Pre-festival Workshops

Many past attendees have asked us to hold longer workshops than the typical 1.5hr workshop time during the festival proper. Below are sewing, dancing and theatre workshops scheduled for Thursday 20 April 2017 at the Canberra Baptist Church in Kingston. Please enrol ASAP so we can send you information booklets and/or arrange catering for morning and afternoon tea.

Festival dance Three-Eras in One Day

For novices and experienced dancers alike to enjoy building skills and exploring steps, figures and repertoire ahead of the festival proper at the Albert Hall. While some use other rooms in this lovely venue for pre-Festival costuming workshops, we’ll use the main hall for dancing. We’ll cater for all levels, and devote:
9:15-10:30 to the Georgian era,
11:00-12:30 to the Napoleonic era,
1:30-3:00 to the 
late-Regency/early Victorian-era, and
3:30-5:00 to revision, extension and possible display review (with a role for
We’ll offer free refreshments and snacks. The venue has a lovely picnic area and Kingston Shops are just two minutes walk for those wanting to purchase a meal.
$30 if booked as part of the JAFA session registration
$90 for general attendance from non-JAFA ticket holders


These are 1-day workshops designed so that you can finish the project on the same day. Attendees need to have some prior sewing knowledge and bring a sewing kit, fabric and a working sewing machine.


9.00-5.00 Pre-festival 1/2 and 1-day workshops – sewing, dancing and acting. Morning and afternoon teas provided, there are shops nearby for lunch or you can bring your own. Tickets for Thursday are not included in the 3-day Season Pass.

$75, Book as part of your JAFA session registration at


The Laughing Moon spencer pattern has taken the Regency dressing community by storm. It is well researched, with a full range of sizing. The instructions are very clearly presented, and it is a jacket that has some ‘forgiveness’ built in with its fastenings. For those of you with dressmaking experience, it will be a straight forward sewing task, though there are some parts of the instructions that do skim over assumed knowledge. Together let us make you a spencer in a day!
Pattern Information: Ladies’ Regency Wrapping Front Spencer with 4 Collar and 3 Back
Variations c. 1798-1809 All Views and Spencer jackets. They all have a wrapping front. View A has a ruffled collar. View B has a long falling collar and a ruffled back. View C has a tall falling collar and pleats at the center back. You can also opt to omit the falling part of the collar and have just a standing collar. There is also an option for a lower neckline with no collar. All Views have a two piece sleeve with attached cuff. All Bodices have four total darts. The darts can be converted to gathers.
Fabric: wool, cotton, linen, or silk View C is best made with wool because of the construction of the high collar. Printed or figured, striped
or plain, embroidered, spangled, or all over motifs.
Interfacing: View B—Hair Canvas. View C—Linen collar interfacing.
Lining: unbleached muslin or silk Habotai (China Silk).
Notions: 2 yards cotton or linen 3/8″ tape.
Adrienne Unger began sewing in her early teens, and has never stopped. With small children at home, she made wedding and bridesmaid dresses and sewed for her family. Later, dancing at Colonial balls inspired her to make her own period gowns, and, keen to learn more, led to her discovery of the TAFE Diploma of Theatre Costume -a four year vocational training course in costume design and construction – from which she graduated with Distinction. Adrienne now runs a small costume business from her home, mostly but not exclusively making Regency wear. Dancing and dressing the part continue to be her great pleasures.
Please bring all your own sewing and pattern tracing supplies- ideally thin vilene type fabric for pattern tracing/ toile- about 2 metres each.  You will need a working sewing machine with spare needles. A pattern will be posted out to you on registration as preparation beforehand is required in order to complete the Spencer by the end of the workshop.  Please book early so you have time to purchase all your fabric requirements. 

