Fashion in Vermont ~ The Shelburne Museum

The Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont will be hosting its first major fashion and costume exhibition June 18, 2011 – October 30, 2011: 

In Fashion: High Style 1690-2011

In Fashion comprises over 75 costumes from the Museum’s permanent collection plus a select number of borrowed works from today’s top designers and design houses including Karl Lagerfeld, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Giambattista Valli, Giovanni Bedin, Balenciaga, Christian Siriano and others. The exhibit is presented in several sections: Haute Couture, Complete the Look, Fashionable 50’s, and Head to Toe.

In addition to including established names in the industry, the exhibit includes work by fashion design students from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. FIT students competed for the chance to have their designs included in the exhibit. They were asked to create pieces that complement a select number of bodices from the Museum’s historic collection.

Haute Couture: Pieces from the 19th-century by Parisian designers House of Worth and Emile Pingat exhibited alongside pieces from several of the most established and well-known contemporary designers.

Complete the Look: Eight late-19th and early- 20th century bodices from incomplete high-style garments drawn from the collection. Displayed with these pieces are pieces designed by students from the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. FIT students competed to be a part of the exhibit. [See the Complete the Look website  for the 8 wining submissions – this is great fun to see what the students have done with the various bodices!]

Fashionable ‘50s: Clothing from the 1950’s represents one of the great strengths of the Museum’s collection. Poodle skirts and bespoke dresses by Hattie Carnegie for Museum founder Electra Havemeyer Webb are interpreted from a design, materials, and historical point of view.

Head to Toe: Accessories Hats to Heels includes handbags, hats, shoes and fans reflecting the glamor of the Gilded Age. Clothes to the Vest showcases men’s vests dating from the late 18th and early 19th century. Coat Couture features a selection of high end outerwear.

[Text and images from the Shelburne Museum website]

You can view the online gallery here – click on “View Gallery” link to scroll through 22 images.

I’ll be reporting more on this exhibit once it opens.  The Shelburne Museum is one of Vermont’s many treasures, famous for its quilts, decorative arts, carriages, and art masterpieces. It is not-to-be-missed if you are visiting us.  And if you are afraid that spring will never come after the record snowfalls we have suffered through this winter, do not fear – here is the surest sign of hope!:

[image from the Shelburne Museum blog]

Copyright @2011 by Deb Barnum, at Jane Austen in Vermont

How the Fashion-obsessed Jane Austen Would Love What’s Under My Christmas Tree!

Two books I have wanted found their way under my Christmas tree by way of Santa and his sleigh.  These are books to savor, perhaps even drool over on these cold dark winter nights! Here is just a quick summary: 

Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Fashion in Detail, by Avril Hart and Susan North.  Photographs by Richard Davis; Drawings by Leonie Davis.  London:  V&A Publishing, 2009.  [First published by V&A in 1998 as Historical Fashion in Detail from the 17th  and 18th Centuries].  ISBN 978 185177 567 5

From the introduction:  

These remarkable photographs of the V&A’s collection of historical dress capture the essence of each stylish garment, opening up new perspectives on high fashion between 1600 and 1800.  Offering a lively survey of fashionable patterns, fabrics and colours, the images depict a wide variety of styles and effects, from the minimalism of mid-18th-century white-work to the flamboyant excesses of high Baroque flowered silks…

Each chapter offers close-up photographs showing the varied details of dress, accompanied by line drawings and a full description of each piece.  I give as an example the description of “long sleeves” in the chapter on “Collars, Cuffs and Pockets”:   

Long sleeves in women’s dress became fashionable in the 1780s, and with them, new ways of fastening and decoration at the wrists.  In this very simple cotton gown from the late 1790s, the sleeve is closed with a narrow band of fabric, edged with piping, which fastens with hook and eye. 

While the pattern of the fabric is similar to that of the jacket on the left, the crispness and precision of the English printed cotton seen contrasts with the loose, flowing execution of the Indian printed fabric.  Block-printing on cotton began in England in the 1750s, imitating designs of imported Indian fabrics.  The pattern of floral trails seen here exhibits a blend of influences from Indian-painted and printed textiles, and rococo woven silks, a style which remained popular until the end of the century.  [Pictured is a woman’s gown of printed cotton, English, 1795-1799, followed by sleeve detail]  [p. 94-95]


