Wednesday, 14 November 2018

A White Regency Evening Gown

This gown has been a long time made now! I purchased the fabric while on holiday with my family nearly 2 years ago now, sewed it during the following year, and I have finally had the opportunity to  wear and photograph it! Last month we had our first Historical Weekend in a beautiful cottage on lovely grounds up the coast. Our Sunday meal was designated as a Regency Tea, which was incredibly fun! Not only did we all have gowns to wear that suited the era, our amazing Nina and Leimomi organised some gorgeous dishes for the meal in keeping with the style...who knew cucumber could be dressed so many ways?! I will be including some more photos from the weekend in future posts, assuming I manage to get some kind of organisation in my life! But for now, I'll feature the regency gown.

I have to thank these five lovely ladies. We are all from different backgrounds, different ages and stages in life, but they all welcome each other and make each person feel special and valued. This is the first real photo shoot I've done, with lots and lots to learn about how to pose and what to do with your face!! It can only get better...

This is also the first regency gown that I have made. I bought a very light textured cotton, almost like a muslin, with a self sprig on it. I bought the Fig Leaf pattern for an 1810 short sleeved front opening dress. The pattern will be on my pattern review page, but it was very good and the author is very available for questions. The original dress it is taken from would have been a size 14, so I cut the size 8.

The pattern asked for 5 2/3 yards of fabric for sizes 8 - 28 (there's a problem right there). As I bought the fabric before the pattern, I had bought 3m of 150cm wide cotton. With careful cutting I managed to fit it in with not much to spare! I don't know what I would have done with the remaining 2 yards, as I didn't cut anything smaller or piece anything.

I didn't need to alter it much at all, except to tighten the waist by moving the waist hook over further. It has a centre front opening, which is historically accurate. The bodice closes by pinning the linen lining one side over the other, then the top fabric has a draw-string at the neckline and a hook-and-eye at the waistband. The skirt is unlined, requiring a petticoat of course. It could have possibly done with a fine lining of lawn perhaps to help with the body of the skirt having a little more substance, while still being draped and floaty.

I wore it with my regency shift, short stays, petticoat, and silk American Duchess stockings and slippers. My favourite winter scarf opens out to by my shawl. Leimomi did my hair with roses picked from the cottage garden and the jewellery are vintage replicas my sister gifted me about 10 years ago.

I decided to completely handsaw the gown as I usually do. It's a gorgeous fabric to sew, so I used a fine cotton thread and mostly a running backstitch for the long seams, and a backstitch for the arm and bodice seams. It was easy to close, and most importantly, easy to take off at the end of the evening!

The last 2 items to compete the picture will be a Regency Bonnet and a Reticule, both of which we attempted to make during our weekend away...but only got a fraction done of course.

Regency Gown

Sadly my curls didn't last!

Conversation under the trees

On the edge of the cricket pitch

Far too much laughter for serious photos

Promenading around the cricket pitch

Conversation by the vineyard

Along the formal gardens

Some of the back of sleeve detail

Some of us couldn't keep a straight face

I think there may be ants in my hair...
It's ok, they don't look like they will bite

Lets get them out anyway...

Thanks for the fun, girls!

Sunday, 12 August 2018

4 Day Pirate Costume

Everyone loves a challenge...right?

Our newly formed/re-formed Historical Sewing group organiser Leimomi, invited us to a Pirate Picnic...with four days notice. Bless.

Friday, 20 April 2018

A Regency Petticoat

Satire of regency women's fashion
The regency love of all things classical wasn't always suited to life in Britain. Ancient Greece maybe. Even 'current' day Italy. But thing were a little cooler, damper and less comfortable in England for the ideal image of the casually draped whispy sheet over the girlishly youthful figure that society sought to emulate.