This past weekend I attended the D/FW Costumers Guild Fantasy Picnic. This is a fun theme as the costume can be anything fancied in the creator’s imagination. Cosplay, Fairies, Elves and more were all welcome. I wanted to create an outfit that could also be worn in the future to other historical events and designed A Peacock Themed Regency Dress and Open Robe.
Many people automatically think that during the Regency period women only wore “sheer white dresses”. That is absolutely not the case. Rich and deep colors abounded. Here are a few extant examples in the purple and green palette that I was seeking.
All images were found on Pinterest.
An excellent post on the history of Kashmiri shawls worn during the Regency period can be found HERE.
Salomé Louise Coulmann, Comtesse Walther by Robert Lefevre, 1811, Versailles
A Peacock Themed Regency Dress and Open Robe
This look was created with two separate patterns.
For the dress, I used McCall’s pattern #7493. The instructions and construction of the dress were fairly straightforward. It would be a good pattern for even a beginner.
Going rogue I combined the two sleeve patterns (from the jacket and the dress) to create the long-sleeved look. The seam was hidden with a bit of gold trim.
I will say that the neckline and where the sleeves sit is VERY wide. The front of the pattern does not show this as the dress is covered by a jacket.
The design of the dress neckline was a bit of a problem for me. My shoulders are somewhat sloped and the neckline/sleeves simply fell off. Despite making a muslin mockup there was nothing I could do, short of majorly altering the pattern, to correct this. I did not have the time to do this. Sadly, I will not be able to wear the dress by itself. But the open robe hid the issue nicely.
So, I will not be making this dress pattern again.
Although I may try the Spencer jacket.
In terms of dresses, I much prefer the Regency pattern I used when creating the Becoming Jane dress.
The dress is made from two sheer cotton Cost Plus World Market curtain panels. They must be vintage as I could not find them on the website. The eggplant and gold fabric feature a peacock block print which was very popular during the Regency period.
The open robe was created from a single vintage sari. I am unsure of the fabric content. It may be silk, it may be rayon or polyester. A burn test could be done but I was not that concerned.
The fabrics were originally found at the thrift store. I paid a total of $9 for both.
The Open Robe
To create the bodice and belt of the open robe, I used vintage Butterick Pattern 4890.
As I did not have enough sari fabric the bottom portion of the open robe has a shorter train.
I paid close attention to fabric placement on both the front and back bodice of the open robe.
My main focus was that the placement of the peacocks was pleasing in the highly visible areas. But this meant the side seams (under the armpit) of the bodice did not quite match up.
So I opted to take a section of the border trim and turn it under by 1/4″ and stitch it in place. This covered everything nicely and added a bit of flair.
You can only see the finished side view when I am in motion. But I am glad I took the time to do this.
Here is the back view of the bodice.
Where are my ladies in waiting? The train is all ASKEW!
You can also glimpse a bit of the turban I covered my hair with.
A Regency Turban
The turban-like hat was called a turquerie. The fashion stemmed from the vast trading that was ongoing with India and Turkey during the 18th and 19th centuries. The turbans were often decorated with plumes and beads.
Portrait of Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay and her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray, c.1778, David Martin.
Portrait of a Lady in Red, Full Length, Leaning on a Column With a Landscape Beyond, Bergamo 1800 – 1883 Bologna, Pietro Luchini
The Fantastical Peacock Headpiece
In order to fit in with the “Fantasy Theme” of the Saturday picnic. I thought just adding a crazy headpiece would do the trick.
Lately, I have been very short on free time. This is due to several large work projects, a bathroom update at Storybook Cottage and the ongoing college search with Sweet Guy. I didn’t even give the headpiece a second thought until late Friday afternoon.
I decided to go for a Wooded Queen of the Peacocks look.
I simply removed the original white dove and added various colors of blue, green, purple and gold spray paint.
Then I glued on one of the peacocks that were originally used on my 2015 Christmas mantel.
My crowning glory!
I hope you have enjoyed A Peacock Themed Regency Dress and Open Robe. Special thanks to my friend Barbara for taking the photos.
I will be back tomorrow with some of the fanciful costumes worn by other truly talented guild members.