FOUNDATIONS REVEALED COMPETITION ENTRY
Outline the story …
Persuasion is one of the last works that Jane Austen completed during her lifetime and was published posthumously in 1817. The narrative centers around Anne Elliot, who was persuaded in her youth to give up the man she loved because he had neither fortune nor title. When the book opens, seven years have passed, and we find her proud and vain family in reduced circumstances. In an unexpected turn, Anne and the captain that she lost are brought together again. Both have been transformed in the intervening time, and yet the reader will discover whether their hearts are still connected.
Words most often used to describe Anne throughout the book are “elegance and sweetness”. However, it is Captain Wentworth who sees Anne most keenly, and describes her character as “perfection itself, maintaining the loveliest medium of fortitude and gentleness.” Anne has very little true friendship or companionship in her life and the natural world is a solace to her. She seeks time in nature as an outlet for her feelings and her biggest revelations about others and her own heart come while she is outdoors. She is particularly swept away by the wild beauty of Lyme. The novelty of this unexpected trip to a woman “too little from home, too little seen” awakens something in Anne, and her relationships with each of the key people in her life begin to change. “She had been forced into prudence in her youth – she learned romance as she grew older.”
Outline the construction…
I created a morning gown and sleeveless spencer for Anne Elliot based on my research of British women’s dress in 1810. I drafted a pattern for the dress based on extant originals documented in “Patterns of Fashion” by Janet Arnold and “Regency Women’s Dress” by Cassidy Percoco. The pattern for the spencer was adapted from one by Black Snail Patterns. The day dress is sensible and practical for Anne’s outdoor excursions and is made from a printed cotton voile, with the small, regularly spaced motifs, and limited color palette that were typical of prints at this time. The velvet spencer has a pleated peplum in the back and is trimmed with antique metallic braid at the front closure. Anne’s heart was always with the navy and she followed Captain Wentworth’s career closely. This snappy little jacket is her secret nod to a naval sensibility.
I focused on perfecting the proportions of the gown and improving my hand-sewing techniques throughout this project. I made several mockups of the dress, adjusting the proportions of front panel, side gore panel, and gathered back panels to achieve the correct silhouette of the time period. Neckline drawstring and eyelets are worked by hand and sleeves are finished with a small hand-rolled hem. The bodice is lined with a white cotton that is whip-stitched into place, and the waist seam is finished with a silk ribbon. The small buttons at the back closure have hand-worked loops, and the skirt opening is similarly hand-finished.