybe you can find a separate one for the skirt, one for the bodice, and one for the blouse. Having a dress form really helped with draping; it’s nearly impossible to make a fitted garment without one.
Which did you experience first: the book or the movie (or the 90s series in which I do not find favor)?
Who’s your favorite P & P character?
When was the last time you ran around in a field? If it wasn’t yesterday, my sincere condolences.
There is a certain girl in the beginning of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” walking in the background for about three seconds. Her appearance is so quick, I couldn’t get a clear screenshot. She happens to be wearing an outfit a lot like this one!
The scene is set in Connecticut, where Dr. Jones is a professor at Marshall College in 1936. I’ve always loved those few short scenes of the campus. Watching it seems to bring back memories I’ve never really had or experienced. It’s funny how that works, sometimes.
When I’d heard that “Raiders” was showing at a local theater, I knew I wanted to wear this specific outfit. It was going to be in 4DX, you know, where the seats move to the action and water sprays in your face (the submarine scene got a little out of hand). There was a button to control the water for your individual seat, which I quickly turned off. But with every other seat around you going off, getting sprinkled with cold water is mostly unavoidable. The wind of the desert, the wood smoke smell from the burning fires, and the effect of air whizzing past your head for narrowly missing bullets makes you really feel like you’re part of the story. And there’s NOTHING like the feeling of a sudden piece of rotating plastic hitting your feet while watching snakes slither around Indy’s shoes. Definitely hated that. So must have the lady in front of me since she screamed so loud. I think I saw everyone in the theater scramble to lift up their feet in horror the first time it happened.
I think 4DX movies can be truly captivating and fun, if done right. Sometimes the seat just jostles you around so much, you focus more on that than what’s happening on the screen. For me, it’s like riding a really hectic wooden rollercoaster. When it’s just tossing me everywhere, I get really mad, furious actually, that I’m being pushed around and can’t fight back. How are you supposed to punch a rollercoaster in the face? It’s not fair if there’s no way to retaliate! Does not all of the world’s population feel as I do; aggravated by these monstrous bullies, disguised as amusement in the form of massive constructions of lumber in which humans are fastened onto and tossed around at seventy miles per hour, compelling grown men to scream for their lives? No, just me, ok.
Saddle shoes and poodle socks: the most comfortable fashion duo ever to grace history. Very suitable for walking, dancing, and all-around adventuring.
Here’s a late 1930s photo of some stylish students from Lawrence College of Kansas. A short-sleeved sweater, plaid skirt, saddle shoes, and poodle socks all make an appearance. (Photo curtesy)
Both the sweater and cameo necklace once belonged to my grandmother. The sweater, I’ve heard, she had since high school, and I’m so happy I get to wear it. It makes it easy to remember her. Everyone who knew both of us knew how much we looked alike. I’m just so thankful that I can remember her by wearing the clothes she left for my sisters and me. I never truly got to say goodbye, but I know I’ll see her again soon. And until then, I’ll don her fashionable attire with an abundance of joy, and then hand it all down to the next generation. You definitely had great taste in fashion, Grandmom!
Heaven is a wonderful place and I’m glad that I can live there for eternity one day. And while yes, death is heartbreaking and depressing to us here still on Earth, I quickly remember that there is no death in Heaven, only life, beautiful and blissful life, where we know no trials, no pain. . . And no tormenting rollercoasters that make me infuriated, which I am quite pleased about.
So yes, we can mourn in our own ways. It’s healthy to feel those feelings, not wrong. We cry them out and then think of the happy truths around us that encourage us to cheer up. I think so often today, people associate crying with weakness. But being sad is a way of showing our love for people. When Lazarus died, Jesus went to his grave and cried, right in front of everybody (John 11:35), even though He knew He would bring him back to life in a few minutes. Showing that sadness, having those feelings was an example of how much He loved His friend, and that is a beautiful thing. He lets us know that we can be sad for a while, and that it’s okay. Our love for someone else is just an example of how God loves us, which I think is pretty amazing.
And lastly, to finish up this fashion post:
A photo of me being locked inside the mall bookstore because I wouldn’t leave. . .
(No, I was actually helping my sister close up shop for the night. P.S. reminder note to my sister, do not, I repeat, do not use that shady back elevator to take out the trash, alone. It was creepy enough when both of us went together.)
Skirt // thrifted
Sweater and necklace // my grandmom’s
Belt // thrifted
Shoes // payless
Poodle socks // irish dance store
Which Indiana Jones film is your favorite, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, or The Last Crusade? (The fourth film doesn’t count in my book.)
Is there some item handed down to you that reminds you of a loved one?
Well, well, well. I’ve again returned from the tight clutches of reality to my special little place on the internet, and with good reason. (Yes, I am celebrating my blog’s fifth anniversary this week, but that is not the reason for my posting.) I’ve happened to experience a day of glorious adventures, and not far from home. I do believe that I went overboard with editing these photos. Some I edited to make them look vintage, others are overedited because of poor indoor lighting. I only ask you to overlook the ones less than desirable, as they show their quality. *insert Faramir meme here*
There was a special exhibit at one of my favorite museums, one that my sister and I immediately planned to see as soon as the museum announced its arrival. I knew I had to dress vintage for the trip.
