Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Regency Inside-Out

This is by far the simplest garment I think I've ever made.  It has no lining, drawstrings and gathering to adjust fit, and mostly geometrical shapes.  The gown was draped in a B&T workshop, but I've adjusted the pattern for my second muslin gown and will probably do the same for the taffeta.  It's all made from a brown cotton muslin with a small stripe running through it.

The fronts run straight over the shoulders, extending to the back similar to 18th century gowns.  The center front piece is just a long rectangle gathered to the underbust band on bottom and drawstringed on top.  Getting the band measurement correct is really the most specific part of the whole gown.  The front area of the skirt is left flat, some gowns don't start pleats until the half-way point.

Sleeves do have a fair amount of head on them (curve on top), but being gathered in at top and bottom it's more for volume than allowing for movement.  The cuff here is fitted snugly to the arm to keep the "poof" up.  You can choose to drawstring the hem instead.

The back I fastened with hooks and eyes, using the drawstring which starts in the front pieces to tie the very top off.  You can see where the front pieces attach, not terribly far back.  Again, personal choice.  My next gown has a much more severe diamond shape to the back pieces.

I used the underbust band to finish off the edges inside.  The seams I felled, but since the fabric wasn't prone to fraying I left the armscye and the skirt seams raw.  Small eyelets in the front rolled edge and on the left back neck allow the linen tape to exit the channel unnoticed.

There's no easy way to photograph it, but you can see at least one skirt seam here.  The skirt is made of four pieces.  The front angles out toward the hem, the two side pieces have one straight edge at the front and a more severely sloped back edge, the back piece is rectangular with an opening slit cut in the center back.  It's just one way to do it, you can use as few or as many as you would like in reality.  The top needs to be smaller than the hem unless you want to look extra poofy and there needs to be some angling out at the hips (or pleating over the sides).  I don't recall measures of this gown skirt or the other muslin, but I'll be sure to keep track on the taffeta.  Some of it depends on the fabric width.

I threw together a pair of long sleeves the morning of the event.  I simply measured the sleeve band and my wrist for width (loosely at the wrist so the hand can fit through).  It flares out 1" after the wrist to fit long over the hand.  Very simple shape with only one seam which quickly whips to the permanent sleeve bands.  Making it on the diagonal allowed for a tighter wrist fit.

13 comments:

Melinda said...

Thank You I just love this dress, I guess I am going to have to make this one. Love your Blog! you do such wonderful work.

Melinda said...

Is this dress hand stitched? As I looked at the photos close up it looked as if you hand stitche the entire dress! I am sure you did. it being a Regency dress and all. I will be making me one very soon. Thanks again. yes this is my second comment.

ColeV said...

Yep, all hand-sewn. I can't remember the last time I used a machine for my own garments!

Kleidung um 1800 said...

Thanks for the detailed description. Lovely dress!
Sabine

ZipZip said...

Such a pretty dress and the simplicity and economy of cut amazes me, for it gives a really good line.

To what span of years during the Regency would you say this dress would date?

Thanks kindly,

Natalie

ColeV said...

Roughly 1805-15. Being fairly plain and simple it's hard to pinpoint an exact year (which makes it more versatile!).

Kendra said...

You both look fabulous!

The Dreamstress said...

What a fabulously effective dress. I particularly like it with the long sleeves. How long did it take you to put it together? Is it based on any particular extent examples?

ZipZipInkspot said...

Thank you so much!

ColeV said...

It was one of the few garments that actually came out of the weekend workshop finished (aside from hemming). Very quick and easy. I do have one fashion plate which looks extremely similar in cut and style. The only differences are that it has long sleeves, a bit of trimming at the hems, and it's dotted instead of striped. From The Lady's Magazine, November 1812.

Kleidung um 1800 said...

b.t.w. may I ask where you get the period hooks & eyes from?! Over here (Germany) I've only seen the ones with the loop shaped eyes, not those flat ones.
Thanks,
Sabine

ColeV said...

The straight eyes just came in the normal package along with the loops as well. I usually prefer to make thread eyes, however. Stitch a length over the spot with three or four strands, then knot around it like making a bride on a shirt slit. It blends in better.

Lady D said...

It looks like a nice simple gown. I've been trying to find a more authentic regency dress style (that's forgiving for my shape) that the quick pattern I bought from burda. This looks like it might work. Quick question the drawstring channels is that self fabric bias binding or just been folded over?