Austen of course was concerned about her longs sleeves:  “I wear my gauze gown today, long sleeves & all; I shall see how they succeed, but as yet I have no reason to suppose long sleeves are allowable … [and later] … Mrs. Tilson has long sleeves too, & assured me that they are worn in the evening by many.  I was glad to hear this.– ” [Ltr. 99, 9 March 1814]

Chapters included: 

  • Stitching, Seams, Quilting and Cording
  • Gathers, Pleats and Looped Drapery
  • Collars, Cuffs and Pockets
  • Buttons
  • Trimmings
  • Applied Decoration
  • Slashing, Pinking and Stamping
  • Knitting, Lace and Openwork
  • Stomachers
  • Gloves and Shoes
  • Glossary and Select Bibliography 


The great overlap of the 18th and 19th centuries meant that Santa had to do double duty and also leave the Nineteenth-Century Fashion in Detail, by Lucy Johnston, with Marion Kite and Helen Persson.  Photographs by Richard Davis; Drawings by Leonie Davis.  London:  V&A Publishing, 2009 [first published, 2005].  ISBN: 978 18177 572 9. 

Many of the Influences, innovations and stylistic changes that shaped nineteenth-century fashion are brought to life by the garments illustrated in this book.  The delicate embroidery on neo-classical gowns, elegant tailoring on men’s coats, vibrant colours of artificial dyes and profusion of ornate trimmings reveal some of the details which make this period so rich.  They also show how a woman’s silhouette was transformed during this era through whalebone corsets, cage crinolines, bustles and skilful garment construction…. [Introduction, p. 7]

Again, each piece of clothing is presented with a photograph, a line drawing, and a full description .  Chapters included: 

  • The Male Image
  • Historicism
  • Romantic Styles
  • Exoticism
  • Innovations
  • Construction Details
  • The Natural World
  • Glossary and Select Bibliography 

Two quite amazing books, filled with sumptuous detail, lovely patterns and fabrics, showing the clothing of the fashion-conscious middle and upper class men and women of these times.  If you have any interest in fashion, these definitely need to be added to your collection!  Thank you Santa for paying attention and seeing how much I needed these!  Makes one want to drag out the sewing machine…

P.S. There is another book in this series, titled, Underwear Fashion in Detail – [V&A Publishing, 2010] perhaps Santa was too embarrassed to bring this one?

Illustrations from the V&A website.  Books are available at the V&A online Shop, and also available at other booksellers.

Copyright @Jane Austen in Vermont, 2008-2010.

Follow Friday ~ Fashion Exhibit at ‘Austenonly’

Well, this should be a “Follow Friday” but it’s already Saturday, so hopefully no one notices….

Please visit Austenonly for this ‘absolutely fabulous’ post:  Austen Attired: Marvellous Costume Exhibit at the Magnificent Peckover House where Julie shares pictures of the  costumes from various Austen TV and film adaptations currently on exhibit at the Peckover House in Wisbech.  For those of us unable to visit, we can be most grateful to Julie for this birdseye view of the many costumes, and to the National Trust for giving her permission to take the pictures.  A catalogue of the exhibition would be most welcome!

[wedding attire of Marianne and Colonel Brandon in S&S]

from the Austenonly website:  visit to see close-up details of these and many more fashions on display.

Another Austen Web Round-Up ….. there is no keeping up!

Some interesting items this week to pass on:

*JASNA-New York Region has published its Fall 2008 newsletter online with much on the Austen-Byron Conference, the news that New York City will host the 2012 AGM, and other chapter happenings.

*The Rethinking Jane Austen blog has a post on Austenmania, the blog author’s efforts to find the strangest item “boasting Jane Austen’s image”….. there are a few good ones out there!

*Jane Austen’s World has posted Ellen Moody’s take on the Mansfield Park 2007 movie.  See also Austenprose’s ongoing MP discussion.

*The and a blogger’s review of Cassandra and Jane by Jill Pitkeathley.

*A blog on vintage fashion, ZipZip’s Vintage Clothing, offers “thoughts about vintage and period sewing patterns, lists of links to worthwhile online vintage sewing resources, comments on sewing with treadle sewing machines.”

*Click here for the Sunday Herald (Scotland) interview with Keira Knightley on playing the Duchess of Devonshire

*A resource on Regency Information has been compiled by the Favors and Fortunes blog: there are some great links here, including references to a map of London for 1827, card games, cost of living values, a slang dicitonary, and many others.  But NOTHING compares to the links to Regency Social Life and Customs than those compiled by Ms. Place at Jane Austen’s World… if you have an extra 24 hour day sometime in this long upcoming winter, take a look at this grand resource!

