Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Regency essentials: A little white dress - part II

Alright, here comes the second part of the post about my little white regency dress, with pictures of it being worn. The following few photos were taken after returning from an event so please excuse my poor curls that have loosened in damp weather. We quickly pinned them up because they were way too long for the correct look (although my hair was too long to create proper regency side curls anyhow). 

Noora kindly let me borrow her long-sleeved chemisette and bonnet for our event so I could complete my day look. Doesn't that bonnet just look great!

In these photos you can see that the sleeves aren't as puffy as they ought to be. I didn't add a lining to the sleeves because I wanted them to be sheer but without any support the fabric was too thin to hold up the shape of the sleeves properly. 

I loved this silly look! I know it isn't a flattering look to modern eyes but I don't care! ;)

And here you can see my underwear that I was wearing under the dress. I made a shift with short sleeves, short stays with a front closure and added more tucks to my already existing petticoat. The front lacing of the stays is very practical for getting dressed on your own, however, it doesn't create the correct separation effect that a proper busk would. 

Even though I haven't personally worn this dress again, it luckily hasn't lingered in my closet completely unused! Mia borrowed it for the Jane Austen ball at Skokloster Castle in Sweden last year. She looked absolutely lovely in it! And isn't her pineapple reticule just adorable!

It was fun to see someone else wearing my dress. 

The dress fit surprisingly well for Mia. It was maybe just a tad short, even if regency ball gowns could actually be quite short.

Mia wore a chemise (dated 1820-1840) that I made from the Regency Women's Dress book (see pages 12-13) and gave to her. The pattern was unaltered so it's a direct copy from the book. 

The chemise worked really well under this gown as it supported the puffy sleeves quite well, so the sleeves actually looked nicer this time!

In case you're interested in reading about the construction of this gown, check out my previous blog pos about it.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Photos from L'Amusette's spring ball at Haihara Manor, 2017.

This time I'm here to share some pictures from a ball more than a year ago. (Better late than never, right?) I've already posted about this event once before - it's an annual masquerade ball hosted by the dance group L'Amusette every spring in Haihara Manor in Tampere, Finland. I've been lucky enough to be able to go every year since they started organizing it since 2013 and it's always the highlight of the spring. :) As usual, I was way too busy enjoying the event to take of pictures during the official program but I did take some outfit photos of my friends and they turned out nicely so I'm excited to share them with you. At the end of this post you can also see a couple of photos (by Markku Arvonen) of the actual program.

Mia (@ohgloomysunday) had made a new gown and a utterly fabulous cap which I adore! The first photo is also possibly my all time favorite photo I've captured of her.

Noora totally rocked the 1790s look - she always looks like a vision in her empire dresses and like she has just stepped out of one of the period fashion plates! You can see more pictures of her outfit on her blog.

At this ball we had the pleasure of meeting Anna-Mari (aka @mollamaricreations) for the first time in real life. She has since become a regular member of our 18th century sewing gang in Finland. She such a talented crafts person and an inspiration! ;)

Since she doesn't have her own costume blog, I must share with you several pictures of her outfit. I just can't believe this was her first 18th century gown! Well, technically it was the second but I'm not counting the one she had made years before joining the world of historical costuming.

By the way, she based her gown on the robe à l'Anglaise pattern (diagram XXII) in The Cut of Women's Clothes. It's the same pattern I scaled up for my brown Indienne print gown - it was so much fun to see another version of it come to life!

Mia also made a chemise dress for her little niece. These photos of them turned out so adorable I couldn't pick just one to share!

These pictures remind me of those tender late 18th century mother and child portraits by George Romney and others (you can see more of them on my Pinterest board). I love that even Mia's gown matches with the gown the lady is wearing in the first one!

I wore my robe en chemise which I have already shown you here.  The spring ball always has a different theme and this time it was French revolution - hence the revolutionary accessories in my and other's outfits.

Photo by Markku Arvonen.

This year we also met the lovely twin sisters Essi and Emilia (@loveofcostumes) who attended the ball for the first time.

Photo by Markku Arvonen.

At one point of the event we were horrified to witness the poor King and Queen of France loosing their heads in the (miniature) guillotine.

Photo by Markku Arvonen.

Afterwards the death of the King and Queen was reflected in the color of the food at dinner.

Photo by Markku Arvonen.

Johanna brought her jewelry shop to the event as she often does.

To read another description of this event and see some great detail pictures, go check out Rhia the Evil Dressmaker's blog post.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Regency essentials: A little white dress - part I

Today I'm here to show you a dress that I finished nearly two years ago. I made it for our second Gustavian day event in August 2016 and have, sadly, never worn it since. 

This dress was probably the quickest and easiest gown that I've ever made so it took me less than a week to finish. I should definitely make more regency gowns just because it's so relaxing! :)

The bodice has a crossover front. Later on I learned that for a more typical early 1810s look there should be a small triangle shaped piece (that could also possibly be the front of an under-bodice or under-dress/bodiced petticoat showing) between the sides of the front (see an example of this in the painting a bit further below).

