(Did you see what I did there? I know, groan, groan.)
After much trepidation, I finally have begun work on my Regency gowns. I’m using Laughing Moon #126 for the gown(s) and Laughing Moon #132 for my petticoat. I had Anthony Canney of House of Canney make my short stays. I guess I’ll need a chemise too — again Laughing Moon.
This is a new historical era for me. I have been interested in Regency for a while but never tried it. As a busty, hippy gal, the empire silhouette didn’t strike me as one that would really do me a ton of favors. I wasn’t inspired either. Over time I looked at more Regency plates and examples and finally got inspired. I’m also ready to branch out from Victorian and Edwardian.
My plan for Regency is to make a test day dress / undergarments and then, based on what I learn there, to move forward to sewing a ball gown from a vintage sari. I’ll be doing it all with the machine. Modern methods only for me! My plan is to have the ball gown ready for Costume College at the end of July. I’m leaving for the UK in about a week. A friend just told me about a Georgian picnic at Fenton House. This picnic sounds really cool but the only thing I have vaguely from that era is Rococopunk. I just don’t feel like hauling that to the UK this time. Then I realized I could probably push myself to complete my Regency test dress. I never think of the Regency as being part of the Georgian era but, of course, it is!
I already had done a little Regency work by mocking up the bodiced petticoat. I found that I needed to go up a size all around on that piece. I took that information to the test gown and made my mock up accordingly. Things looked pretty good except for right in the front. With my narrow back and generous cleavage I didn’t feel like I had enough coverage under the bib of the gown. Rather than going up another size I opted to extend the fronts by 1/2 an inch. This seemed like a workable solution.
For the test I’m using a really lovely 60 wide wedgwood blue burnout lawn from Fashion Fabrics Club. I got a super deal on it at only $1.99 a yard. I also bought the same lawn in black for a planned Edwardian mourning ensemble. The black wasn’t on super sale though but it was still a good deal at $4.95. The hand and drape of this fabric is perfect for Regency. It’s not bad to sew but a bit on the delicate side versus what I’m used to. It also prefers a very sharp needle.
So far the construction on this dress is going really well. I’ve found the instructions to be pretty easy to follow and the pieces to match nicely as long as you use all the dots and notches. The pattern instructions are actually all printed together on one giant sheet. You can use them that way or cut them all apart (cut lines are printed). It is way too unwieldy to try to use them all connected. Plan on cutting them out some evening in front of the TV.
Not surprisingly, I found setting the sleeves difficult. This is one place where I found the instructions a bit vexing. It is very easy to get your left and right sleeve reversed. I suggest you baste these on and check before proceeding. My fabric is opaque enough that I am doing french seams with the serger in places where it matters (like the skirt seams). It’s a nice, if a bit bulky, finish.
The pattern tells you to understitch the neckline. I’d never actually heard of this technique but it’s really great. This keeps your lining from rolling and peeking out at the neckline. Colette has a very nice and easy tutorial on how to do this. Clever!
Right after I took this progress photo I figured out that I’d sewn the skirt on incorrectly. Whoops!
I put a good 5 or so hours of sewing in today and a couple the other day. I’ve made super progress. I’ve heard this is a fast sew and once you get on with it, I tend to agree. I’m ready to sew on the front bib, some ties, the hem and hand sewing. That’s pretty much all I need to do to finish. I’m not sure if I’m going to do any trim or not. I’m considering a bit of self trim at the bottom of the sleeve but that’s about it for this guy. The fabric is very pretty as is. I can always update anyway.
I hope to get this done in the next day or so!