Sunday, March 23, 2014

Regency for Day and Night

If you follow my Facebook page, you'll have noticed the flurry of Regency garments I've been making over the past few weeks - short stays, chemise, bodice petticoat, two dresses, and two headdresses! Whew! It was a bit of a crunch at times (I finished my capote at 2AM the night before the event!), but I can proudly say that I now have all the necessary underpinnings for a new time period, and the beginnings of a new wardrobe! I also drafted everything from the ground up, something I told myself I was going to do more of this year, so I feel especially accomplished!

First up, the undies.

Chemise and Short Stays


These were also the first time items I finished for my Five Foundations Challenge!

Materials used: 100% cotton muslin, cotton sateen, cotton bias tape, cotton embroidery floss, yarn, metal jump rings

Technique: For the chemise, I used the tutorial posted by Riennynn on livejournal. The instructions were very easy to follow, and the chemise came together easily. I actually hand sewed the entire chemise, so I'm very proud of it. The short stays were drafted from scratch, which I detailed here, and the construction is recounted in my short stays post.

Hours to complete: Since the chemise was hand sewn, it took several days. It would have taken longer if I hadn't flat felled all my seams, but in the end I'm really happy with how it all turned out, so it was worth it. I worked on the chemise on and off for about two weeks.
The short stays took about three days and are almost entirely machine sewn. The only thing I really hand sewed on the stays were the eyelet holes, which I bound by hand. It was my first time doing hand-bound eyelets! I am completely addicted to them now, and I'm no longer afraid to do them for my historical gowns! :D

Total cost: The amount of muslin I used was probably about $8 total, I don't know for certain since I just cut what I needed off of a bolt that I had. All the bias tape ended up at about $12, the yarn for cording was about $3, the metal rings for the eyelets about the same, and the embroidery floss was a few cents. The sateen for the stays was leftover from Frankencorset, which was actually a pillowcase I bought on clearance at work for about $2. All in all, I would say I spent about $35 or so on all the materials

Bodice Petticoat

I am completely in love with corded petticoats now. I just love the body that it gives underneath skirts without the rigidity of boning, it keeps your skirts out from between your feet, and they're just all around fabulous. My rows of cording didn't come out exactly equidistant apart, but as a first try, I'm pretty pleased!

Materials used: Cotton muslin from the same bolt the chemise fabric came from, cotton decorator cording, faux shell buttons, cotton bias tape

Technique: The bodice pattern was drafted to my measurements. The skirt is three panels of 23" wide fabric that were sewn together, with one side kept open while I added the cording. There are seven rows of cording at the hem, which add a nice stiffness to the skirt. Once all the cording was added, the back seam was sewn up and the skirt was pleated into the bodice waist. The bodice closes in the back with buttons, but unfortunately, my machine hates me, and the buttonholes are not exactly stellar. (My next experiment will be with hand-sewn buttonholes. If they're anywhere as awesome as hand-bound eyelets, I may never use a machine buttonhole feature again.) The bottom buttonhole is very weak, so I tend to leave it open when I'm actually wearing the petticoat. The neckline and armhole edges are bound in bias tape, because I'm lazy and it was fast. XP

Hours to complete: About two days

Total cost: The muslin was probably around $15 total, bias tape was $4, buttons were around $4, and the 12 yards of cording was $12.

And now and the fun stuff!

A drawstring day dress

This dress has waaaay too much fabric in it. I think I was a little over enthusiastic about putting the bed sheets to good use, so the skirt is freaking gargantuan. But, I love this dress. It's so incredibly comfortable, and I could lounge around in it all day without that fact ever changing. It's drawstring at the neckline and at the waist, so this dress will never not fit. And the bed sheet fabric looked fabulous! Score one for JCPenney sheets! Total cost of dress was probably around $6 because I bought some bias tape for the drawstrings and channels, but the sheets themselves were free (on sale for $10, and I had a $10 off coupon!).

To compliment the dress, I made a quick and dirty capote from a straw hat that valiantly gave its life for better costuming, and a circle of gold silk that I dug out of the Stash. I hid the join of the fabric and straw brim with a bit of narrow braid that was also in my Stash, so total cost was $8 for the original hat from Wal-mart.

For dinner, I made a BRIGHT ORANGE dress from some Stash taffeta. I had purchaed the fabric some while back, at one of my favorite warehouses in Dallas. I just...I couldn't just leave it there! It's so fabulous! It's gold and orange shot taffeta, and it was $3/yard! It needed a home! It lived in my Stash for over a year, but once this event came on radar, I knew it was time to use it.

I drew a lot of inspiration from the dresses that Caroline Bingley wore in the BBC version of Pride & Prejudice, since she seemed to wear quite a bit of orange. The pattern itself was inspired by this pattern from the 1820s.

 The front of my dress has princess seams, with the front panel gently gathered over the chest and fitted to the lining. There are two sleeves - a fitted undersleeve with a bit of black and gold trim at the cuff, and a puffed over sleeve that dips up at the sides. The hem has two layers of scallops, with a puffed trim hiding the stitching that joins the upper layer of scallops to the skirt. The dress laces closed in back. It was my first time doing proper spiral lacing on anything, and it made me happy to know that I had set it up properly when I'd sewn in the eyelets.

BTW, I'm completely in love with hand-bound eyelets now. I was always so intimidated by them that I never wanted to give them a shot, and now I want to put them in everything. I'm sick of having my grommets pop out of their place, EYELETS FOREVER!


Ahem...anyway...I was obsessed with the idea of wearing a turban to dinner, so I made one out of the leftover dress fabric and trim, some gold ribbon, a couple of feathers, and accented it with a little spider pin.

Now that I have my Regency wardrobe started in earnest, I look forward to adding pieces to it. I didn't manage to make the stripey pelisse before the weekend's events, so that's definitely on the docket, and my dream dress will hopefully come together in the near future.

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