There was no particular decade to this outfit, it was a more of a mish-mash. . . pardon me, a “collection” of different decades. The dress was given to me by a friend (thanks Miss Sue) and I altered it a bit to make it appear more vintage. I’d like to think that it could fit into either the 30s, or 40s. However, some of these photos remind me of ones from the 1970s. Let’s just say, I was a time traveler that day.
You may be wondering about this special exhibit, the one I was so excited to visit. Well, first take a guess. . . hint: It rhythms with Hatharine Kepburn. I’ll give you a moment to think real hard on this one.
Did you get it? Of course, you did. Katharine Hepburn is one of my favorite actresses (pictured here with Cary Grant from the 1938 film Bringing Up Baby, which also happens to be one of my favorite movies).
I was lucky enough to be in the presence of many of Katharine Hepburn’s film costumes spanning over her entire career. Two large rooms were filled with gowns, suits, shoes, accessories, and personal items that once belonged to her. I could have spent hours in front of each display, it was captivating to be so close to history, and old Hollywood. Pictured below are just some of the many costumes in the exhibit.
Here’s her famous black gown from Adam’s Rib (1949).
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967).
The Philadelphia Story (1940), Stage Door (1937), The Little Minister (1934), and then Me (2021).
The Lion in Winter (1968), and Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1962).
Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry (1986).
Her personal everyday shoes.
The Lake (1933) Broadway Play.
These three above are from a TV show, The Corn is Green, from 1979. A lot of the costumes were from productions I’d never seen before, like this one. My list of movies and shows to watch had doubled after leaving the museum.
Oh, yeah, there was also a Lego exhibit. . .
After the museum, my sister and I had some adventures around town.
This was right around the time when a motorcycle gang showed up. They also decided to blow out two sports car engines (sounded like literal canon fire) for five minutes straight. It was strange, hence my expression and awkward stance above. The gang also asked if I had any hand sanitizer they could use, and yes, I gave them some out of my car. They now ride around town with jackets embroidered, “The Germ-Free Angels.” No they don’t, I made up that last part.
All in all, it was a wonderful day of adventures. I hope you can set aside a day to have one just as good this week. Always have a friend with you, never forget to buy some chocolate milk on the way, and always give a motorcycle gang some hand sanitizer upon request.
It was love at first sight. The glorious white dress worn by Winona Ryder (who, as we all know, played Jo March in the best film version of Little Women ever made) was clearly a moment of pure inspiration to my eyes. I strongly declared to myself, that one day, I would recreate it so that I might run through airy fields and wander in an ever deepening forest. And as of late, I am happily able to say that I’ve done all three of those things!
First, here are photos of the original dress, designed by Colleen Atwood:
Little Women, 1994. Costumes designed by Colleen Atwood.
If someone were to ask me how I made it, I would justifiably tell them, “I don’t really know.” I hand draped it piece by piece until it looked right, then sewed it together and voila! I didn’t use a pattern for any of the pieces (half because I couldn’t find any to use, the other half because I despise patterns). The sheer white fabric, I found on a four-foot roll at a thrift shop for $8. The under petticoat cotton was from Joann’s on sale for around $12. The blue ribbon was $4, and lastly the four buttons I used for the front closure and the cuffs, I already had. So in total, the entire dress cost was only $24 and about 10 hours of work. Some of the smaller areas, like the cuffs and front ruffles, I sewed by hand, but the rest was done by machine (except for the hem, because the sheer fabric is VERY thin and I didn’t want an ugly puckered line going around the bottom). I also purposely double hemmed it, making it too short so I wouldn’t get it dirty when I inevitably explored the countryside. If I ever want it longer, all I have to do is snip one thread and I easily gain two more inches at the bottom.
Once it was finally complete, I trekked to my favorite Civil War battlefield and lived out an entire day as Jo March. It was wonderful, until I realized the swarm of tics and crickets attached to my skirts! Nevertheless, such bothers can be quickly remedied. It was a magical day of seemingly endless joy and adventure. Sometimes it feels as though ordinary life is just the time we spend in between our last fairytale day and our next.
Carrying around my leather-bound copy of Charles Dickon’s Pickwick Papers made me feel like Jo all the more!
The dress was designed to mimic what we call a “chemise a la reine” or a “gaulle,” made popular by Marie Antoinette. So, give or take a few minor changes, this dress works for both the 18th and 19th centuries. Just change the ribbon, throw on an oversized straw hat with flowers and feathers, and you’re ready to step into another century! I’d say this style is a true classic in the category that is historical attire, with as much versatility as any other piece of clothing I can think of!
Of course, it’s not a perfect match and I don’t look much like Winona, but side by side, I’d like to say it’s a semi-good imitation of the dress! There will always be room for improvement, and my next project should be slightly better in both quality and resemblance (at least I hope).
The post would never be complete without a mandatory dress spinning shot.
Out of all the literary characters to exist in the world, I think that I connect with Jo March more than any other, even more than Anne Shirley or Lizzy Bennet, I’d say. Jo and I are both writers, we like to wear the same things, we have three other siblings, we’re both the second eldest, and we think very much alike. So, I’m glad that this dress was my first film recreation project, the first among many to come!
Which film costume would you want to recreate most?
What film has your favorite costumes in it of all time?
Can you guess what costume project I’m working on next?!
If you remember, in “Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel” Diana Berry wears something like this; a white blouse and a creamy off-white skirt. The outfit is plain and simple, yet glorious in all its splendor! I wanted to recreate the outfit, so I gathered some of my Victorian things to piece together.