Saturday, November 9, 2013

A look at my new regency bits.

For the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Halloween ball I attended recently, I had to come up with a new wardrobe quite quickly. I put the most time into the short stays, as I figured I should do them properly and be able to use them again. I used the Sense and Sensibility pattern for this. 

I have read conflicting stories about whether short stays did or did not exist during the regency. The pattern says they did, and it was based on an extant example. Of course, I don't know what year this was. Regardless of authenticity, I chose short stays because they are small and went together quickly, even hand sewn.

I did the channels in a running stitch and corded them with doubled, sport weight cotton yarn. I did some quilting in the panels, too, but it's very hard to see in these photos. The stays are made of a layer or cotton lining, twill interlining, and linen on the exterior.

One note about this pattern. For my size (at least), even when boned, the center front bowed out when worn and didn't lay against the chest, to allow the gussets to separate the boobs. It did lift, though... If I made this pattern again, I might forgo the gussets and use gathered cups instead. Just a thought.

I will say, though, it was very comfortable and fit well, even while bouncing around dancing. 

For the dress, I chopped my basic 18th century bodice, changing the back seams (and everything else by the end, of course lol!). I tried to go for the 1799-1802 look, judging by fashion plates. I constructed it using 18th century techniques.

By no means am I saying this was how regency dresses were constructed. I really didn't know how and needed a dress lickity split, so my logic was a) I get how 18th century dresses were made (mostly the regency era sleeve and shoulder area was where I was clueless), and b) my 1790's dress was made this way... so perhaps it carried on a few years later and I suppose it's logical to think in 1799, a dress could have been constructed like this. Transitional fashion? I don't know...

Not to mention, what I could machine sew (without it showing), I absolutely did. Which is why the gathers are kind of ugly.  Oh well, speedy speedy... I can always take it apart one day.

A few things I do know about this era of dressmaking, which I learned at the Road to Regency Symposium, are evident in the front of the gown. 

First, the front panel of the skirt is cut like 18th century petticoats, in that you slash the top couple inches to allow for a better drape. You can kind of see this through the sheer fabric, in the photo. When I wore it, the white under layers made this invisible, as were the seams and selvages, which are very evident against the dark background, in these photos. 

Second, the bodice front. The bodice crosses under the bib and is fastened with pins, over which the front, which is cut on the bias, for a better fit, is pinned. 

Third, the skirt panels are cut appropriately. The front is a narrow rectangle, the back is a wider rectangle and the sides are a rectangle cut diagonally, arranged so the narrow portion is at the waist and the wider at the hem, to keep as much bulk away from the waist as possible, while allowing the hem to be full.

The petticoat is cut the same way, but minus the bodice and it has shoulder straps. It can be partially seen in the topmost photo. It closes in the back.

I wish I paid more attention to the Regency info at the symposium. I took notes, but I was more enthralled with the late 18th century stuff and my attention was all to that. Ah well.

And below are a couple better pictures of my new knitted, beaded reticule. I am not a knitter really, so this was really fun to make. No pattern. I just loaded up some beads, cast on some crochet thread to the thinnest needles I had, and started going. It's a tiny little thing, but I have heard reticules being described as frivolous and just big enough to hold a few coins. I love stuff like that. 

And I'm really liking knitting more. Annnnddd, it's really fun to step in to a new era. It always a bit overwhelming, but it's fun to have new things to be inspired about.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Ball

After the last ball I went to, at Gadsby's, I was super bummed I didn't know any of the dances, or really how to dance at all. So, this last month, I was motivated to go to a few English Country Dance classes. So fun!

Last night was the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies ball. Mom and I donned our dancing shoes (and fake blood) and had a blast. We dressed turn of the 19th century, inspired by some great fashion plates

The pictures aren't amazing, but it was pretty dim.

I haven't spent very much time researching early 1800's dress construction, so for the pattern, I took my basic 18th century bodice pattern and hacked it up a bit. I constructed the dress using 18th century techniques, as seemed logical to me, making allowances for a bib front, more period appropriate back seams and the sheer fabric.

I was on a major time constraint with this outfit, so I took a lot of shortcuts, machine stitching as much as I could, like the long seams and even the gathers. I also made a pair of short stays and a petticoat with straps. 

I forgot to take a picture of the short stays (from the Sense and Sensibility pattern), but those I hand sewed. I figured it would be wise to do them properly so I could use them again. Here are a couple in progress shots, from when I was cording them.

Oh! And one from when I had been fitting the dress. And the shift, I picked that up at the Road to Regency Symposium. It was purchased from the Silly Sisters. In hindsight, I probably wore the wrong shift for the dress, because it cuts off halfway down my arm. Oops.

Accessorizing was fun with this outfit. I noticed this side-slung necklace thing going on in a few period fashion plates, like this one. It's so weird. I love it. I added buff-colored, kid skin gloves, a teensy reticule and gladiator-esque flats (beige ghillies).

Special thanks to Jen at Festive Attyre for her great post about easy shawls. I stitched two shawls together to get that decadent length. Speaking of length, the train was not even an issue with the dancing. I pinned the train up during the dancing and it worked out great.

The knit reticule is my submission for the Trystan's Costume Closet October Accessories Challenge. Post on that to come! It's kind of inspired by this extant reticule.

For mom, I took my old Chemise a la Reine and changed the sleeves. I never added a drawstring to the waist, because I was lazy, but that worked out perfect for this. We raised the waistline with silk ribbon, wrapped in imitation of this fashion plate, and this one. I love it! And it kind of has a spider web aesthetic, too. Very appropriate.

The dancing is such fun. I think we will continue to keep up with the classes. Jane Austen Ball in the future perhaps...

Hope everyone had a fun Halloween!