White Cotton 1797 Gown

Ok, this post is a long one, but I hope you’ll think it a good one.

I’m using this as my (slightly belated) entry for the HSM ’16 (Historical Sew Monthly) January challenge: procrastination. Doesn’t it just figure I’m a little late with it o_O

I started this dress for last year’s challenge: out of your comfort zone, back in……May? April? Something like that. Considering I was feverishly working on finishing my PhD thesis at that time I wasn’t about to take on a whole new branch of sewing/needlework for this challenge. Instead I decided to take on one historical sewing technique that had long fascinated me but I’d been unsure of trying for some reason. The technique is a particular way of seaming bodices in the late 18th century. It consists of finishing the separate pieces of the bodice with their linings and then sewing them together with a very scant seam allowance (you’ll see what I mean in a moment).

The style of the dress is from (goddess) Norah Waugh’s Cut of Women’s Clothes, the 1797 open gown:

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Regency Ball Ensemble Post #4: The Ballgown!

I saved posting about the actual gown for the Regency Ball so that I could make it my entry for the last Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge of the year, #26: Celebrate!

One of the ‘rules’ of the HSF is that items should not be finished more than about 6 weeks before the challenge due date (I think).  This one just made it in being finished a little over 5 weeks beforehand.  Even if it hadn’t quite fit in I probably would have cheated and entered it anyway because it was too perfect not too, being made explicitly for a celebration.  And not just any celebration, but the commemoration of bicentennial of one of the most influential books on current costume afficiandos: Pride & Prejudice.

I would have preferred more and better photos for this post, but for now the ones we were able to get in the low lighting of the ‘ballroom’ will have to do.

Here are the HSF details:

The Challenge: #26: Celebrate!

The Item: Regency Ballgown (& ensemble) for a ball in honour of the bicentennial of P&P’s first publishing

Fabric: pale blue dupioni (but a very smooth one), silk organza from an Indian shawl, ,

Pattern: I started with Sense and Sensibility’s Elegant Lady’s Closet bodice pattern for the wrap gown and ball sleeves as a base but modified them a great deal and took off from there on my own.

Year: c. 1813

Notions: ivory and gold trim bought in Istanbul, little buttons for the back closure and for the neckline pull-backs at the shoulders, narrow gold trim/thread I braided to trim the front edges of the overlay and the loops at the shoulders, pale blue braid trim (possibly vintage) for around the neckline and sleeve bands.

How historically accurate is it? It’s mostly machine sewn (I didn’t have time to hand-sew it up) with hand-sewn details so big points off for that.  And it’s a mish-mash of dates spanning c. 1800 to almost 1820.  The trim is made of synthetic fibres too.  However, besides that I have to say that I think many a young lady during the Regency period would have been happy to wear this dress so I’ll give myself 70%.

Hours to complete: Quite a lot over 3 weeks

First worn: November 30th to the local Regency Ball

Total cost: All came from stash so no money spent directly on this.  I would estimate a total of about $50-$60 thinking back on when I did buy this stuff and the amounts of it I used on the dress.

It was a very windy evening and we were having hair issues to begin with (the rag curls I tried to do didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped) so my hair is not nearly what I wish it to have been, but oh well.

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Regency Ball Ensemble Post #3: The Turban!

After the dress, this piece was my favourite one to make for the ensemble.  Hats and headwear are just so much fun to do!

I’m also entering this one for the Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #25: One Metre

Here are the specs:

The Challenge: #25: One Metre – use only 1 metre of fabric or less, and preferably not tons of trimming

Fabric: less than 1 metre of pale blue silk dupioni (or shantung – it’s very smooth)

Pattern: None, but I used information from The Oregon Regency Society

Year: c. 1813

Notions: approx. 1m of trim, 1 feather, 1 tassel, 1 button, 1 piece of found-object jewellery, fabric scraps

How historically accurate is it? the foundation of the hat is machine sewn, but the rest is draped and hand-sewn; this conforms not badly with styles and materials from the time, so I’m giving it 70%

Hours to complete: approx. 5hrs (give or take)

First worn: November 30th to the local Regency Ball

Total cost: All made from scraps and stash items, so $0

Being historical-hair-impaired I am grateful that turbans were such a big thing for Regency formalwear, and so many of them are such fun!  Since I was already playing rather fast and loose with the date of my Ballgown, I wasn’t particular about the specific date for my turban, choosing inspiration according to what took my fancy instead.