*And more on ITV’s Lost in Austen show at Austenblog, with numerous comments, as well as the show’s fansite filled with all sorts of information on this Pride & Prejudice in space!

And just added: The Musee McCord Museum in Montreal has posted an interactive game on 19th century women’s fashion.  Click here for the game and instructions.  There are also other interactive games on 19th century high fashion (for beginner and expert), interior decoration, and games and toys:  click here for the Museum’s website and list of games.

This Week’s Web Round-up….Part 2

So here is another Round-up this week, largely because I discovered a few tidbits sitting in a draft that I forgot to put in my last “round-up” post…so while this is mostly old news, it is still perhaps good enough news to pass on…

  • This is for THIS WEEKEND, so head over there if you can!:  A reminder about the Jane Austen Weekends at the Governor’s House in Hyde Park, Vermont.  For more information, go to the website… the first scheduled weekend is August 15-17 (but there are others if you missed out on this one!)
  •  Obama as Darcy??   see the New York Times article by Maureen Dowd “Mr. Darcy Comes Courting” comparing Obama to our Mr. Darcy… please bring your sense of humor! (the Austen discussion boards are filled with chatter about this!)…and now this is such old news, I am embarrassed!
  • Send an Austen e-card to your favorite Janeite!  see the cards at the Austenfans site:  (as reported on Jane Austen Today blog
  • Throwdown poll at Jane Austen Today blog (you must go there to understand it!)
  • There is a Pride & Prejudice quiz at, so test your knowledge! 
  • And this is likely VERY old news, but I just discovered Mrs. Darcy’s Story, so take a look at what this fanfiction site offers….  
  • Read Ms. Place’s review  along with Ellen Moody’s analysis of the 1971 film adaptation of Sense & Sensibilty.
  • And more news on the ITV show Lost in Austen, billed as Jane Austen Meets Life on Mars…
  • And I have certainly noticed this, but the Central New Jersey JASNA Chapter has posted how journalists are crazy for the phrase “it is a truth universally acknowledged…” to apply to any number of thoughts…little did Austen know that “it [would] be a truth universally acknowledged that the new two-door Ford Capri is a dream to handle.”  See the full article at the Telegraph.UK site.

And now for some current news items:

  • Read about Stoneleigh Abbey…the house that inspired Austen…. from the Leamington Spa Courier.
  • If you are in the market for buying real estate in the U.K., the Pynes, widely considered the model for Barton Park in Sense & Sensibility, is on the market for £2.5 million.
  • Ms. Place at Jane Austen’s World has another fashion-filled post on The Regency Gentleman’s Neckwear.
  • At Australian Women Online, August is Jane Austen Month:  you can purchase various books and DVDs of Austen movies from their ABC Shop (there is a nice write-up of the products, but you will need an Australian DVD player to view the movies….)
  • Pride & Prejudice is offered as an ebook at Project Gutenburg (available in MP3, iTunes, Ogg Vorbis and Speex formats). Northanger Abbey, Emma, Sense & Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, Love & Freindship, and Lady Susan are also downloadable audiobooks.
  •  John Kessel’s “Pride and Prometheus”is available online as a podcast…..”Miss Mary Bennett, the bookish younger sister of Elizabeth Darcy…” (Originally published in 2008 in Fantasy and Science Fiction)
  •  Graeme Blundell of The Australian writes of his “pride in overcoming his prejudice against bonnet dramas”…he reviews Cranford and other costume-laden television productions in “The Eyes Have It.”
  • Jane Austen’s Sailor Brothers is now available for download at  The book was written by J.H. and Edith Hubback and first published in 1906.

And please visit Austenprose every day for the next two weeks for the “Mansfield Park Madness” journey of Laurel Ann….post a comment and become eligible for all sorts of giveaways and learn to love Fanny in the process!

Web Round-up…all things Austen

So here is another week’s worth of tidbits on Jane….[and this is only a smattering!]

