Today is a birthday of my favourite Mr Rochester and actor Timothy Dalton.
So, to celebrate, I am beginning my most exciting project which I named “Jane Eyre project” (of course). I am planning to create full costumes for Mr Rochester and Jane Eyre (and also Blanche Ingram and Adele Varens). Actually, quite a number of different sets for both! It should take some time to finish them, so I am going to share the process as well.
All the costumes will be based on my favourite version of Jane Eyre filmed in 1983 by BBC starring Timothy Dalton as Mr Rochester (the best Rochester ever, in my opinion) and Zelah Clark as Jane. My models are Iplehouse dolls – E.I.D. Arvid on a Superhero body (Edward), Y.I.D. Emilia (Jane), K.I.D. Lonnie (Adele) – and Cristy Stone Gracelyn (Blanche).
The novel was written by Charlotte Bronte in 1847 and she states that the events of the book take place ten years before that. So, Jane and Edward meet in January 1837. However, having done a research about fashion of the 1830s I have come to the conclusion that the film follows the fashion of the early 1830s (the main and noticeable difference is the waist area of a dress: in the early 1830s and in the film it is accentuated by a belt while after 1835 the belt disappears and the front of the dress becomes pointed). I personally prefer the pointed dresses but will follow the fashion represented in the film.
Let’s start with Mr Rochester’s shirt. The male shirts didn’t change that much during the beginning of the 19th century. The shape is very simple and it is all cut using squares. There are gussets in the armpits, near the collar and in the side slits.
My inspiration for the shirt:
Mostly, the shirts of that period were made of linen. I am sewing the shirt from a white cotton fabric as it is more appropriate on a doll scale. I cut out all the necessary squares. The only part which is not square is the collar, but I’ll talk about it when I get to it.
I am making the shirt entirely by hand using stitches which I learned from books about 19th century tailoring.
So, the sleeves. I have already finished both, though I only took pictures of the first one. The sleeves are almost perfect squares. And the gussets are also small squares. The sleeve is gathered at the wrist and will be gathered at the top.