Jessamyn's Regency Costume Companion: About Me & My Work

I CREATE FINE-QUALITY historical and contemporary garments on a custom basis. For the cheapest and quickest, look elsewhere. But to fulfill your fine-garment desires, I will work hard for a fair price. I get deeply involved with each project, working closely with you to ensure that it suits your form, coloring, and tastes.

The phrase "period-correct" is used with rather a free hand by web-based seamstresses, but I love research and am happy to provide documentation on any and all aspects of your garment. On the other hand, I'm not obsessed. We wear these clothes in the real world, and if you need to compromise on authenticity for reasons of price or comfort, I can point out which changes will ruin the look of a garment and which "won't show on a trotting horse," as my grandfather used to say.

Above all, I strive to create garments that are beautiful to look at, pleasant to touch, well-fitted, and well-made. More than that: Because I make things for special occasions, they should make you feel special. When your garment arrives, you should put it on and feel that excitement of transformation into a princess, or the heroine of your favorite novel, or someone from the 18th century.

FOLLOWING ARE LINKS to some examples of my work. I've provided an idea of the cost to commission a similar garment, but your mileage will vary, depending on fabrics used and details desired. Prices include sketches of custom designs; a mockup made in cotton of the bodice, to test the fit before the final version is made; fabric and trim equivalent to that shown; and handwork on all stitching that shows from the outside, such as hems and eyelet holes (did you know that metal grommets weren't used until after Jane Austen's time?).

Please don't feel limited to the garments shown. I'm happy to work from clippings, sketches, descriptions, or even vague ideas with a lot of arm-waving! Contact me any time if you would like a quote on your specific project, or advice, or referrals.

Period-Correct Garments

Historically Inspired Gowns

Fine Contemporary Clothing

NOT TOO LONG AGO I quit working as a full-time magazine editor to spend more time at home with my husband, who is disabled. And we moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Asheville, North Carolina, where we bought a house (a 1920s house that I've been painting and fixing and spackling and, and, and...!). It's been a big change but Asheville has a lot to offer; it's very beautiful here, and although I miss the Bay Area's cultural variety, Asheville has a great arts scene for a town its size. Recently I began volunteering at Smith-McDowell House; built in 1840, it's the oldest house in Asheville, and I help with house tours, school programs, and the textile collection. I am also in a Scottish country dancing group and have just joined a Renaissance dance group.

I have always loved costuming; I grew up sewing and embroidering more or less at my mother's knee, and when I was in high school I worked at the Northern California Renaissance Faire (the original!), where I was with the Irish and Scottish groups and played fiddle, sang, and danced in their stage shows. In college I was involved in a spinoff of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), a huge medieval re-creation group. And for about fifteen years I sporadically attended the wonderful Gaskell Balls in Oakland, California, which offer Victorian ballroom dancing in formal period dress.

Then I discovered the Greater Bay Area Costumers' Guild. It was their Romantic Poetry Picnic that made me realize there weren't any practical costuming guides on the Net for fairly authentic Regency garb. (The Regency Costume Page was a wonderful resource, but not oriented toward building one's own.) I loosely modeled my site on the Elizabethan Costuming Page, which has a very hands-on approach.

And I've been adding to it ever since.

Music is another great interest. My husband met me ten years ago when he hired me to play guitar and sing in his bar. Soon afterwards we formed the duo Songsmyth; some of our music can be downloaded from here. I have played violin and bodhran (Irish drum), and I love all sorts of music from 1960s rock to Irish ballads to Smashmouth. Perhaps you can hear the Crosby, Stills & Nash influence in my songs.

Finally, I'm sure it will surprise no one to learn that I am a great reader, both fiction and non, and I love crafts of all kinds. I always seem to have ten different projects going, whether needlepoint, sewing, stained glass, or what-have-you. Should I learn ribbon embroidery next, or get more involved in woodworking? I suppose time will tell.

Copyright 1997-2003 by David and Jessamyn Reeves-Brown. All rights reserved.