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Create a Faux Bandeau

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!

Court Dress, 1799
Court Dress, 1799

To create your own headpiece, you’ll need:

  • one fabric covered hairband (satin or velvet works nicely)
  • some feathers of various sizes
  • fabric glue
  • jeweled brooch.
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The “Louisa” style hairband is available in custom colors from Austentation.com
  1. Pin your hair up in your preferred style and slide the hairband into place.
  2. Pin the brooch onto the hairband where you want your plumes to begin.
  3. Experiment with your plumes to find the perfect arrangement.
  4. Remove the band in order to attach the feathers.
  5. 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

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Tea with Jane Austen: Ideas for using the Jane Austen Silhouette Cookie Cutter

The Jane Austen Silhouette Cookie Cutter

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The other day I was having some fun experimenting with the new Jane Austen Silhouette Cookie Cutter . We tried sugar cookies (naturally) and toast (delicious) and tea sandwiches. However, I think my favorite trick was the silhouette sandwich, seen here.

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To create this sandwich, you’ll need two types of bread, ideally, of light and dark colors (white and wheat, wheat and pumpernickel, etc.)

Take two slices of your “base” layer, in this case Pumpernickel, and use the cutter to cut a silhouette from the center of one slice.

Continue reading Tea with Jane Austen: Ideas for using the Jane Austen Silhouette Cookie Cutter

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Staying Sharp with Jane Austen

 Jane Austen Pencils!

Papa has given me half-a-dozen new pencils, which are very good ones indeed; I draw every other day.
Elizabeth Austen-Knight to Cassandra Austen
October 18, 1813

With school back in session, and the smell of apples, chalk dust and pencil shavings in the air, what could be more fun than taking a bit of Austen with you into class? We promise that a few of these Jane Austen pencils in your desk will make even calculus more appealing! Pair them with notecards or a journal to create a fun gift for any Austen lover or teacher.

jane austen pencils
Visit Austentation.com for a wide range of Austen themed items including gift baskets, holiday items, craft projects, and custom bonnets, reticules and accessories.

To begin, you’ll need:

  • pencils (any type, #2, preferably with white erasers)
  • sandpaper (optional)
  • Modgepodge or white glue
  • a few pages of Austen text (taken from a discarded copy of the book, or printed on a printer. I keep an old copy of P&P simply to upcycle pages for various projects)
  • Scissors
  • foam paintbrush
  1. Take your page and cut it so that it can be rolled around the pencil and lightly overlapped. The top edge should begin at the base of the metal “Cuff” which holds the eraser in place and the bottom should extend slightly beyond the end of the pencil (this is uusually about 7″ x 1″.)
  2. Lightly sand your pencil so that the glue will adhere more closely.
  3. Use the paintbrush to apply a thin coat of Modgepodge or white school glue to the backside of the paper.
  4. Roll the paper around the pencil and overlap. The paper should be snug and not slide. Flatten any air bubbles so that it sticks at all points to the pencil. If necessary, add more glue to the seam in order for it to lay flat and tight.
  5. Allow pencil to dry. Be sure that it won’t stick to anything while drying, by laying it on a baking rack or standing it up in a glass (you can use this time to complete more pencils)
  6. Once pencil has dried, add an additional coat of modgepodge or glue to the outside of the pencil. Let dry again.
  7. Trim the paper so that the end lies flush with the end of the pencil. Embellish with Austen stickers, if desired, sharpen and enjoy!

Pencils such as this can be purchased in gift baskets from Austentation, or individually from Creative Carmelina, on Etsy.


Laura Boyle is an avid Regency enthusiast. Find more fashion information and one of a kind Regency inspired accessories at her shop, Austentation: Regency Accessories

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Trim your own Regency Bonnet

A Regency Bonnet

So many styles of Regency Bonnet to choose from! 

