This little reticule was first featured as a project in Petersen’s Magazine in 1857. As you can see from the
Regency fashion plate, it is a style that was popular even then. By definition, a reticule (or ridicule as they
were sometimes called) was a small purse. They became popular in the late 18th century when narrow gown styles
prevented the installation of pockets.
This is a very pretty design for a reticule. Materials: green silk, purple morocco [fine soft kid as from
gloves] and pasteboard. Cut the bottom out of pasteboard the size you wish, and cover it with the morocco,
bringing the morocco a little up the sides as a finish, the pasteboard having first been turned up for that
purpose. Then sew on the four pieces of silk, and complete with a drawing string of sewing silk below to match the
silk of the bag.
Laura Boyle is fascinated by all aspects of Jane Austen’s life. She is the proprietor of Austenation: Regency Accessories, creating custom hats, bonnets, reticules and more for customers around the globe. Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends is her first book. Her greatest joy is the time she is able to spend in her home with her family (1 amazing husband, 4 adorable children and a very strange dog.)
While there is some debate over the date of the original hatpin (vs straight pin),we do know that women have been using pins to secure veils, wimples, hats and bonnets for hundreds of years. Until 1820 hatpin making in England was a cottage industry in which demand far exceeded supply. One solution was to import crafted pins from France. In order to support Britain’s crafters, in 1820 a law was passed allowing pins to be imported ONLY on January 1 and 2! Some suggest the phrase “pin money” was so called because it was spent by the lady of the house on her hatpins, dress pins and brooch pins!
All pins were still handmade at this point, and remained so until 1832 when a machine was invented in the United States, which could mass-produce the pins. After this prices dropped considerably as machines made pins were crafted England and France, soon after.
When styles began favoring the hat over the bonnet in the 1880’s, hatpins became both more fashionable and more elaborate. They remained as essential accessory until the age of flapper style bobs and cloche hats made them unnecessary. Still the Edwardian hatpin was regarded as a thing of fear among lawmakers of the day, who passed legislation in 1908 (in the United States) mandating that pins not exceed 10 inches in length (lest Suffragettes use them as weapons) and later ordering that the ends be capped lest someone be injured by a sharp tip.
Pictures of Regency style pins are in short supply, but I do love this image from Atelier de Modistes Le Bon Genre 28, c.1807, showing a group of young ladies trying on hats and bonnets (Lydia Bennet, anyone?) A look at the woman on the far right shows what appears to be a beaded hatpin stuck safely in place waiting for the next hat or bonnet.
From the above illustrations, it appears that Georgian/Regency era pins were less elaborate than their Victorian cousins, featuring one or two beads, instead of the elaborate trimmings and jewels that were to come.
To create your own hatpins, you’ll need:
A long, straight pin or hatpin (20 cm is average.) These can be purchased from Austentation on Etsy. Custom Pins are also available.
To make your pin, first add a bead cap, then line up your beads in your chosen order and end with a small bead or cap. Once you have decided on your perfect combination, slide the beads down the pin and add some glue to the pin, where the beads will sit. Slide all but the last the bead back in place, being sure that each one is adhered. Add a small drop of glue to the bottom hole of the second to last bead, slide your final piece into place and allow the pin to dry.
Congratulations! A custom piece to complement your period ensemble!
Laura Boyle creates the hatpins available in the Jane Austen Centre shop as well as providing her customers with custom hatpins and supplies along with various other hats, bonnets, reticules and accessories from her shop Austentation: Regency Accessories.
As many will attest, one of the delights of watching a Jane Austen film is the glory of the costuming. Jenny Beavan’s designs for the 1995 Emma Thompson version of Sense and Sensibility were no exception. Beavan, always noted for her impeccable historical designs, was rightfully nominated for both a BAFTA and an Oscar on this film.
Here you will find the instructions for my version of Marianne’s famous bonnet.
