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Friday, October 16, 2015

Becoming Jane - Creating a Regency Day Dress on a Budget

In selecting a style of Regency gown to make I had to decide between three categories; undress, half-dress and full dress.

This is the style i will be making for my mum for February, with an elbow length, 18thC style sleeve, as per the 1790s style gown.  She wants a flat front.:

Undress, contrary to what it sounds like, consisted of simple frocks worn in the morning, primarily in the home. They were generally made of simple cotton muslin without any trim or ornamentation.

Half-dress included dresses worn in the afternoon to events such as ladies teas, weddings, promenades, and carriage rides. The dresses were still often made from cotton muslin but would feature the addition of lace, ribbon and perhaps a bit of a train. In addition, a hat and gloves would have been worn. Other accessories included simple jewelry, parasols, fans and reticules (purses).

CUSTOM The Seashore Teal Striped Regency dress in striped cotton of your choice on Etsy, $165.00:

Full Dress was reserved for gowns to be worn to evening events such as a ball, lavish dinner party or attending the theater or opera. Most gowns were made of silk and heavily embellished. Evening gloves were required and perhaps a fancy headdress. Jewels were acceptable as were boas and shawls.

The hand sewn Regency silk ball gown, by Edelweiss Patterns.

Looking into the supplies I had on hand I found four yards of lightweight cotton white drapery liner and some antique cotton lace. Based on the materials I decided to go with the style of half dress to be worn at afternoon events.

Jane Austen 012

I purchased the Simplicity pattern #4055  at Joann’s during a 99 cent sale.

Traditionally, maidens wore white and light pastel colored gowns. Matrons, such as myself,  would wear Jonquil yellow, Pomoma green, red, blue and lavender.  Based on my favorite fashion plates below can you guess the color I selected for my gown?

purple! I have taffeta this color, but it looks like it might be made of a softer fabric. 1797 Journal des Luxus und der Moden:

Costume Parisian 1801-02  from the collection of the Bibliothèque des Arts Décoratifs, on flickr by SceneInThePast:

English fashion plates from 1802 and French fashion plates from Year 10 (1801-1802) of the French Republican Calendar. All images come from the collection of the Bibliothèque des Arts Décoratifs.

Periwinkle Blue! The above images also made me think that I HAD to have a train. Going through my linens I found an old tablecloth that I just couldn’t bear to throw out, despite the rips, as the embroidery was so lovely. To achieve a periwinkle blue shade I purchased one packet of Rit Royal Blue Dye and Dylon Ocean Blue Dye and combined the two in the washer. Using a coupon my cost was under $5.00.

Here’s how the tablecloth looked after the dye bath.

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I made the view A dress with view B sleeves that were shortened to elbow length. With a bit of careful cutting the tablecloth train came out beautifully. Here is a sneak peek of a lovely bit of the back.

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I also adore the scalloped trim on the sleeves.

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I promise a full reveal is coming soon. But up next…. a Regency era reticule (purse).



Silvana Joanne said...

How beautiful! I love that color and can't wait to see the full reveal :-) You're very talented! I wouldn't even know where to start!

Auntie Em said...

Your gown is so pretty! I love the way you used a tablecloth which wouldn't be able to go to the party with all its signs of age but when sewn into a beautiful gown it becomes Cinderella and shall go to the afternoon tea after all. :) The sleeves and covered buttons make the gown look so well finished.
Now to wait to see the bonnet!
Thank you for sharing your beautiful work for us to admire :)

Lisa said...

Laura you amaze me we your make do spirit! The tablecloth is gorgeous and you achieved the perfect shade of blue with the dye. This is a stunner! Great job!

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Oh my word, you create the most beautiful dresses. I can't wait to see more.

Linda said...

Well, I'm not familiar with this character or any of this, but the dress you made is outstanding!! :)

Pat@Life At Lydias House said...

I can't wait to see the entire dress!

Karena Albert said...

So excited to seethe finish as I know it will be gorgeous!! You are amazing laura!!

The Arts by Karena

GSGreatEscaper said...

My word, Laura, what a marvel of industry you are. Here I am feeling accomplished because I washed a wastebasket (but I am awaiting delivery of a yard of gravel to be moved by little old me!)

Have you read the Regency Romances of Georgette Heyer? You must have! If not, please find one - Venetia would be a good choice - and perhaps you will be hooked as have been many of the best readers and writers of the 20th, and now 21st century. JA + slang + a bit of the war and politics dear Jane ignored....

Vel Criste said...

I can't wait to see it Laura, knowing you, it will be beautiful!

Karen Hess said...

I'm in absolute awe of the time and attention you give to every, fashion, decor. You are fabulous. Add in the "budget" aspect and it's off the hook! Needless to say, I can't wait to see you in full dress and accoutrements! Beautiful!!

Judy Ann Lincicum said...

Now this is a post with contents I can utterly get into! Love period pieces of any kind, and movies too! I'm so glad we have further posts to look forward to, dear Laura! Seeing the way my beautiful apron turned out, this dress will be a work of art! Thank you for this, I'm throughly enjoying the subject matter!

CarolynB said...

It;s already gorgeous, can't wait for the finished product!!

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

The dress seems beautiful and I adore each of your inspiration picture!

Lana L. said...

How lovely! I envy people who can sew. Can't wait to see the whole dress!

Sandi said...

Everyone was so fancy back in the day. How did we become a nation of flip-flops and t-shirts? ;-) said...

Fabulous my dear...just fabulous!

GSGreatEscaper said...

Your button back looks better than the original because there's no gappage - it lies quite flat!