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Please bring all your own sewing and pattern tracing supplies- ideally thin vilene type fabric for pattern tracing/ toile- about 5 metres each.  You will need a working sewing machine with spare needles. A pattern will be posted out to you on registration as some preparation beforehand is required in order to complete the coat by the end of the workshop. Attendees can choose to make a men’s or women’s coat.
Men’s and Ladies’ Late Georgian and Regency Greatcoat and Garrick, c. 1750- 1825.
The pattern contains a Greatcoat which can be cut either single or double breasted and has the choice of a standing or a stand-and-fall collar. Any view, men’s or ladies, can have capes and the capes can be removeable. When paired with either the 3 layer cape or 4 layer cape option it is called a Carrick coat. The instructions include modern (theatrical) collar construction and period pad stitching.
The coat body is the same for either the man’s or ladies’ version with only the sleeves being different. The front of the coat is plain. The back of the coat has pleats, a pocket flap, and pockets at the side backs, near the waist. The center back of the coat can be either finished with a pleat at center back waist and a back vent at the bottom, or finished so that the back is open all the way from the waist to the bottom. For ladies there is an optional belt included. The sleeves are full at the sleeve heads, cut two piece, with a fully functioning large cuff that folds up at the wrist. The sleeves are long, covering part of the hand as was fashionable in the period.
This overcoat is drafted to fit over the men’s garments of the period; shirt, vest, and tailcoat, so there is considerable ease drafted into the overcoat. There can be up to 10 inches of ease, depending on where you measure the body and the breadth of the coat. It is therefore recommended that a muslin be cut of the body of the coat and tried on over the garments intended to be worn under it before choosing a size and cutting your fashion cloth.
The two cape options, 3 or 4 layers, both have a full cape on top and on the bottom, with the middle cape for the 3 cape option, and the middle 2 capes for the 4 cape option, being faux capes. The capes can be cut with either square or rounded front edges.
Fabric: Medium weight wool flannel or wool broadcloth, well fulled. Melton may be too thick if you are using the capes.
Sleeve and Cape Lining: pre-washed linen or cotton.
Interfacing: Medium weight linen. Hair canvas is sold by Spotlight.
Wool Coat Lining: Period-medium weight loosely woven green wool with a high nap. Modern- Self wool, any medium weight wool, linen, silk, or modern polyester lining.
Notions for Capes: An additional optional closure at the neck such as a chain hook and eye, a toggle, or a frog. 1 yard matching single fold bias tape.
Buttons: Single breasted 11 5/8 or 3/4 inch, Double Breasted 16 5/8 or 3/4 inch. If using tab closures you will need the amount of buttons per number of tabs plus 4 for the back. Ladies will perhaps need different amount of buttons depending on the style of closure and if they want a belt. Period buttons should be covered with self fabric or made of metal, bone, or other period materials.

$75, Book as part of your JAFA session registration at

Please book early so you have time to purchase all your fabric requirements as good wool is often sourced from the US – we recommend purchasing wool from Burnley & Trowbridge if you do not have a good store nearby.
Aylwen Gardiner-Garden is a historical costume researcher, maker and teacher from Canberra, where she also organises historical dance and costume events, as well as being the Director of Jane Austen Festival Australia since 2008. In 2015-16 she taught historic costume workshops, did further research on historic clothing in the US and attended Costume College in LA as a scholarship recipient, taught historic sewing workshops in Germany and looks forward to sharing her experience with you in 2017.

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Have fun learning the fundamentals of impro theatre in a fun and supportive environment with optional performance opportunity.

ImproACT will teach the fundamentals of improvisation – responding to spontaneous suggestions, thinking on your feet, character building, narrative, how to build on a story and keep it moving along etc. The workshop will be aimed at people who have never done impro before so there is no expectation that people will have any performance or theatrical experience. Workshop participants who demonstrate enthusiasm and aptitude will be invited to perform alongside experienced players in the Friday evening performance.  

$30, Book as part of your JAFA session registration at



Please bring a potluck contribution for a shared buffet dinner from 5.30pm, your last-minute sewing, dance shoes waiting to be worn and collect your registration packs. Tea, coffee and hot mulled apple juice provided.
Book as part of your JAFA registration.