Needle, Thread, Scissors, pins
1 Round Brimmed straw hat (preferably with a downturned brim)
14×14” or 18×18” square of fabric (your choice for size of pouf)
18×2” strip of fabric
4×4” square of fabric
1 yard ribbon of your choice (I use ½” sheer with satin stripes) Instructions
Fold the fabric in quarters and round off the edges. You will now have a circle of fabric. Run a gathering stitch around the edge of the circle and pull it as tight around the top of the crown (just below the line of holes) Tack or pin in place.
Find the center of the piece of ribbon. Pin it in place over halfway over the raw edge of the gathered “pouf” in the center, front. Bring the ribbon around the bonnet on both sides, crossing it in the back. Now bring the ribbon to the front again. This time, cross them in the center, front, about an inch and a half away from the edge of the brim (as pictured). Pin in place.
Make a “pinwheel” rosette out of the 4” square by rounding off the corners as in Step 1. Now fold the edge under and run a gathering stitch along the edge and pull it tight. Flatten the circle so that the gathered edge is tight in the middle and the rest flares out around it. Tack this in place on top of the crossed ribbons. Trim ribbon edges to desired length.
Fold your remaining fabric strip in thirds and place over the overlapped edge of the gathered fabric and ribbon. Make sure that the raw edges are tucked to the back and stitch this down, around the crown over the overlapped edge, using a hidden stitch. Start at the center back. When you get around to the back again, measure ½” past the first end and cut the fabric. Fold the raw edge under and tack this “finished” end over the raw edge.
Created by Laura Boyle for Austentation: Regency Accessories- www.austentation.com
Feel free to contact her with any questions or comments about this pattern.
The Mob Cap, synonymous with the early American “founding mothers” Martha Washington and Betsy Ross, was actually a fashionable accessory worn by many women throughout the Georgian Era. Named for it’s association with the French “mobs” of that Revolution, it could be as exquisite or serviceable as the the wearer could afford or require.
Jane Austen, herself, was fond of caps and wrote to her sister,
“I have made myself two or three caps to wear of evenings since I came home, and they save me a world of torment as to hairdressing which at present gives me no trouble beyond washing and brushing, for my long hair is always plaited up out of sight, and my short hair curls well enough to want no papering.”
So, how do we make a mob cap?
To make your own cap, here’s a video by ‘Modesty Matters’. It’s simple without embellishment but is a great starting point. Have fun.
The Bandeau hairstyle was favored throughout the Regency as a throwback to ancient times. Here is an easy way to “fake” the look of this period court head piece using a modern headband. Traditional etiquette for presentation at court required white ostrich feathers to be worn, but getting them to stay in place could be tricky!
To create your own headpiece, you’ll need:
one fabric covered hairband (satin or velvet works nicely)
some feathers of various sizes
Pin your hair up in your preferred style and slide the hairband into place.
Pin the brooch onto the hairband where you want your plumes to begin.
Experiment with your plumes to find the perfect arrangement.
Remove the band in order to attach the feathers.
Dip the ends of your plumes in fabric glue and slide into place behind the brooch. The pin should cover the ends of the feathers.
Viola! A lovely Regency look in just a few minutes! Don’t have time or resources to create your own? Order a custom made “Faux Bandeau” from Austentation.com
With a number of costumed events on the horizon, it’s often tempting to try creating your own ensemble. One of the easiest ways to coordinate your trim to your dress is to use left over scraps from your gown. This is called Self Fabric trim, and was widely used during the Georgian or Rococo period, as shown in this extant gown:
Liz, at the Pragmatic Costumer, offers a fabulously easy tutorial for creating trim like that seen on the gown above. Her blog is a treasure trove of sewing hints and tricks for turning over the counter patterns into historically (appearing) accurate representations of your chosen time period. It’s lots of fun to explore.
During the Regency, acrostic jewelry came into vogue. These brooches, rings and other ornaments used gemstones beginning with each letter of the alphabet to spell out sentimental sayings such as LOVE, DEAREST, of REGARD.
First created by the Mellerio Jewelry company (they claim to be the oldest family company in Europe) in Paris in 1809, the idea was mentioned by Étienne de Jouy in an article in an 1811 edition of Gazette de France, which in turn led to the style being adopted in England.