Flowers are very much worn, and fruit is still more the thing. Elizabeth has a bunch of strawberries, and I have seen grapes, cherries, plums, and apricots. There are likewise almonds and raisins, French plums, and tamarinds at the grocers’, but I have never seen any of them in hats… Elizabeth has given me a hat, and it is not only a pretty hat, but a pretty style of hat too. It is something like Eliza’s, only, instead of being all straw, half of it is narrow purple ribbon. I flatter myself, however, that you can understand very little of it from this description. Heaven forbid that I should ever offer such encouragement to explanations as to give a clear one on any occasion myself! But I must write no more of this. . .
Jane Austen to Cassandra
Queen’s Square, Bath
June 2, 1799


If you had to choose only one fashion accessory with which to represent the entire Regency period, no doubt it would be the Bonnet. Large and small, close and wide, they came in an array of sizes and styles, each season bringing newideas and new requirements of what it was to be “Fashionable”. Fashion magazines of the day seemed never to tire of describing this brim and that cockade, and the colors! Where Puce was once reigned supreme, Jonquil now led the way. Or so they would tell you.

While wealthy socialites might spend their afternoons seriously pondering the style and purchase of a new bonnet, less fortunate young ladies might employ themselves with equal diligence to trimming and retrimming an older bonnet to meet the new style standards. For these young ladies, books like The Ladies’ self instructor in millinery and mantua making, embroidery and appliqué, canvas-work, knitting, netting, and crochet-work, by R. L. Shep, would be invaluable. Careful perusing of its pages, along with those of La Belle Assemblée would offer all they would need to know to be found in the most current mode, even when “buried” in the country.

One such period book advises, “it is well to avoid the two extremes [of fashion] into which some people are apt to fall. The one is an entire disregard to the prevailing taste, and the other is a servile submission to its tyrannic sway. A medium course is the only sensible one, and, in this, good sense will dictate how far to go, and where to stop.”

As you can see from the following fashion plate and historic gown and bonnet, simple decorations were often the most tasteful and appropriate. The addition of simple trim (make your own or use grosgrain ribbon or bias tape) and lace along with a few ribbons can turn a plain bonnet into a lovely summer chapeau.

Of course, simplicity and moderation did not always rule the Regency, as a look at a few more period fashion plates and examples of the period Regency bonnet will show you! Both of these following fashion plates are from Costumes Parisiens, 1812.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These historic bonnets are from the Old Sturbridge Village Collection:

Styles of Regency Bonnet

The Elinor:

To trim the crown with fabric, use a long strip of fabric, an inch taller than your crown. Fold one long, raw edge under, and baste in place around the crown. Fold over the short edge to make a finished seam up the back and baste in place over the matching raw edge. Fold the remaining long edge over and run a gathering stitch along this line to pull the edges together. Tack in place. You might also wish to add a small square of matching fabric under the hole created by the gathered fabric, or sew a rosette over this spot. Pleating the fabric before basting it on gives a rounder look, which is lovely in sheer cottons.

To create the ruffled ribbon trim seen on the cream and green bonnet, run two lines of gathering stitches down the center of a length of wide ribbon. Pull the threads to create a long gathered line. Tack in place and add an extra row of trim over the gathering stitches to hide them. In general, 3-4 yards of ribbon, a bunch of flowers and berries or fruit, and a few feathers will turn a plain bonnet into a thing of beauty.

Bonnets by Laura Boyle of Austentation: Regency Accessories

The Eliza (A Poke Bonnet)
Trimming the Eliza is nothing but a joy. A few yards of ribbon wound around the crown creates a lovely period look. Take it a step farther by cutting an 18 inch circle from your favorite fabric. Run a gathering stitch around this and pull it tight to fit the crown of the bonnet. Tack in place. Wrap a length of ribbon around the crown to cover the raw edge and finish it off with ribbon bows and ties. 3-4 yards of ribbon will give you plenty with which to work.

Bonnets by Serena Dyer, author of Bergère, Poke and Cottage: Understanding Early Nineteenth-Century Headwear

The Cottage Bonnet

The Cottage bonnet is another adorable style of Regency bonnet. Trim it with simple ribbons and feathers or rosettes and ties.