Here are some examples I felt particularly drawn to

ba3-18hd

from La Belle Assemblee, April 1818

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Regency Ball Ensemble Post #2: Fur Muff

My Regency Blog ensemble posts must seem very out of order or terribly teasing.  The reason is that I’m posting items according to the remaining 2013 Historical Sew Fortnightly challenges.  By a happy coincidence, this ensemble fulfills the criteria for the final four challenges of the year.
Here’s where the fur muff fits in.  What does a fur muff have to do with a Regency Ball ensemble, you might ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.  Although according to the calendar Winter doesn’t start until late December, practically speaking it starts late November where I live.  I knew there was going to be a little walking involved in getting me from the place where I dressed to the Ball itself and wanted a cohesive whole.  I’m sure you can now start to see where I’m going here.  Because I had lots of the main fabric for my dress left over (it was the original choice for my upcoming Garrison Ball gown so there was 9m of it at 54″ wide) I made a matching/co-ordinating hooded cloak and a fur muff lined with scraps from the dress fabric.
Here are the HSF deets:
Challenge: #24: Re-Do – Challenge #7: Accessorize

Year: Made to go with Regency attire but almost any, really

Pattern: None

Supplies: Silk fabric, wool batting, recycled (reclaimed?) fur from an old coat/jacket

Historical Accuracy: meh. It’s a combination of machine and hand sewing

Hours to complete: about 2-3 hrs

Total cost: all made from leftover bits, so I’m gonna say $0

First worn: November 30, 2013 to the local Regency Ball

Here is what I started out with:

IMG_0387

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Regency Ball Ensemble, Post #1: Shoes!!

My work on the Tree Gown has been neglected much of November because of something that came up.  In late October a friend alerted me to a program being run by our local library system for the month of November commemorating the bicentennial Pride & Prejudice’s first publication.  There were events scattered throughout the month (that I didn’t make it to), culminating in Regency Ball the evening of November 30th!  There is also a dance workshop happening for it earlier the same day.  I signed up for both!  The Ball is being held at City Hall.  The building dates from the 1840s, but I’m willing to let that slide ;o)

[photo of Kingston City Hall]
This is the room the Ball will be held in:
red boot festival
So, long story short, this impending event meant that I decided I needed a Regency Ball ensemble.  The Regency dress I already have just wasn’t gonna cut it.  I’m betting hardly anyone else would notice too much, but it felt like too good an opportunity to pass up.

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HSF Challenge #20: Outerwear, 1880s Dolman Part Deux

Hopefully I can get the rest of what I have to say and show about my new Dolman into this second post (it would seem a bit silly to have 3 posts just about a seemingly simple-ish cape/jacket thing).  It’s probably going to be just a bit long and image-heavy, though.  If you’re just joining me now, this project is for Challenge #20 of the Historical Sew Fortnightly, which is Outerwear.  You can check out Part One of my Dolman adventure here

I’ll start this post off with the required specs for the HSF Challenge:

  • Challenge: #20 – Outerwear
  • Year: 1888
  • Pattern: Ageless Patterns #1271 1888 Plush Wrap
  • Fabric: Cotton Velvet/Velveteen, Silk Charmeuse, woven interfacing
  • Notions: 7 buttons (plus one extra), upholstery braid approx. 7m, bead fringe trim approx. 7m, velvet ribbon approx. 3.5m
  • Historical Accuracy: Ummm……..let’s say 75% – ish?  I used a pattern lifted directly from an original (or supposed to be), a combination of machine & hand sewing, fairly period appropriate or at least plausible fabrics.  However, the trimming isn’t quite right and the fabrics aren’t likely 100% right.
  • Hours to complete: lots over the course of 2 weeks
  • Total cost: I’m going to guess approx. $100 overall, over the course of some years.  The velvet has been in the stash several years, the silk only a few months, the trim was bought for the project.
  • First worn: last weekend – keep reading or scrolling down to see!

So, where did I leave off…..oh yeah, the sleeve construction.  I decided probably the easiest way to explain how the sleeves get sewn into the body of the Dolman is to draw a little diagram.  This is an outline tracing of the pattern image, the dotted lines in black and red are my additions.  The dotted black line is the Dolman armhole (probably pretty obvious) and the red dotted line represents how the sleeve is attached to the body of the Dolman.  The space towards the back of the armhole is intentionally not dotted red because the sleeve is not sewn all the way around the armhole.  I hope this makes sense, along with a couple of photos towards the bottom of this post.  If it seems like I’m over-explaining this, it’s really just because of how long it took me to realize how this works, lol.

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