  • An article by Gary Dexter in The Telegraph  U.K. tells how the title Pride & Prejudice originated in Fanny Burney’s Cecelia.
  • On the JASNA site, a real treat is Diana Birchall’s In Defense of Mrs. Elton , now online and as originally published by the 1999 AGM with Janet McMaster’s illustrations, with a new introduction dated August 2008 by the author.
  • Be sure to visit Laurel Ann’s Austenprose for her Mansfield Park Madness events over the next two weeks (starts August 15)…there will be contests and free book giveaways, and there is always the hope that you might change your view about Fanny…
  • There’s an indie pop group called Pemberley, but Austen is nowhere in sight… 
  • Ms. Place pens a delicious post on Hot Chocolate, 18 – 19th Century Style on her Jane Austen’s World Blog
  • Dame Boudicca names Elizabeth Bennet the “Pop Culture Woman of the Week” 
  • At, see the article on the Regency Gentlewoman  of Jane Austen’s time.
  • And on another fashion note, here is blog devoted solely to BUTTONS: see the postings on the types of buttons and the history of the button  at Petronella Luiting’s Buttons & Fabrics Blog.
  • If you cannot visit the Geffrye Museum   in London, trek over to its website where you can view the museum collection “Life in the Living Room from 1600-2000”  It shows the changing style of the English domestic interior in a series of period rooms from 1600 to the present day.  There are also several virtual tours… great fun…
  • And Jane makes another list…this time as one of the Top Ten Literary Virgins at John Sutherland’s book blog at the
  • Author Kate Atkinson (her Behind the Scenes at the Museum is one of my favorite books) reveals in an interview in the Times-Online that her next book will be about Jane Austen and will be titled “What Would Jane Do?”…can’t wait!
  • At Paper Menagerie, the Jane Austen Notebooks are available again…. check them out…

 The August newsletter from the Jane Austen Centre in Bath has two articles on hunting during the Regency Period: Sport Hunting in Regency England, and In the Pink: Dressing for the Fox Hunt.

  • and the Burnley & Trowbridge Co. of Williamsburg, VA is offering three fall workshops in 18th century fashion:  The Lady’s Stay (Sept 6-7); An 18th century Gown of the Last Quarter (Nov 14-16); and Ladies’ Riding Habits (Jan. 31- Feb 1, 2009)

So much out there!

Ok, I admit it!… I cannot keep up with it all!…but just in case others of you want to know what’s actually going on in cyberspace but don’t have the time to search it out each day…here is a sampling!… Jane is indeed, everywhere!

As “Miss Austen Regrets” recently aired in the U.K., there have been numerous postings about it all over again…here are a few:  Guardian online, several other links to articles in the U.K.,  and at Jane Austen’s World (where there are a few posts on the movie)  And I remind you to look again at the article on the JASNA site about the kernels of truth in the story…

And check out the Conversation Blog on the Jane Austen Addict site to learn about  The Jane Austen – MI-5 connection:  now I LOVE seeing this in writing…there are SO many connections to one of my favorite shows, MI-5 (Spooks in the U.K.) and the Austen adaptations that my head has been spinning for weeks!  Thank you Ms. Rigler for putting this all together so well! 

On the Becoming Jane Fansite, there is a post on Favorite movies and books…always fun to read someone else’s opinions… and also scroll down for a great interview with Andrew Davies done with Masterpiece Theatre  (and I too don’t agree with him about the P&P 1995 2nd proposal scene…this I think was perfectly done, exactly as Austen wrote it….not any words…and we were not privy to the passion….)

Ms. Place, as always, has penned a great article on Drinking tea, wine, and other spirits in Jane Austen’s Day.  And while you are there…look at her story from a few days ago about the Wedding Procession in the 1995 S&S.  And on her Jane Austen Today Blog, there is a great post on Fashionable Websites Jane Austen Would have liked to Visit!  THANK YOU Ms. Place for sharing your ever-interesting wealth of information!

On Austenblog there is a book giveaway contest…submit by May 2.

And Jane Odiwe  writes of Fanny Price’s room in Mansfield Park, with some lovely drawings.

And over on Austenprose Laurel Ann gives us 10 top (and very humorous) reasons to re-read Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict (it is being released in paperback…)  [For a nice new review of Confessions go to the Historical Fiction site ]

and I am sure this is not the half of it…. yikes!

Fashion help?

I am studying a letter written 1 February 1794, the subject of which, at this juncture, is the latest London fashions:

 …your Friend Mrs. Gosling has been obliged to put on the Cravat, but all Bows are left off, for the Ladies either a very full Muslin plain Stock with a larger Pudding, or the long cravats like your old one twisted round the neck & fastened behind: this moment Maria has made her appearance with the plain Stock but no pudding, she sais these are very comfortable no ends to treble [sic: trouble] her, we are really much entertained with her new appearance…

I am without my subscription to the OED at present, so my question is: What was a ‘pudding’? Any helpful hint would be appreciated! Pictures (illustrations) would be welcome.