 I scaled up a pattern for the bodice from Period Costume from Stage & Screen: Patterns for Women's Dress 1800-1909 by Jean Hunnisett and altered the front to have a crossover front. The sleeve pattern also came from the same book.

I decorated the neckline with cotton lace with a scalloped edge, to match with the scallops on the hem. 

This type of bodice seems to have been fashionable in the early 1810s. Notice how the neckline is much wider and lower cut than mine.

Portrait of a Lady by François Pascal Simon, Baron Gérard.

The neckline is pretty much the same as in this fashion plate.

Costume Parisien fashion plate, 1810.

My bodice closes with buttons and buttonholes in the back. 

(Please ignore the underpetticoat straps showing through the fabric. I didn't put all my white regency undies on my mannequin so that's why they can be seen here...)

I've also learned that this wasn't a very common closure method, although a lot of historical costumers go for it! I think I've only found four extant dresses a functional button back closure. Different kinds of drawstring closures seem to be much more common in the 1810s and I can totally now see why - they allow for adjust-ability, whereas there's none in button closure.

One example of a drawstring closure of a 1810s dress can be found in Costume in Detail: 1730-1930 by Nancy Bradfield (pages 103-104). (Also notice the corresponding v-neck design on both the front and the back of the gown.)

 I think I've only found four extant dresses a functional button back closure. 

And the fourth example can be found here.

When it comes to the construction of the bodice, I must admit that I totally improvised. Since regency isn't the main period I'm interested in (no suprise there ;)), I've decided I don't need to have as high standards for accuracy as I have with 18th century. Not that I have very high standards of accuracy with 18th century either (although it varies from project to project and apparently seems to get higher with time) but at least it's higher than with regency. With regency I simply cheat as much as I can, without having any too obvious machine sewing showing.

Hence, this bodice is mainly machine-stitched, and it is lined with cotton. Another option would have been to leave the bodice unlined and wear a bodiced petticoat, however, my petticoat doesn't have a bodice so I had to add a lining to the bodice. The underbust is fitted with darts in the lining and gathering in the muslin on the outside (as seen in the previous pictures).

The dorset buttons were ready-made (no shame!) and I didn't even bother to do the five buttonholes by hand. Thankfully, my sewing machine makes really nice looking buttonholes so maybe I can get away with them because they don't look obnoxiously clunky? :)

...unless you look really closely. ;)

I also constructed the bodice in the modern way by sewing up the lining separately and adding it to the outer fabric by sewing around the edges with right sides together. That way I was able to easily cover the raw edges of the lace as well, because they were sandwiched between the outer fabric and lining. When the bodice was finished, I joined the bodice and skirt and left the seam allowances unfinished on the inside of the dress and facing towards the hem.

This fabric was yet another lucky local fabric store find. It's embroidered cotton with a scalloped hem that just had to be made into a regency dress. It instantly reminded me of this dress in Kvinnligt mode under två sekel by Britta Hammar & Pernilla Rasmussen. There is also a 1810s dress with a scalloped hem in Regency Women's Dress: Techniques and Patterns 1800-1830 by Cassidy Percoco.

In fact, the pattern for my skirt is based on the morning gown (dated 1809-1819) in Regency Women's Dress (see pages 62-65).

Scalloped hems were also fashionable in the early 1810s. The extant v-neck gowns that I found also often (thought maybe not always) had a corresponding back like this (more examples of this can be found on my Pinterest research image board).

And another example of a scalloped hem can be seen in this painting below.

The Misses de Balleroy, 1805-1815, by Henri François Riesener

A close-up of the embroidery on the hem:

When I was scheduling this dress and thinking how fast it would be to put together, I didn't realize that I would have to finish all the long seams on the skirt by hand because the fabric is so sheer that unfinished seam allowances would show and look really ugly. So the dress took me a bit longer than expected but I was really happy with how neat and tidy the skirt looked in the end! 

Here you can see the side panel of the skirt and the flat-felled seams.

The result was so worth the effort and I quite fell in love with flat-felled seam finishing. Now I'm tempted to use this technique on all my skirts! (I'm not actually going to do it where it isn't necessary because it's a waste of time though!) ;)

And this is how the seams look from the right side of the dress:

As this post was getting really long, I decided to separate the photos of the dress being worn into another post which I will try to publish soon. In the meanwhile I am going to end this post with a couple of teasers and links. :)

My Pinterest boards related to this project:

I should also mention that I found Natalie Garbett's post about her c.1812 dress very useful when starting this project. :)

Since this gown was made two years ago when I was just starting researching and sewing regency era garments, I have have learned so much more after that. I'm now thinking about going back to this gown to make some alterations to the bodice to make it more authentic. This was my second regency gown and it was definitely still very much a learning project.